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Lazard's Quarterly Review of Shareholder Activism – Q1 2022

Apr 19 2022

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

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Key observations from Q1 2022 report include:

  • 73 new campaigns launched globally in Q1 marks the busiest quarter on record and, when combined with Q4, the busiest six-month period for activism since 2018

chart 1

  • The U.S. continues to account for the largest share of global activity, representing 60% of new campaigns and 55% of capital deployed
  • Europe registered 15 new campaigns in Q1, representing a 50% jump in activity compared to Q1 2021; however, activity has declined following the onset of the Ukraine crisis, particularly from non-European activists; agitation may have pivoted to behind-the-scenes pressure rather than public campaigns
  • Q1 activity in APAC accelerated, accounting for 16% of new campaigns vs. 2021’s recent low of 11%

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  • 38 Board seats were won by activists in Q1 2022 and Board change was an objective in ~40% of all new campaigns initiated
  • 85 seats remain “in play” heading into Q2, including notable potential contests at Kohl’s (10 seats), Southwest Gas (10 seats), U.S. Foods (5 seats) and Hasbro (5 seats)

chart 3

Regulatory Changes Poised to Impact Activist Behavior

  • The SEC’s proposed 13D and 13G rule amendments—which recently concluded the public comment period—would benefit issuers by bolstering the “early warning” function of these ownership disclosure rules

Public Company ESG Pressure Grows

  • Between the SEC's long-anticipated climate change disclosure rule and the increasing number of E&S proposals submitted at U.S. AGMs, ESG scrutiny on public companies continues to mount

 

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