5 Iconic Companies Shaken Up by Activist Investors
Activism is on the rise. According to Hedge Fund Research, an index of assets managed by activist shareholders — those who use an equity stake in a company to lobby for some sort of change, usually a merger, sale, or change in management — has more than doubled over the past five years from $32.3 million in 2008 to $84.2 million in 2013. This is to say nothing of the resources marshaled by individual billionaires with a good idea or grudge.
Investors such as Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman, and George Soros have become infamous for taking massive stakes in iconic companies and shaking the dust (read: management) out of them, a particular type of activism that is becoming increasingly popular compared to more traditional lobbying efforts like advocating a merger or sale.
Data compiled by Bloomberg shows that activist investors have won executive or director changes at at least 23 major companies over the past 18 months. All of this activity has not gone unnoticed by the markets. The following are some companies where activist investors are making waves.