March 2, 2016

Fewer Proxy Contests in 2016?!

Here’s the intro from this blog by “The Activist Investor”:

We recently asked a friend of ours in the proxy contest world how it’s going. We received an unexpected reply: “Not very busy right now … No proxy contests of note in the first Q. I don’t think there’s even a single multibillion contest on the horizon this season. Some kind of sea change is rolling through the activist ranks – it seems like anyone with a credible reputation for driving value-accretive change is getting board seats without going anywhere near a definitive proxy.”

We didn’t see this coming.

We wondered, what does the data say? More or fewer? And what would this mean?

The evidence supports our friend’s observations. While the number of activist situations remains as high as ever, we see fewer and fewer proxy contests.

We plumbed the always-useful SharkRepellent data set for answers. We looked at activist projects and proxy contests since 2012. We defined each “year” as the trailing twelve month period as of Feb 23 of each year. So, 2012 consists of activist situations from Feb 24, 2011 through Feb 23, 2012, and so forth.