Review and Analysis of 2017 U.S. Shareholder Activism

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - March 26, 2018
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This memorandum highlights what we believe were the most significant developments and trends affecting the shareholder activism landscape during 2017 based on our review of proxy contests and other activism campaigns.  Our analysis includes notable trends relating to the frequency, objectives, tactics and success of activist campaigns, including a notable resurgence of campaign activity by the most frequent activists who have initiated high-profile campaigns at the largest companies.   Additionally, we discuss developments in the institutional investor space, including the impact of increasing equity ownership concentration among the largest index funds on shareholder activism. Finally, we describe noteworthy provisions and timing considerations of activist settlement agreements, an uptick in the success of activist campaigns, and considerations and steps that issuers should take to help anticipate and in some cases, head off activist challenges.