Settlement, Prospects, Shareholder Engagement and Proxy Access Considerations for Hedge Fund Managers Pursuing Activist Strategies (Part Two of Two)

As hedge fund managers increasingly engage in activist strategies, those strategies and opportunities are evolving. As they become more standardized, activist campaigns settle more quickly. However, managers must determine their path – the number of seats to seek on the target company’s board, whether to pursue control of the company and the degree to which they will engage with the company. Davis Polk & Wardwell recently presented an overview of the trends, tactics and prospects for shareholder activism and engagement in the U.S., the U.K. and Hong Kong. This second article in a two-part series summarizes the panelists’ insights with respect to timing and settlement of activist campaigns, prospects for activism, trends in shareholder engagement and proxy access. The first article discussed the global market for activist investing, actions companies can take when engaging with activists and disclosure obligations of activist investors, including filing obligations under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. For additional insight from Davis Polk practitioners, see “Davis Polk ‘Hedge Funds in the Current Environment’ Event Focuses on Establishing Registered Alternative Funds, Hedge Fund Manager M&A and SEC Examination Priorities” (Jun. 14, 2012); and “KPMG Webcast Focuses on Implications of Revised Custody Rule for Hedge Fund Managers in the Areas of Operational Independence, Delivery of Financial Statements, Surprise Examinations and Internal Control Reports” (Apr. 2, 2010).

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