Alphabet, Disney and HSBC Rank as Top Activism Targets in 2023

Thirteen large-cap companies named as key firms for activism attacks 19 December 2023 Alphabet, Disney and HSBC Rank as Top Activism Targets in 2023

Hemma Visavadia of IR Magazine pens an article looking at the largest activist campaigns based on a study carried out by SquareWell – “Activists Go BIG”.

Alphabet, Disney, HSBC and Unilever were among 13 companies identified this year as targets for activist shareholder campaigns. Among the other firms named are Salesforce, which was targeted by four activists at once, and Richemont, which faced proposals from Bluebell Capital to appoint a director, increase its board size and amend its articles.

The list also includes Constellation Brands, FleetCor Technologies, Illumina, International Flavors & Fragrances, Magellan Midstream Partners, Texas Pacific Land, Twilio, Union Pacific Corporation and Ventas.

Large-cap Companies Targeted

The list comes from SquareWell Partners, which analyzed activist campaigns at the largest companies globally over the last three full calendar years as well as those initiated in the first half of 2023.

The research finds that 13 companies with market caps above $100 bn were targeted by activists between January 2022 and June 2023. This was more than in the two years prior, when only four companies of such a size were targeted.

HSBC was pushed by a shareholder group to split off the company’s Hong Kong-based business into a separate entity. The campaign, led by Ken Lui, submitted two shareholder proposals, the first calling for the break-up of the company and the other focused on restoring HSBC’s dividend to pre-pandemic levels, the research finds.

These proposals received only 20 percent support at the AGM and failed to attract any material support from HSBC’s institutional shareholders.

The full article can be accessed here.


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