I’ve had a few emails from partners asking if they should be following the larger hedge funds and activists when they accumulate positions in some of these special situations. The temptation is a difficult one. You hear of a well-known fund telling a good story about value creation, buying stock in a name, and then you think you should be in there too. But should you?
Shareholder activist campaigns are still on the rise. Two high profile activists in recent weeks have seen a huge rebuttal from the companies in which they tried to change. Firstly, Pershing Square led by Bill Ackman lost in his bid to change the board and implement changes at Automatic Data Processing (ADP). Additionally, Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management was vying for a seat on the board of the largest company to face activist pressure, and also came away as a loser in the Procter & Gamble (PG) fight. So, what’s happening?