Companies previously considered immune from activist campaigns have come under pressure, driving new public and private deal opportunities for private equity.
By Richard Butterwick, Christopher Drewry, Tom Evans, Harald Selzner, David Walker, Ben Coleman, and Catherine Campbell
US shareholder activists are an established presence in Europe. In 2018, activist campaigns targeted 160 European companies, according to Activist Insight. In the UK, 17 companies faced activist demands in the first quarter of 2019 alone. Activist funds have prompted public company boards to look more critically at their portfolio and product mixes, as well as their geographical footprints, either to avoid activist attention or to respond to activist activity.
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M&A activist campaigns that advocate for breakup or take-private transactions create obvious opportunities for PE firms. However, deal teams should take note of both recent activist strategies in the US and developments in the broader activist landscape. In our view, such strategies and developments will likely spread to Europe and create new PE opportunities. Continue Reading