The Wildest Activist Campaigns Of The Year

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This year has not been short on drama or unusual campaigns, which has been a rich source of material for our flagship periodical, Activist Insight Monthly. By now you should have caught up with the August issue, featuring our “wildest activist campaigns” of the year. Always a favorite with stressed advisers who appreciate the acknowledgement that that campaign was a particularly weird one, this year’s ranking was topped by Amber Capital at Lagardère Group (the way it continues to rumble on, there’s a strong chance it will end up on next year’s list too).

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The Wildest Activist Campaigns

For us, this is a feature that highlights the depth of our coverage and appropriately enough, many of the wildest activist campaigns were among those we’d selected for profiles in other issues – including Carl Icahn and Xerox at HP, and Isami Wada at Sekisui House. USA Technologies, meanwhile, received a writeup in the December issue of the magazine and we covered Starboard Value at GCP Applied Technologies and Bow Street Capital at Mack-Cali Realty – two rematch control fights – day-after-day on our newswire at Activist Insight Online.

Speaking of features, it seems many years ago that we covered the increasing prevalence and opportunism of activist books and records demands. In fact, it was only March and the trend appears to have resumed, as I noted on July 31. Since then, we’ve looked at how falling oil and gas prices could affect activism in the energy sector, what activism will look like after COVID-19 ("activists have their work cut out for them," one told us), France’s regulatory investigation into both long and short activism, and our half-year roundup.

Our profiles have focused on the hottest names in activism, with a bias toward those doing something new or different from their usual. In that department it’s been a good year for the household names, with Pershing Square Capital Management featuring twice (once focused on its recovery and the second on its blank check vehicle) and Jeff Ubben’s Inclusive Capital Partners alongside new funds from Dalton Investments and Bluebell Partners.

And in activist short selling, we’ve explained how short sellers viewed the collapse of Germany’s Wirecard and COVID-19, and covered the collapse of Luckin Coffee and Quintessential Capital Management’s latest target.

In addition to all of the above, Activist Insight Monthly also highlights important new investments, upcoming events, and helpful summaries of what has transpired in activist investing and activist short selling globally. It’s the best thought-leadership and crib sheet in the space, all in one!

Activist Campaigns Directly Affected By The Covid-19 Pandemic

Aside from Activist Insight Monthly and this newsletter, our editorial team has stepped up its game by providing thematic and in-depth coverage of key moments in activism through a number of other regular series.

Each Friday, subscribers to Activist Insight Online receive an exclusive newsletter, The weekly wrap, which contains a deep dive into a recent development and a curated list of our coverage during the past week (since this newsletter skews North America, Iuri has spent valuable hours chasing new developments in Europe and Japan). We’ve also written more than 20 in-depth articles on topics as diverse as poison pills, balance sheet activism, Warren Buffett’s corporate governance, and greener activism from Elliott Management, which can be found on Activist Insight Online and Activist Insight Shorts. And to help subscribers keep track of this year’s most pressing topic, we’ve created a tag that shows stories about activist campaigns directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the tag is still very much in use.

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Quote Of The Week

Quote of the week comes from an announcement by U.K. education publisher Pearson on the appointment of its new CEO, which comes with a $9.4 million “co-investment” – a share grant dependent on new boss Andy Bird acquiring $3.8 million worth of shares out of his own pocket. Bird has the support of activist investor Cevian Capital, but will the City of London’s top brass condone such extravagance?

"The co-investment award is outside Pearson’s remuneration policy approved by shareholders at its annual general meeting in 2020 and requires separate approval by shareholders. A specially convened general meeting will take place to obtain such approval, details of which will be announced in due course. The appointment of Andy as chief executive is conditional upon that approval."