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Lazard's Quarterly Review of Shareholder Activism – Q1 2019

Apr 9 2019

Lazard's quarterly review on shareholder activism compiles and analyzes data on key activism trends globally.

Lazard's quarterly review on shareholder activism compiles and analyzes data on key activism trends globally.

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Key observations from the first-quarter 2019 report include: 

The pace of activism in Q1 2019 was in line with historical levels, but down relative to a record 2018

  • Q1 2019 saw 57 new campaigns against 53 companies, down year-over-year relative to 2018, but in line with multi-year average levels
  • Capital deployed in Q1 2019 ($11.3bn) was in line with recent quarters, and the top 10 activists had a cumulative $75.5bn deployed in public activist positions (new and existing) at the end of the quarter

 

chart - quarterly campaign activity

 

Transaction-focused campaigns were by far the most common in Q1 2019, with an M&A-related objective arising in nearly 50% of all new campaigns

  • Pushes to sell the company or engage in break-up or divestiture transactions were the most frequent M&A objectives
  • Attempts to scuttle or sweeten existing deals were relatively less frequent than in prior quarters

Heading into proxy season, 103 Board seats remain “in play”

  • Activists won 39 seats in Q1 2019, down from a record-breaking 65 in Q1 2018
  • All Board seats won were secured via settlements
  • Q1 2019 saw a notable surge in long slate nominations, with 10 long slates nominated, accounting for 77 Board seats sought

graph - board seats

Q1 2019 saw continued robust activity outside the US

  • Campaigns outside the U.S. continued to account for ~33% of global activity

chart - activism European companies

chart -  activism APAC companies

Passive managers urge focus on culture and purpose and active managers took their vocal approaches to new heights in Q1 2019

  • Comments from passive managers come amid continued inflows into low-cost investment strategies and increasing shareholder concentration

 

To read more, Download the full article.

 

Source:  FactSet, press reports and public filings as of 3/31/2019

 

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