Shareholder Activism During Covid-19

Shareholder Activism During Covid-19
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Signs of a resurgence close out a difficult six months for activist investors, according to Activist Insight Monthly’s Half-Year Review, produced in association with Olshan Frome Wolosky. 

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The Impact Of The Coronavirus Pandemic On Activist investing

Activist investing took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic as fewer participants waged public campaigns but activity may not have slowed as much as first thought, according to new data from Activist Insight Online.

Between January and the end of June, 522 companies worldwide were publicly subjected to activist demands, a 17% decline on the same period in 2019 and the lowest since 2015, the data show. At the end of the first quarter, the volume of targets was down 19% as some shareholders held back from launching campaigns amid an unprecedented shock to global stock markets. M&A activism was particularly affected as deals dried up in response to volatility and liquidity constraints.

Comparing The Number Of Activism In Different Countries

As of June 30, the number of targets in different countries range from about half last year’s comparable numbers in the U.K., Canada, and Australia to a 7% decline in the U.S. Activism in Japan was down 21%, although U.S. activists continued to target its companies.

Moreover, activists may be tempted back by a relatively strong showing in proxy season. Thanks to control contests and high-pressure settlements, the total board seats gained by activists at U.S. companies in the year-to-June was the second-highest in the first six months of a year since 2017.

Experts from FTI Communications, Morrow Sodali, and Greenbrook Communications are also quoted in the report.

The publication can be downloaded in full at this link:


A data sheet containing half-year data for different regions can be downloaded at this link:


Josh Black, the editor of the report, said: “Activists emerged from the coronavirus proxy season without much reputational damage and have started to focus on dealmaking, with further evidence of a convergence between activism and private equity. If the economy stabilizes, the second half of 2020 and the 2021 proxy season could be busy for activists.”

Andrew Freedman, a partner and co-head of the Shareholder Activism practice group at Olshan Frome Wolosky, which sponsored the report, said “There was still plenty of activist activity in the first half of the year despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. The season was marked by accelerated settlements and several notable control contests that went the distance. Already, we are seeing signs there will be more activist activity than usual during the second half of the year.”

Coronavirus Activist investing

About Activist Insight  

Since 2012, Activist Insight ( has provided its diverse range of clients with the most comprehensive information on activist investing worldwide. Regularly quoted in the financial press, Activist Insight is the trusted source for data in this evolving space. Activist Insight offers five industry-leading products: Activist Insight Online, Activist Insight Shorts, Activist Insight Governance, Activist Insight Vulnerability – a tool for identifying potential activist targets – and Activist Insight Monthly, the world’s only magazine dedicated to activist investing.

About Olshan 

Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP, a law firm based in New York, represents major businesses and entrepreneurs in their most significant transactions, problems and opportunities. Olshan’s clients range from public companies, hedge, venture capital, private equity and other investment funds to entrepreneurs and private companies worldwide. Clients choose Olshan for innovative strategies and sophisticated, game-changing advice in corporate, securities law, equity investment and shareholder activism, complex commercial, corporate and securities litigation, real estate, intellectual property, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, and advertising. Since its founding, Olshan has offered an alternative to the AmLaw 50 law firm business model with responsive, independent and client-focused legal counsel provided by the firm’s senior lawyers.

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Financial news and data providers Activist Insight and Proxy Insight announced in October 2020 that they had merged to form Insightia, a leader in the field of public company information. Activist Insight was formed in 2012 and offers an extensive range of products including Activist Insight Online, Activist Insight Governance, Activist Insight Vulnerability, Activist Insight Shorts, Activist Insight Monthly magazine, and The Activist Insight Podcast. Proxy Insight has quickly become the world’s leading source of information on global shareholder voting, covering such hot topics as director and auditor elections, “say on pay” resolutions and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) proposals.

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