Topic Results: American governance

September 7, 2017

Dow Jones Erred By Going Nuclear on Dual-Class Shares

In July 2017, Dow Jones, goaded by the reaction to Snapchat having gone public with a class of shares without voting rights, announced that, after extensive consultation, it had decided to henceforth eliminate companies with dual-class shares from its indices, in particular the S&P 500 Index. Over the last 10 years, putting money in passive […]

August 24, 2017

Dow-Jones goes nuclear on dual class of shares

In July of this year, Dow-Jones, goaded by the reaction to Snapchat having gone public with a class of shares without voting rights, announced that, after extensive consultation, it had decided to henceforth eliminate dual-class companies from its indices, in particular the S&P 500 Index. Over the last ten years, putting money in passive index funds has become […]

August 17, 2017

Trump-era shift: CEOs find a voice for moral outrage

Corporate America started the year ready to engage with a controversial but business-minded president. This week CEOs have risen in chorus to denounce Trump’s lackluster response to racism. Not since the 1930s, when prominent business heads publicly broke with Franklin Roosevelt, has a US president seen such a revolt by leading business executives. [ … […]

December 23, 2016

Pershing Square, Ackman and CP Rail: A Case of Successful «Activism»?

Pershing Square, an activist hedge fund owned and managed by William Ackman, began hostile maneuvers against the board of CP Rail in September 2011 and ended its association with CP in August 2016, having netted a profit of $2.6 billion for his fund. This Canadian saga, in many ways, an archetype of what hedge fund […]

December 7, 2016

Corporate Governance: looking backward, looking forward

Once upon a time, the governance of publicly listed corporations was a friendly, fraternal affair with few requirements and little risk. Then, during the 1980s, a group of funds (leveraged buyout funds) sprouted up claiming that this sort of governance deprived shareholders of the full economic value of the business they had invested in. Cozy […]

April 27, 2016

Activist hedge funds come to Japan

From Japan Today comes an interesting column by Yvan Allaire and Francois Dauphin: Now foreign investors, holding over 30% of their shares, are unrelenting in their pressure for Japanese companies to adopt American-style governance. New governance codes have been written and Japanese stock exchanges are pushing for their implementation. Foreign money managers and institutional investors […]

April 20, 2016

Japan discovers “good” corporate governance, American style

Not so long ago in an age when they were eating the lunch of American corporations, the Toyotas, Hitachis, Sonys, Canon, Hondas were governed in the worst possible way, at least according to the canons of American governance. Their boards were made up almost exclusively of corporate insiders, with no independent directors, no diversity, no […]

October 9, 2015

Yes, Short-Termism Really Is a Problem

With Hillary Clinton’s tax proposals to encourage longer-term investing, the debate over whether American business is too fixated on the short term has moved from the dimly lit offices of earnest policy wonks into the klieg lights of U.S. primary season. Lots of commentators have jumped into the fray to declare that there is — […]

October 6, 2015

Can A New Paradigm For Corp Governance End A 30 Years War?

The decades-long conflict that is currently raging over short-termism and activist hedge funds strikes me as analogous to the Thirty Years’ War of the 17th Century, albeit fought with statistics (“empirical evidence”), op-eds and journal articles rather than cannon, pike and sword. I decided, after some thirty-six years in the front line of the army […]

October 5, 2015

Will a New Paradigm for Corporate Governance Bring Peace?

The decades-long conflict that is currently raging over short-termism and activist hedge funds strikes me as analogous to the Thirty Years’ War of the 17th Century, albeit fought with statistics (“empirical evidence”), op-eds and journal articles rather than cannon, pike and sword. I decided, after some thirty-six years in the front line of the army […]

June 17, 2015

The free advice of activist investors is worth plenty to shareholders

At 8:38 a.m. on June 11, the activist investment firm Elliott Management—run by billionaire Paul Singer—disclosed that it controlled a 7.1% interest in software vendor Citrix Systems, and wanted to meet with management to discuss its proposal to overhaul the company. More than seven hours passed before Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix CTXS, +0.86% produced a noncommittal, […]

June 1, 2015

The Lessons of DuPont: Corporate Governance For Dummies

“Among practitioners, it is a customary cliché to say that all proxy contests—just like all trials—are unique and idiosyncratic. There is some truth to that easy generalization, but it also misses the forest for the trees. Some obvious truths stand out in the recent battle between Trian Fund Management and DuPont that will apply to […]

May 26, 2015

Firms Send More Cash Back To Shareholders

“U.S. businesses, feeling heat from activist investors, are slashing long-term spending and returning billions of dollars to shareholders, a fundamental shift in the way they are deploying capital. Data show a broad array of companies have been plowing more cash into dividends and stock buybacks, while spending less on investments such as new factories and […]

May 26, 2015

Companies Send More Cash Back to Shareholders

U.S. businesses, feeling heat from activist investors, are slashing long-term spending and returning billions of dollars to shareholders, a fundamental shift in the way they are deploying capital. Data show a broad array of companies have been plowing more cash into dividends and stock buybacks, while spending less on investments such as new factories and […]

February 3, 2015

How Pershing Square found success at Canadian Pacific Railway

In 2011, Pershing Square Capital Management, an activist hedge fund founded by William (Bill) Ackman, acquired some 14.2% of Canadian Pacific Railway’s outstanding shares and proceeded to require several changes in the management and governance of the company. The CP board resisted fiercely his entreaties. A memorable proxy fight ensued, which was won by Pershing […]

January 19, 2015

Still unanswered questions (and new ones) to Bebchuk, Brav and Jiang

Bebchuk et al. have produced a new version of their paper The Long-Term Effects of Hedge Fund Activism (December 2014) to be published in the June 2015 issue of the Columbia Law Review. In this revised text, the authors struggle valiantly to cope with the challenging questions a number of critics have raised about their […]