Lazard's Annual Review of Shareholder Activism - 2018

Reports and studies

January 09, 2019

Key observations from the 2018 report include: 

2018 was a record-breaking year for shareholder activism

  • 226 companies were targeted in 2018, as compared to 188 companies in 2017
  • $65.0bn of capital deployed in 2018, up from $62.4bn in 2017
  • In spite of significant market volatility, Q4 2018 was the most active Q4 on record both by campaign volume and capital deployed
  • Against the backdrop of a robust M&A market, 33% of 2018 activist campaigns were M&A related

More investors are using activism as a tactic

  • A record 131 investors engaged in activism in 2018, reflecting the continued expansion of activism as a tactic
  • 40 “first timers” launched activist campaigns in 2018, as compared to 23 “first timers” in 2017
  • Nine of the top 10 activists (by current activist position 1) invested more than $1bn in 2018 (60 new campaigns in aggregate)

Activism Is Reshaping Boardrooms

  • 161 Board seats won in 2018, up 56% from 2017 and 11% higher than the previous record of 145 seats in 2016
  • Activists continue to name accomplished candidates, with 27% of activist appointees having public company CEO/CFO experience
  • However, only 18% of activist appointees in 2018 were female, as compared to 40% of new S&P 500 directors in 2018

Activism Has Global Reach

  • Activist campaigns in Europe and APAC accounted for 23% and 12% of companies targeted, respectively
  • 58 European campaigns and 30 APAC campaigns in 2018 were each record highs

Traditional Active Managers Are the “New Vocalists”

  • Traditional active managers are increasingly comfortable sharing their views on major activist campaigns in private interactions with management and more public forums

Download the review to read the findings in full.

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