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jerryking : shareholder_activism   50

Consumer goods make appetising target for US activists | Financial Times
Scheherazade Daneshkhu and Lindsay Fortado in London, and Anna Nicolaou in New York JULY 21, 2017
Cadbury  CPG  Danone  Kraft_Heinz  Mondelez  Nelson_Peltz  Pepsi  shareholder_activism 
october 2018 by jerryking
Paul Singer, Doomsday Investor
August 27, 2018 | The New Yorker | By Sheelah Kolhatkar.

Paul Singer, ,
The head of hedge fund Elliott Management, has developed a uniquely adversarial, and immensely profitable, way of doing business.

Bush had co-founded Athenahealth, a platform that digitizes patient medical records and billing claims for hospitals and health-care providers, in 1999, and he had built it into an enterprise with more than a billion dollars in revenue. One of the firm’s marketing taglines was that it freed doctors and nurses to spend more time doing what they loved—practicing medicine—and less time on paperwork. Athena served more than a hundred thousand health-care providers...... Paul Singer, the founder of Elliott Management and one of the most powerful, and most unyielding, investors in the world. Singer, who is seventy-three, with a trim white beard and oval spectacles, is deeply involved in everything Elliott does. The firm has many kinds of investments, but Singer is best known as an “activist” investor, using his fund’s resources—about thirty-five billion dollars—to buy stock in companies in which it detects weaknesses. Elliott then pressures the company to make changes to its business, with the goal of improving the stock price.....Hedge funds, especially activist hedge funds, are established users of private-investigation services.....The investor acknowledged that Bush was far from perfect, and said that “there is a role for activists to hold managements accountable.” But the investor worried that the focus on the bottom line would undermine the innovative spirit that had made Athena successful. “.....The idea that companies exist solely to serve the interests of shareholders—rather than also to serve workers, customers, and the larger community—has been dominant in the business world in the past thirty years. As the field of activist investing becomes increasingly crowded, many investors are going beyond their original mission of finding ailing or mismanaged companies and pushing them to improve. Instead, some have been targeting larger, financially prosperous companies, such as Procter & Gamble, Apple, and PepsiCo. ......Often, activists advocate for measures that drive up the stock price but can have negative effects in the future, such as the outsourcing of jobs, the elimination of research and development, and the borrowing of money to buy back a company’s own stock. The wisdom of these tactics has come under increasing scrutiny. Some of the most successful businesses to emerge in recent decades have staved off short-term pressures, forcing their investors to be patient with uncertainty and experimentation. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, wrote in an early investor letter that building something new “requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings.” ........Over time, this lack of long-term vision alters the economy—with profound political implications. Businesses are the engine of a country’s employment and wealth creation; when they cater only to stockholders, expenditures on employees’ behalf, whether for raises, job training, or new facilities, come to be seen as a poor use of funds. Eventually, this can result in fewer secure jobs, widening inequality, and political polarization. ..........Bush spoke about his last day in the office, when he had sobbed during his final address to Athena’s employees. He had also written a farewell letter. “I believe that working for something larger than yourself is the greatest thing a human can do. A family, a cause, a company, a country—these things give shape and purpose to an otherwise mechanical and brief human existence,” the letter read. “The downside about things that are larger than ourselves, of course, is that we who have the privilege of serving them ourselves are fungible. It is the fundamental definition. You can’t have the grace of the one without the other......Throughout our conversations, Bush returned to a theme that consumed him. He talked about how investors like Singer—financiers who take the assets built by others and manipulate them like puzzle pieces to make money for themselves—are affecting the country on a grand scale. A healthy country, he said, needs economic biodiversity, with companies of different sizes chasing innovation, or embarking on long, hard projects, without being punished. The disproportionate power of the Wall Street investor class, Bush felt, dampened all that, and gradually made the economy, and most of the people in it, more fragile.
distressed_debt  Elliott_Management  financiers  hard_goals  hard_work  hedge_funds  investors  long-term  patience  Paul_Singer  profile  shareholder_activism  Sheelah_Kolhatkar  time_horizons  vulture_investing  Wall_Street 
august 2018 by jerryking
Chief executives are outsourcing their responsibilities to activists
AUGUST 25, 2017 | FT | Matthew Vincent.

Sometimes complying with activists can seem no different to using management consultants. But if CEOs simply let activists call the shots, what are we paying them millions for? This only puts shareholders in the position of besieged householders on Halloween: doling out treats to the greedy but undeserving.
CEOs  shareholder_activism  Pershing_Square  William_Ackman 
may 2018 by jerryking
Big brands lose pricing power in battle for consumers
Save to myFT
Anna Nicolaou in New York and Scheherazade Daneshkhu in London 2 HOURS AGO

The product manufacturers are being squeezed by the big retailers — notably, Amazon and Walmart, which together sell $600bn worth of goods a year. Walmart has long put pressure on suppliers to cut prices. Amazon’s rise has exacerbated the “deflationary impact”, Société Générale says, creating a “much tougher environment in the US”. After Amazon bought Whole Foods in June, the price war grew more intense in groceries, pushing prices to historic lows that punished producers. 

Brand loyalty has suffered in the process. Equipped with the tools to compare prices online instantly, and bombarded with more choices, shoppers are growing more likely to opt for cheaper and discounted products — particularly in categories such laundry detergent and shampoo. To keep their spots on store shelves, brands are having to accept lower prices......Former Amazon employees say the company’s algorithms scan prices across competitors in real time, automatically adjusting its own so it can offer the lowest price. While most big brands have wholesale agreements with Amazon, third-party sellers are prolific on the site, complicating price control further. A 34oz bottle of P&G’s Pantene Pro-V Shampoo & Conditioner was listed by 10 different sellers — nine of them third parties — on the shopping site.

Amazon’s dominance makes it difficult for brands to abandon the platform, or try to sell directly on their own websites. “You have 200m customers on Amazon. If you walk away, there’s 200m people who are going to just buy from your competitors,” says James Thomson, a former Amazon manager who consults brands. “You’re probably not going to win.”

“This is a pretty dire situation,” he adds. “If brands are worried about meeting quarterly targets, they can’t afford to lose Amazon sales.”

Still, “the retailers have nothing to gain by pushing [consumer products makers] into bankruptcy”,
......Consumer goods companies have responded to the pricing pressures by aggressively cutting costs, led by the “zero-based budgeting” model of 3G Capital,
large_companies  Fortune_500  brands  CPG  pricing  price_wars  shareholder_activism  Amazon  P&G  Nestlé  win_backs  price-cutting  Nelson_Peltz  shifting_tastes  Colgate-Palmolive  upstarts  Unilever  zero-based_budgeting  3G_Capital  e-commerce  Mondelez  Big_Food 
february 2018 by jerryking
BlackRock’s Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support - The New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin

DEALBOOK JAN. 15, 2018

Larry Fink, founder and CEO of the investment firm BlackRock, is going to inform business leaders that their companies need to do more than make profits — they need to contribute to society as well if they want to receive the support of BlackRock.

Mr. Fink has the clout to make this kind of demand: His firm manages more than $6 trillion in investments through 401(k) plans, ETFs and mutual funds, making it the largest investor in the world, and he has an outsize influence on whether directors are voted on and off boards.

“Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote in a draft of the letter that was shared with me. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

It may be a watershed moment on Wall Street, one that raises all sorts of questions about the very nature of capitalism. ...“It is huge for an institutional investor to take this position across its portfolio.‘‘

In a candid assessment of what’s happening in the business world — and perhaps taking a veiled shot at Washington at the same time — Mr. Fink wrote that he is seeing “many governments failing to prepare for the future, on issues ranging from retirement and infrastructure to automation and worker retraining.” He added, “As a result, society increasingly is turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges.” Mr. Fink’s declaration is different because his constituency in this case is the business community itself. It pits him, to some degree, against many of the companies that he’s invested in, which hold the view that their only duty is to produce profits for their shareholders, an argument long espoused by economists like Milton Friedman.
Laurence_Fink  BlackRock  corporate_social_responsibility  Milton_Friedman  shareholder_activism  institutional_investors 
january 2018 by jerryking
Procter & Gamble vs. Nelson Peltz: A Battle for the Future of Big Brands - WSJ
By Sharon Terlep
Oct. 8, 2017

Activist investor Nelson Peltz, who wants P&G to radically revise its strategy, argues the success of Ms. Francisco’s unit is the exception. He says the Cincinnati giant, hopelessly mired in the past, should shift to smaller, niche brands disconnected from its marquee products, pull in talent from the outside and split into three independent units.

“All the action today is local. It’s these small brands. It’s what the millennials want,” the 75-year-old investor said. “They want a brand with emotion, a brand that’s got a story behind it, a brand that brings value to the environment or is organic.”...P&G stands out as the largest company to face off against an activist investor.....

Many the world’s leading consumer-products companies, which once made the goods that stocked supermarket shelves the world over, have found it hard to adapt to rapidly shifting consumer tastes and the rise of smaller brands. The outcome of the Peltz-P&G battle will help determine the industry’s future direction.....P&G executives have transformed the company into a leaner organization. They say the future lies in the same fundamentals that guided the company for 180 years: huge brands such as Tide and Gillette that spin off products so effective they dominate their category.

“Declaring big brands dead and buried just because there is new media and a new generation is wrong,” said P&G’s lead independent director, Jim McNerney, the former chief executive of Boeing Co. and 3M Co. “Our new world is big brands presented in different ways through different media.”

Mr. McNerney argues that Mr. Peltz, who has had directorships at H.J. Heinz Co. and Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc., is trying to apply a formula that works in food, which is more susceptible to shifting consumer whims, but not for packaged goods such as diapers and dish soap.
P&G  brands  China  localization  shareholder_activism  Nelson_Peltz  shifting_tastes  CPG  emotional_connections 
october 2017 by jerryking
Hard sell for the ad men
| Financial Times |

Consumer goods groups are cutting costs amid slowing growth – the advertising industry is first to feel the pinch
CPG  cost-cutting  shareholder_activism  advertising  Big_Food  advertising_agencies  P&G  bots  marketing  budgets  Unilever  ABInBev  Mondelez  WPP  Interpublic  brands  Nestlé  slow_growth 
august 2017 by jerryking
Now at Saks: Salt Rooms, a Bootcamp and a Peek at Retail’s Future - The New York Times
By DAVID GELLES AUG. 4, 2017

Venerable department store was dealing with the upheavals throttling the retail industry. As stores around the country reckon with Amazon.com, discount chains and changing consumer habits, they are turning to “experiential” offerings that entice people to enter their doors..... “Selling stuff in stores is not the answer,” he said. “You have to build an emotional connection with them. Where else can you take a fitness class and buy a Chanel handbag?”

It isn’t clear how many of Saks’s discerning clientele are actually interested in getting a lemon scrub after purchasing a $5,100 Alexander McQueen dress. During multiple visits over the past week, The Wellery was sparsely populated.
retailers  Saks  shareholder_activism  future  department_stores  experiential_marketing  wellness  Nordstrom  Macy's  emotional_connections  experimentation  bootcamps  Amazon  shifting_tastes  contra-Amazon  dislocations 
august 2017 by jerryking
The High Cost of Raising Prices - WSJ
By Andy Kessler
July 30, 2017

The more prices rise, the more customers bolt. It’s like running up a down escalator and never getting to the top. With the stock market hitting highs just about every day, investors need to be wary of companies that raise prices to make their numbers. These stocks make for spectacular sell-offs on even the slightest earnings miss......I had a friend who worked at General Electric for decades. He told me that in strategy sessions with his management, Jack Welch would constantly berate them, saying, “Any idiot can raise prices.” Except he used a stronger word than idiot to coax them into squeezing out costs, adding features, improving services and generally delighting customers. Contrast this with Berkshire Hathaway . Vice Chairman Charlie Munger found that with See’s Candies “we could raise prices 10% a year and no one cared. Learning that changed Berkshire.” .........There’s a long list of price bumpers. Walk down any supermarket aisle. Kellogg’s prices constantly snap, crackle and mostly pop. Procter & Gamble toothpaste sizes shrink faster than my cavity count, always less for the same price. Now private-equity firms are circling P&G. Same for Nestlé . Expect rising beer and liquor prices soon....Empires are lost on rising prices. Until recently, rather than innovate in mobile or cloud computing, Microsoft kept raising the price of its Windows operating system to computer manufacturers. Tablets and phones ate their lunch. Fees rose at eBay until Amazon took its growth away. .........Increasing prices attracts others to attack your market. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos warns: “Your margin is my opportunity.”....Competition solves much of this problem. Investors love protected businesses, but eventually relentless price increases kill them all. Consumers are the kangaroo at the bar in the old cartoon: The bartender says, “Say, we don’t get a lot of kangaroos in here.” The kangaroo replies, “No, and with these prices, I can see why!” Call me a kangaroo, but I prefer to invest in companies that lower prices and offer more.
Andy_Kessler  pricing  price_hikes  drawbacks  margins  Charlie_Munger  CPG  shareholder_activism  P&G  Nestlé  Kellogg  Jack_Welch  GE  large_companies  cost-cutting  Amazon  Jeff_Bezos  staying_hungry  delighting_customers  high-cost 
july 2017 by jerryking
The Decline of the Baronial C.E.O. - The New York Times
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZJUNE 17, 2017

General Electric is just the latest storied name in corporate America to show its leader the door. Ford’s chief executive, Mark Fields, had been in the job for less than three years when he was fired in late May. Two weeks earlier, Mario Longhi of U.S. Steel abruptly stepped down. With these departures, the American era of the baronial chief executive, sitting atop an industrial dominion with all the attendant privileges, is drawing to a close.....Jeffrey Immelt tried to change G.E., yet couldn’t react quickly enough to the forces affecting companies like his......[(Amazon + Whole Foods) shows how] the digital age has upended the competitive landscape, pitting companies in vastly different industries against one another.

These include the rising power of activist investors, who buy up stakes in companies and then demand changes. Activists are now hunting much bigger game, demanding double-digit annual earnings growth in a stagnant economy. Or else.....Boards, too, have changed, evolving from country-club-like collections of the same familiar faces into a much more diverse and demanding constituency.....for most of the Fortune 500, the unquestioned power and perks, the imperviousness to criticism from the likes of shareholders, and the outsize public profile that once automatically came with the corner office have gone the way of the typewriter and the Dictaphone.....[today] ...wading into bitterly partisan public debates offers little upside for corporate leaders, and risks damage to their company’s reputation.

As a result, while companies in many ways have more economic and political power than ever, “chief executives now shy away from weighing in on the policy level or broader societal issues,” Mr. Sharer said. “They’re more focused on running their companies.”......Mr. Immelt’s exit leaves a void at the intersection of business and public policy,.....“If you start fooling around in Washington with the Business Roundtable or writing op-eds, activist investors will ask what you’re doing,”....[GE] became a natural target for activist investors. One of those was Nelson Peltz, a onetime corporate raider who relied on Michael R. Milken’s junk bonds for financing back in the 1980s.
CEOs  GE  executive_management  shareholder_activism  digital_disruption  Jeffrey_Immelt  disruption  technological_change  decline  Vijay_Govindarajan  boards_&_directors_&_governance 
june 2017 by jerryking
An Activist Investment in Whole Foods Exposes Shifting Power on Wall St. - The New York Times
APRIL 25, 2017 | NYT | By ALEXANDRA STEVENSON.

Neuberger Berman has eschewed its nearly 80-year-old tactic of playing nice (i.e. buy and hold stocks, sit back, and hope for the best), turning to the bare-knuckled world of activist investors made famous by the likes of Carl C. Icahn and William A. Ackman. Last year, as Neuberger Berman’s roughly $200 million investment in Whole Foods Market languished, the firm quietly approached some hedge funds and urged them to agitate for change at the high-end grocer. Two weeks ago, Jana Partners took up the fight......Neuberger Berman’s behind-the-scenes campaign to shake up Whole Foods is the latest example of a dynamic that is upending relations between public companies and the big investors that own their stock.....a reflection of the shifting balance of power on Wall Street....Traditional money managers in search of market-beating returns are demanding a seat at the table, turning to activists for help and even employing some hedge fund tricks of their own. And activists, once the black sheep of the investment world, are now accepted as regular, if meddlesome, investors. ....[Activist investors], she added, “[are an] important ‘check and balance’ on management that has lost its way.”....Neuberger Berman executives prepared an inch-thick presentation--a thorough critique--the kind of document usually produced by activists.....failures in how Whole Foods handled its brand development, and to what it said were customer service deficiencies and a poor strategy for distribution......Relations between institutional investors and activists have evolved in recent years, and it is not unheard-of for big investors to support activists who have set their sights on a high-profile company. ..... be careful of what you wish for, Neuberger Berman discovered that utilizing board seats on an underperforming portfolio company can be "expensive and time-consuming.”.....it is less common for an institutional investor to share its work on a specific target with activists in the way Neuberger Berman did with Whole Foods....There is even a term for the interplay: “R.F.A.s” or “requests for activism.”....Institutional investors do not make investments predicated on an activist showing up.
Wall_Street  money_management  shareholder_activism  beat_the_market  hedge_funds  Whole_Foods  Jana_Partners  Neuberger_Berman  institutional_investors  checks_and_balances  Carl_Icahn  William_Ackman  boards_&_directors_&_governance 
april 2017 by jerryking
Hedge Funds’ Idea Man - WSJ
By JULIET CHUNG
Jan. 4, 2016

The 54-year-old Brazilian immigrant is part of a larger ecosystem of consultants who sell their investment beliefs to hedge funds. The funds, hungry for returns or cheap hedges for their portfolios, get fresh ideas that comprise or inform their wagers. The consultants, in exchange, often expect to share in gains tied to their ideas, they and their clients said.....The ideas don’t always result in profits. ...Such arrangements make some veteran investors in hedge funds uneasy.

“If your manager’s renting a lot of ideas, you have to question the value-add they bring to the partnership,” said Chuck Bryceland of New York-based Bessemer Trust, which advises wealthy families and individuals on investments, including in hedge funds. “We want our people generating primary trade ideas and doing the primary work themselves.”
investment_advice  investment_research  ideas  Wall_Street  money_management  private_banking  hedge_funds  shareholder_activism  traders  exclusivity  idea_generation  value_added  financial_advisors  high_net_worth  Bessemer  Bessemer_Trust 
january 2016 by jerryking
Dow, DuPont Deal Cements Activists’ Rise - WSJ
By DAVID BENOIT
Updated Dec. 11, 2015

The group painstakingly went through each business’s customers, raw materials, costs and sales forces. Trian reported back to Mr. Breen on how they thought the split should work.
Dow_Chemical  Dupont  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  shareholder_activism  CEOs  boards_&_directors_&_governance 
december 2015 by jerryking
Boards getting better at battling activists - The Globe and Mail
JACQUELINE NELSON
Boards getting better at battling activists
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, May. 13 2015
hedge_funds  Bay_Street  boards_&_directors_&_governance  shareholder_activism 
may 2015 by jerryking
BlackRock’s Chief, Laurence Fink, Urges Other C.E.O.s to Stop Being So Nice to Investors - NYTimes.com
APRIL 13, 2015
Continue reading the main storyVideo

PLAY VIDEO|3:24
BlackRock Chief on ‘Gambling Society’
BlackRock Chief on ‘Gambling Society’
Laurence D. Fink, chief executive of the largest asset manager in the world, warns that too many C.E.O.’s have been trying to return money to investors through dividends and buying back stock By CNBC on Publish Date April 14, 2015. Photo by Mark Lennihan/Associated Press.

Andrew Ross Sorkin
Laurence_Fink  CEOs  asset_management  Andrew_Sorkin  institutional_investors  Wall_Street  shareholder_activism  long-term  BlackRock 
april 2015 by jerryking
Kingsdale faces uphill battle in U.S. expansion - The Globe and Mail
DAVID BERMAN
Kingsdale faces uphill battle in U.S. expansion
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Feb. 18 2015,
Bay_Street  crossborder  Kingsdale  Wes_Hall  shareholder_activism  proxy-advisory 
february 2015 by jerryking
Approach with roses, not Tinder come-ons: Activist investors - The Globe and Mail
NIALL McGEE
Approach with roses, not Tinder come-ons: Activist investors Add to ...
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Oct. 17 2014
shareholder_activism  hedge_funds  Bay_Street 
october 2014 by jerryking
Bill Ackman and His Hedge Fund, Betting Big - NYTimes.com
By ALEXANDRA STEVENSON and JULIE CRESWELLOCT. 25, 2014

“We certainly have to make bigger investments, that’s definitely true. But not riskier investments.” Asked about failures, like the Target bet, he sighed deeply. “Target was a bad investment,” he said, “but out of 30 investments, I don’t know of another investor with as high a batting average.”...Mr. Ackman’s role as an activist hedge fund investor is to persuade other shareholders that he knows how to run companies better than current management does. This involves research, argument and, perhaps most important, a sensitivity to how every pronouncement and gesture will be perceived....“I said, the next time I have a really good idea, I’m not going to listen just because someone is older than me.” Mr. Ackman continued, “It’s not going to stop me from going forward.”...His first foray into activist short-selling was in the spring of 2002, when he released a 48-page, scrupulously researched paper criticizing the management and reserve levels of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation....At Gotham, he learned that he needed research and a story. At Pershing, he perfected the skill of telling that story to an audience of shareholders, corporate directors and the news media.... he has spent $50 million just on research and legal fees for his campaign ...
Communicating_&_Connecting  big_bets  hedge_funds  investors  shareholder_activism  storytelling  William_Ackman 
october 2014 by jerryking
John Telesphore Bart
OCTOBER 1, 2014 | G&M | John Telesphore Bart
obituaries  Ivey  howto  shareholder_activism  RMC  alumni  DIY 
october 2014 by jerryking
World’s largest asset manager rails against companies’ short-term thinking - The Globe and Mail
BOYD ERMAN
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 23 2014,

...Mr. Fink is worried that the great tide of economic growth is not rising as quickly as it could be because of persistent and pernicious short-term thinking. Everyone from Main Street to Wall Street to Pennsylvania Avenue is too focused on near-term waves to pay attention to what the overall water level is doing.

Blogs, polls, the story of the moment – that is what drives peoples’ thinking, he says. That means investment decisions and political moves are based on what’s happening now, and not long-term goals. The economy will bear the cost of this short-term obsession, and so will investors, Mr. Fink warns. He would like to see big changes in everything from accounting to corporate governance to government spending priorities, to reset the focus on more distant horizons....“We need executives in business to start focusing on what is right in the long run,” ...“Societies are having a hard time, politically and economically, adjusting to the immediacy of information: The 24/7 news cycle, blogs, the instantaneous information. It’s very hard. This is one of the things where we are developing a crisis.”...Mr. Fink is particularly frustrated with the lionization of activist investors in the media. Think Bill Ackman, Carl Icahn and others who push for changes that will lead to an immediate runup in the stock price,....Similarly, he is critical of accounting rules that push insurance companies to invest in shorter-term assets, rather than long-term projects such as infrastructure. “Everything is leading toward an underinvestment in infrastructure and an underinvestment in capital expenditures.”...In 1999, the company went public. It has grown incredibly fast ever since. It manages money for everyone from retail investors to pension plans. During the financial crisis, the U.S. Treasury hired BlackRock to run assets in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the Bank of Greece hired the company to help fix the country’s banking system. (Model for WaudWare?)
BlackRock  Laurence_Fink  asset_management  long-term  Boyd_Erman  Wall_Street  delayed_gratification  thinking  strategic_thinking  Communicating_&_Connecting  CEOs  money_management  shareholder_activism  immediacy  insurance  infrastructure  CAPEX  short-term  short-term_thinking  financial_pornography  pension_funds  underinvestments  noise  pay_attention 
may 2014 by jerryking
Wes Hall: From mail room clerk to Bay Street power broker
Jan. 30 2014 | The Globe and Mail | Doug Steiner.

Welcome to the full-combat world of activist investing. Wall Street agitators such as Bill Ackman, Barry Rosenstein and Carl Icahn, and a small but growing number of Canadians, such as Greg Boland of West Face Capital, want underperforming executives to raise shareholder returns fast, or get out of the way. And they come armed with detailed business makeover plans, lawyers, investment bankers, PR reps and what, over the past decade, has become one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal: the proxy solicitation and advisory specialist....What does a proxy specialist do? A generation ago, the job was little more than an administrative position–arranging annual meetings and monitoring the collection of proxy forms from docile shareholders who didn’t have the inclination to attend, and whose shares would then be voted in favour of existing directors and management. Hall began his career in that routine end of the business in the 1990s. He founded Kingsdale in 2003 because he saw a growing and profitable niche: Activists and target regimes needed high-level advice and coaching in shareholder disputes.

Now Hall and a handful of other top Canadian specialists are like the superstar managers who hatch U.S. presidential campaigns. They plot strategy, control written communications to investors, stage cross-country tours, corral shareholder votes and whip their candidates–be it the activist or the target company–into shape, keeping them focused and on-message.
Doug_Steiner  Bay_Street  entrepreneur  movingonup  power_brokers  hedge_funds  West_Face  shareholder_activism  boards_&_directors_&_governance  William_Ackman  Pershing_Square  CP  public_relations  African_Canadians  Wes_Hall  proxy-advisory  niches  insights  superstars 
february 2014 by jerryking
Boardrooms Rethink Tactics to Defang Activist Investors - NYTimes.com
November 11, 2013 | NYT | By DAVID GELLES.

...with dozens of activist hedge funds pushing for change at companies large and small, executives, directors and advisers are scrambling to calibrate their defenses to this new and in many ways more challenging threat.

“Activism is here to stay,” said Paul Verbinnen, co-founder of Sard Verbinnen, a public relations firm. “People are at a heightened state of readiness.”

But with activists varying widely in their tactics and intentions, there is no one cookie-cutter defense that works. Instead, companies and advisers are adopting more nuanced tactics.
calibration  boards_&_directors_&_governance  shareholder_activism  hedge_funds  public_relations  financial_communications 
november 2013 by jerryking
With Huge War Chests, Activist Investors Tackle Big Companies - NYTimes.com
August 30, 2013, 9:01 pm 14 Comments
With Huge War Chests, Activist Investors Tackle Big Companies
By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and JULIE CRESWELL

In the 1980s, corporate raiders like T. Boone Pickens and Carl C. Icahn engaged in hostile takeovers or leveraged buyouts of companies, or sought to be bought out themselves at a profit. (Some of yesterday’s raiders, like Mr. Icahn, are today’s more public-relations-friendly “activists.”) In the 1990s, big pension funds like the powerful California Public Employees’ Retirement System took up the mantle, pressing for change not only in corporate governance but also on social issues like doing business in apartheid-era South Africa and protecting the environment.

Unlike the raiders, the current activists contends they are fighting for the interests of shareholders. To that end, the activists most often seek to appoint allies to board seats to help fight against what they see as complacent management and to bring more discipline to companies.
shareholder_activism  large_companies  hedge_funds  Microsoft  William_Ackman  institutional_investors  Apple  money_management  T.Boone_Pickens 
september 2013 by jerryking
globeadvisor.com: BILL ACKMAN
November 30, 2012
A year ago, Bill Ackman was just another American hedge fund billionaire. Then came his proxy battle against chronically underperforming CP Rail. The ensuing boardroom rout struck fear in the hearts of directors and executives across Canada, and earned Ackman our top nod for 2012 as the CEO who kicked business-as-usual squarely in the gut

JACQUIE McNISH
hedge_funds  profile  William_Ackman  Pershing_Square  money_management  shareholder_activism  boards_&_directors_&_governance  proxy-advisory 
december 2012 by jerryking
WAR and PEACE and COLD CUTS
February 24, 2012 | globeadvisor.com: | Jacquie McNish
How did one impertinent shareholder outflank a Canadian Establishment company like Maple Leaf Foods? Jacquie McNish goes behind the scenes to discover the new school of investor activism

Jacquie McNish
hedge_funds  West_Face  Maple_Leaf_Foods  investors  cured_and_smoked  shareholder_activism  Bay_Street 
august 2012 by jerryking
America's Export to Canada: Shareholder Activism - NYTimes.com
February 14, 2012, 7:16 pm Hedge Funds | Deal Professor
America’s Export to Canada: Shareholder Activism
By STEVEN M. DAVIDOFF
William_Ackman  hedge_funds  shareholder_activism  railways 
february 2012 by jerryking
Russell Glass Is Activist Investor With Quiet Voice and Firm Hand - NYTimes.com
August 1, 2011, 8:14 pm Mergers & Acquisitions | Private
Equity
An Activist Investor With a Quiet Voice, but a Firm Hand
By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED

Russell D. Glass of RDG Capital, has offered to buy out DST, a financial
data processor, but his bid has been rejected by management. He
outlined why the company needed some shaking up. The approach is the
latest effort by Mr. Glass to practice his own brand of activist
investment, one punctuated not by bluster but by a quiet insistence that
companies should consider selling themselves or breaking their holdings
apart.
investors  value_creation  shareholder_activism 
august 2011 by jerryking
globeadvisor.com: Shaken, but not bitter
February 25, 2011
Gordon Pitts

Savvas Chamberlain rode an emotional roller coaster late last year as he negotiated the sale of Dalsa Corp., the Waterloo, Ontario, technology company he had built and nurtured for three decades.

The 69-year-old electronics engineer agreed to accept a takeover offer from Teledyne Technologies of California.

Why do so few Canadians grow companies past $1 billion in sales?

Canadians don't really appreciate or understand the significance of
enterprise business - start-ups, private firms and small- and
medium-sized companies. The success of enterprise businesses benefits
Canadian society. The wealth generated by the enterprise is spent in
Canada. It can't easily be taken somewhere else.

What are you going to do now?

I've already started investing in other high-tech companies in the
Kitchener-Waterloo area. I'll concentrate on technology areas I
understand.
prospects  JCK  angels  investing  SMEs  Gordon_Pitts  uWaterloo  Kitchener-Waterloo  Dalsa  sellout_culture  shareholder_activism  investors 
february 2011 by jerryking
Bill Ackman's Soft Power
February 10, 2011 | BusinessWeek | By Devin Leonard. The
hedge fund manager is an open, friendly, talkative guy who makes a lot
of companies—MBIA, Target, etc.—miserable
William_Ackman  short_selling  hedge_funds  shareholder_activism  personal_chemistry 
february 2011 by jerryking

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