Webcast – Shareholder Activism – The New Dialogue

April 8, 2014

The rapidly changing landscape in UK and the rest of Europe & Lessons Learned from the US

“There has never been a better time than today for activist investing”
Carl Icahn, 2013

Over 235 companies worldwide were publicly targeted by activists in 2013, an increase of almost 10% from 2012. Of this nearly 20% involved European companies and just over 70% US companies (Activist Insight, 2014). It has been widely noted that activist activity in recent years has seen a significant increase in Europe, and notably the UK.

Fevered media coverage of the “shareholder spring” in 2012 and 2013 may have ebbed, but shareholder focus has not. A new dimension characterises the dialogue between issuers and investors. Both sets of “players” have developed their “playbooks” to take account of regulatory changes and sentiment. Understanding this evolving area, the “swords and shields” available to companies and active investors; and how best to prepare for an activist campaign, will be key to any company or shareholder campaign.

Please join a panel of experts from four leading advisory firms with extensive experience of advising both companies and activists, to guide you through this developing area.

Topics discussed include:

  • An overview of recent trends and developments in Europe: what’s new – campaigns, participants, strategies, regulatory developments and their impact on strategy
  • The activist’s toolkit and strategy – The Campaign
  • Advance preparation and response by investee companies – The Defence
  • Case studies (US, UK and Europe)

Who should view this program:
Listed company representatives, investors in listed companies (asset managers and asset owners) and advisors to this community

View Slides [PDF]


Selina Sagayam (Partner – Gibson Dunn, London)
Selina is a corporate finance partner in the London office of Gibson Dunn. She is recognized as a leading lawyer in the fields of Corporate/M&A and corporate governance. She spent two years seconded in the senior role as The Secretary to the UK Panel on Takeovers and Mergers and has extensive experience advising on transactions involving public companies, including issuers and shareholders on (hostile) takeovers and public campaign/activist situations.

Dennis Friedman (Partner – Gibson Dunn, New York)
Dennis is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He has led the Firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice for many years. He is a widely recognized corporate lawyer with extensive experience in the mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and capital markets areas. In addition to his 35-year-plus legal career, Dennis was an investment banker at several major Wall Street firms, where he was a senior M&A banker and also the head of a merchant banking group (1986 to 1992).

Cas Sydorowitz (CEO, Corporate Advisory Services – Georgeson)
Cas has been with Georgeson for close to 15 years, bringing with him five years’ experience in international investor relations and shareholder identification. Cas is responsible for Georgeson’s Northern European Proxy and Corporate Advisory business. He has an expert knowledge of global proxy voting mechanics and key governance matters affecting issuers and shareholders globally. Having worked for several activists and against many more he has in-depth experience to support investors or issuers in complex, sensitive activist campaigns.

Jonathan Kaye (Managing Director – Moelis, New York)
Jonathan is a Managing Director and Partner at Moelis & Company, based in New York, where he leads the Firm’s shareholder activism defense practice. Jonathan has broad experience working with companies in dissident shareholder situations across sectors and in campaigns ranging from private settlement to public and acrimonious disputes. Jonathan joined Moelis from Citigroup, where he was a Managing Director and founded the Activism Defense practice.

Olly Scott (Partner – Bell Pottinger)
Olly has over a decade of communications experience across several sectors, including institutional and retail financial services, asset management, energy, retail and leisure. His work focuses on helping companies achieve their objectives through reputation development and defence by undertaking programmes that complement their wider communications. Olly specialises in financial and business issues public relations, IPOs, shareholder activism, crisis management and campaigns.