Survey of Top Activist Investors 2015: Part 1 | FTI Consulting

Survey of Top Activist Investors 2015: Part 1

A report on activism in the marketplace, and how activist funds are positioning themselves to take advantage.

Strategic Communications

September 23, 2015


FTI Consulting and Activist Insight surveyed 24 activist firms, which collectively have engaged in more than 1200 activist events in 10+ countries, including funds that have been involved in some of the largest and most high-profile activist situations of the past year. This is FTI Consulting and Activist Insight’s second annual activism survey following last year’s “The Shareholder Activists’ View”.

There is continued appetite for activism in marketplace, and activist funds are continuing to position themselves to take advantage of this appetite.

The past five years have witnessed a sharp increase in activist activity, with 300 companies worldwide subjected to public demands on the first half of 2015, according to Activist Insight data. This compares with 142 in the whole of 2010. Activists themselves see no slowdown in the space over the coming year, with just 4% of those surveyed suggesting activism will decrease.

One reason activist engagements have increased significantly over the past few years is the growing amount of capital at funds’ disposal. It is estimated that primary focus activist funds now have assets under management of $169 billion, while partially focused activist funds control $173 billion for a total of $342 billion. This increase in monies has not only spurred more activist situations, it has caused hedge fund activists to increasingly target companies with larger market capitalizations. The number of board seats sought by activists at companies with market-caps of more than $10 billion has almost doubled from the 23 sought between 2010-2012 to 43 from 2013 to present.

Investors in our survey overwhelmingly believed that assets allocated to shareholder activism would continue to increase. Simultaneously, these funds are positioning themselves to take advantage of this increased allocation; 86% of the funds we spoke with expect to engage in new capital-raising over the next 12 months.

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