| Dec 11, 2012 10:53 AM ET | Last Updated: Dec
11, 2012 11:13 AM ET
Carl Icahn led a busy year for shareholder
activism that saw well over 100 different companies around the world come
under fire for weak performance, says new research from Activist Insight,
a London-based company that provides global information on activist
The research showed 73 different activists
publicly engaged with 135 different companies in in 2012, with 41% of
activists seeking to gain board representation either through proxy access
granted by the company or by launching a proxy contest.
Mr. Icahn was the most prominent global activist
this year, having gained board representation at 5 companies, including
Navistar International Corp, Chesapeake Energy and WebMD Health Corp. He
was less successful, however, at Oshkosh Corp. and recently withdrew after
a failed takeover bid.
Other notable activists this year included
Starboard Value LP, Clinton Group Inc., Trian Fund Management LP, Value
Act Capital Partners Inc. and Pershing Square Capital Management LP led by
Bill Ackman, who won a high-profile proxy contest against Canadian Pacific
The research showed that activists succeeded in
having a nominee(s) elected onto the board in more than 3 out of every 4
occasions and of the 135 activist campaigns identified, there have been 21
In six of these proxy contests, an activist
submitted regulatory proxy filings but then later withdrew. As for the
remaining 15 proxy fights, activists had their nominees join the board on
seven occasions, while being rejected on five occasions.
Three contests, meanwhile, are yet to be re-solved
due to delayed shareholder meetings and ongoing legal proceedings.
““Activists clearly see board representation as an
integral part of pursuing a successful campaign for change at a company,
said Nick Arnott, co-founder at Activist Insight.
“It’s an important way to ensure they have a voice
in company decisions and to assist in the implementation of their
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