NEW YORK and LONDON, July 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Activist Insight, the most comprehensive information source on activist investments worldwide and publisher of Activism Monthly, announced today the publication of its Half-Year Review 2015, in association with Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP's Activist & Equity Investment Practice.
The Half-Year Review reveals the latest trends in shareholder activism as well as many telling statistics regarding the 2015 proxy season. Chief among these statistics, the number of companies publicly subjected to activist demands globally rose to 300 in the first half of 2015, a 23% increase on the same period a year earlier, according to data gathered by Activist Insight. By year-end, activists are likely to make public demands at 500 issuers, based on an average projection rate for the second halves of the years 2010-2014.
What follows is a summary of Activist Insight's key findings. To read the Half-Year Review, including a foreword by and interview with Steve Wolosky and Andrew Freedman of Olshan Frome Wolosky's Activist & Equity Investment Practice, the most prolific legal and strategic advisers to activist investors, an interview with Alexander Denner of Sarissa Capital Management, and an opinion piece by Okapi Partners, click here.
Activism Continues to Grow and Be a Force in Corporate America and Beyond
The US continues to be the global hotspot for activism, with 216 companies subjected to public demands by activists in the first half of 2015. However, with 31 activist targets in Europe (including Vivendi, Alliance Trust, and Bilfinger Berger), 21 in Canada and 10 in Asia (e.g. Fanuc, Samsung C&T) in the past six months, activism continues to be a global phenomenon.
To date in 2015, Olshan has already advised on 46 activist campaigns, delivered 40+ nomination letters, negotiated 30 settlements, and has helped clients get board seats at 34 public companies.
DuPont's a minor setback for activism, but unlikely to derail activist momentum
Where Starboard-Darden was the most widely-followed contest of 2014, this year it was Trian-DuPont. Trian was ultimately defeated (just barely) in its high-profile proxy contest at DuPont. For 2015, the proportion of activist demands that were at least partially satisfied is slightly higher than at the same point last year (2015 = 67%, 2014 = 65%). However, with half the demands made in the first six months of this year still yet to be resolved, there is considerable scope for that figure to change.
Capital continues to pour into activist funds
But the Trian-DuPont outcome is unlikely to stop activists from targeting more companies next year, however, with assets under management for funds with a dedicated focus on activism increasing to $160 billion in 2015. The total amount of money invested globally in "active" positions is around $308 billion, according to the data.**
Olshan Frome Wolosky Partners Steve Wolosky and Andrew Freedman write in their foreword to the report: "Shareholder activism continues to enjoy widespread credibility as an asset class unto itself… We are excited to again be partnering with Activist Insight to share our unique insights and takeaways from the 2015 Proxy Season and take a look at what lies ahead for this dynamic and vibrant space.... By all accounts, 2015 is the year shareholder activism has cemented itself as the 'new normal' in corporate America."
Indeed, Olshan clients continued to make headlines in some of the most prominent activist campaigns of 2015. Notably, Olshan advised H Partners in its successful, precedent-setting withhold campaign against Tempur Sealy, helped Marathon Partners win Board seats at Shutterfly in a contest that saw the largest negative say-on-pay vote in recent years, and led Engaged Capital's proxy fight at Rovi Corp. where the Chairman was ousted.
Already the law firm that advises on the largest number of public campaigns, Olshan says the number of campaigns it has worked on has risen 20% in 2015.
Commenting on the report, Activism Monthly editor Josh Black said, "Activism has continued to be a powerful force in corporate life in 2015. With M&A at elevated levels, new strategies are opening to activists who either feel that companies should seek a buyer, or that deals involving companies companies they are invested in undervalue their stakes."
Bruce H. Goldfarb of proxy solicitation firm Okapi Partners, who co-authored an opinion piece for the report, commented: "As the data suggest, we are likely to see more activism in the future and changes in voting patterns among large institutional investors mean communicating with shareholders, whether you're an activist or a public company, is now more important than ever."
Notes to editors
* Data collected by Activist Insight is constantly expanding and therefore may not be directly comparable to previous reports. All additional data are collected retrospectively, ensuring that current reports contain direct comparisons.
** Active positions include all positions disclosed for funds with a dedicated focus on activism and holdings for those with a partial focus on activism, occasional activists and engagement funds where a current public demand or shareholder proposal has been identified.
About Activist Insight
Since 2012, Activist Insight has provided its diverse range of clients with the most comprehensive information on activist investing worldwide. Regularly quoted in the financial press, Activist Insight is the trusted source for data in this ever-evolving space, tracking over 600 activist investors, pension funds and institutions. Activist Insight offers two great products: Activist Insight Online and Activism Monthly Premium magazine, and counts many of the world's leading investment banks, law firms, shareholder communications firms and institutional investors as its clients.
About Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP's Activist & Equity Investment Practice
Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP's Activist & Equity Investment Practice is widely recognized as the nation's premier practice in representing activist investors in proxy contests and is ranked as the No. 1 legal advisor by Activist Insight based upon the number of activist campaigns worked on over the past 5 years. Practice Chair Steve Wolosky has pioneered in the area of shareholder activism. Reuters has called Olshan "the go-to advisers for activist investors." The firm has unparalleled experience in counseling clients on a wide variety of activist strategies, from proxy contests, consent solicitations and hostile takeovers, to letter-writing campaigns and behind-the-scenes discussions with management teams and boards of directors.
Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP, a law firm based in New York, represents major businesses and entrepreneurs in their most significant transactions, problems and opportunities. Olshan's clients range from public companies, hedge, venture capital, private equity and other investment funds to entrepreneurs and private companies worldwide. Clients choose Olshan for innovative strategies and sophisticated, game-changing advice in corporate, securities law, equity investment and shareholder activism, complex commercial, corporate and securities litigation, real estate, intellectual property, bankruptcy and creditors' rights, and advertising. Since its founding, Olshan has offered an alternative to the AmLaw 50 law firm business model with responsive, independent and client-focused legal counsel provided by the firm's senior lawyers.
About Okapi Partners LLC
Okapi Partners is a proxy solicitation, information agent and specialty advisory firm with unrivaled insight into how investors respond and make voting decisions. We design and execute thoughtful, results-oriented strategies that ensure our clients succeed in any scenario requiring an investor response. We offer clients superior intellectual capital, extensive industry relationships and unmated execution capabilities. Okapi Partners represents corporations, mutual funds, private equity firms, hedge funds and institutional investors.
Contact: Josh Black
Editor of Activism Monthly
+44 (0)7784 373 111
SOURCE Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP