Activistmonitor, an Acuris comprehensive shareholder activist platform that covers shareholder activist data and intelligence, including 13F filing analysis, has released its findings for the first half (H1) of 2017 for shareholder activism in North America. 

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Investor Activism Makes Big Headlines But Where Are The Big Returns?

What The Activism World Is Talking About

Large Cap Activism Booms

Take a look at a few highlights:

  • This year saw the return of the super campaign, as companies with market caps above USD 10bn saw a 66.7% increase in activity. Companies with market caps above USD 5bn saw a 70% jump in activity. Trian Partners disclosed a USD 3.5bn stake in Procter & Gamble in February and launched a proxy campaign in July to place Nelson Peltz on the board. General Motors caught the attention of Greenlight Capital, which called for the company to change its capital structure. Whole Foods was pushed by Jana Partners into the hands of Amazon
  • The data for the first half of the year show a big shift in sector activity, as activity in the consumer & leisure sector grew 66.7% and healthcare had a 40% jump in campaigns. FIG and real estate saw a drop-off in activity. Hain Celestial and Potbelly attracted Engaged and Ancora, respectively. Jana disclosed a position in Bristol-Myers Squibb in February and Elliott called for operational changes at athenahealth
  • Board related and governance changes continue to lead the demand makeup of activists. Board related changes made up 36% of demands for 1H17, versus 34% in 1H16. Governance changes made up 23% of demands versus 26% last year. Cost related changes showed the highest growth

Shareholder Activism Mid-Year 2017 North America in Review

Letter From The Editors

Activistmonitor’s North America mid-year data review helps you analyze potential risks and opportunities for the remainder of the year.

The data is broken down across new campaigns, campaign size, sector weightings, evolution of demands, and activist activity.

For the remainder of 2017, Activistmonitor expects shareholder engagement to continue to broaden as index and pension funds seek to work independently or with greater frequency with activists. This broader engagement is helping support the return of the super campaign. It is also leading to corporate boards successfully striking back against activists.

The data for the first half of the year saw a big shift in sector activity, as consumer & leisure and healthcare sparked the interest of investors, while FIG and real estate saw a drop off in activity. A tremendous amount of effort from our editorial and research teams went into compiling our data.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries.

Best regards,

Lucinda Guthrie and Ed Mullane

New Campaigns Launched

For 1H17, there were 100 campaigns launched in North America versus 115 in 1H16, a 13% decline, according to Activistmonitor data.

This includes both 13D and non-13D campaigns launched in both years. During 1H17, 13D filers launched 62 campaigns, with non-13D filers launching 38 campaigns.

Shareholder Activism Mid-Year 2017 North America

Super Campaigns

This year saw the return of the super campaign, as companies with market caps above USD 10bn saw a 66.7% increase in activity. Companies with market caps above USD 5bn saw a 70% jump in activity. Trian Partners disclosed a USD 3.5bn stake in Procter & Gamble in February and launched a proxy campaign in July to place Nelson Peltz on the board. General Motors caught the attention of Greenlight Capital, which called for the company to change its capital structure. Whole Foods was pushed by Jana Partners into the hands of Amazon.

Shareholder Activism Mid-Year 2017 North America

Sector Weightings

The data for the first half of the year show a big shift in sector activity, as activity in the consumer & leisure sector grew 66.7% and healthcare had a 40% jump in campaigns. FIG and real estate saw a drop-off in activity. Hain Celestial and Potbelly attracted Engaged and Ancora, respectively. Jana disclosed a position in Bristol-Myers Squibb in February and Elliott called for operational changes at athenahealth.

Shareholder Activism Mid-Year 2017 North America

Demand Makeup

Board related and governance changes continue to lead the demand makeup of activists. Board related changes made up 36% of demands for 1H17, versus 34% in 1H16. Governance changes made up 23% of demands versus 26% last year. Cost related changes showed the highest growth.

Shareholder Activism Mid-Year 2017 North America

Settlements

There was a significant drop in settlements so far in 2017, declining by almost 50% versus last year. Driving the decline are boards moving more proactively and activists being more resistant to entering settlement talks.

Shareholder Activism Mid-Year 2017 North America

Activity Summary

Elliott was the most active for 1H17 in terms of campaigns that presented demands and reached settlements, followed by Jana and Marcato. The campaigns of the leading activists highlight the shift toward targeting underperformance generally versus specific sectors. Elliott had success at pushing for change at The Advisory Board, Arconic and athenahealth. Jana’s focus was on Whole Foods, Tiffany & Co and Blackhawk Network.

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