June 23, 2015

Proxy Contests: Activist Influence Rising Despite Higher Company Win Rate

According to this analysis by FactSet, proxy fight statistics so far for 2015 reveals an ongoing increase in activist influence. While the company win rate for proxy contests is up, so are settlements and non-proxy fight campaigns resulting in board seats, including:

– Company win rate for board seat proxy contests that went to a shareholder vote is approximately 62% – a 57% increase over 2014’s win rate of only 39%.
– Of the proxy contests that went to a shareholder vote where vote results have been disclosed, activist candidates have received support from approximately 33% of the votes outstanding – compared to an average of 42% in 2014.
– The number of proxy fight settlements or withdrawals after the company has made material concessions is the highest in any year since FactSet began tracking proxy fights in 2001.
– The number of non-proxy fight activist campaigns that have resulted in a board seat is the most in any comparable period – 46 as June 1, compared to 34 and 11 such campaigns resulting in board seats in the same periods in 2014 and 2013, respectively.