Activism in a pandemic: Tampered appetites and the rise of climate activism

Uncertainty in 2020 has put activism on hold in most regions, according to Activist Insight data. But what's in store for 2021? 13 November 2020 Activism in a pandemic: Tampered appetites and the rise of climate activism

Garnet Roach pens an article for the IR Magazine on state of shareholder activism in 2020 and the impact COVID-19 has had on activism dynamics. As Garnet Roach points out in her article, companies across the US, Canada, continental Europe and the UK had something of a respite from shareholder activism this year. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with uncertainty over the US election, saw the number of public campaigns globally drop from 757 by the end of Q3 2019 to 652 by the end of Q3 this year.

Ali Saribas, Partner at SquareWell, provided his input on the state of activism in 2020 and what he expects for 2021. More specifically, Ali Saribas suggested that the impact of 2020 could see the pool of potential targets widen: ‘Companies that entered the pandemic weak will most likely be weaker, providing a large pool of candidates to target (at cheaper prices).’ Ali continues by suggesting that companies should expect a focus on strategy and board quality going into next year. ‘A clear, long-term strategy needs to be communicated by a credible team,’ he says. ‘For example, just this week, a group of shareholders blocked a highly dilutive rights issue and challenged the long-term strategy of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. Ali Saribas warns companies that activists will be using governance shortcomings to boost support for their campaigns.

You can access the full article here.


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