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Freedman Quoted in Law360 on Shareholder Activism Rise in Europe and Asia

May 16, 2016

Andrew Freedman, Co-Head of the Shareholder Activism Practice, was quoted recently in a Law 360 article discussing the recent uptick of shareholder activism in Europe and Asia.  The article states that activist campaigns in Europe and Asia have increased by 30% and 73%, respectively, in 2016 as the market cultures in Europe and Asia begin to embrace shareholder engagement.  Freedman commented on the recent surge of foreign activism stating, “These other foreign jurisdictions are at the point where they’ve warmed up to the idea of and have embraced the idea of shareholder activism, similar to how it’s been embraced here in the states for the past five to seven years.”  This shift in foreign market cultures toward shareholder activism acceptance has largely to do with the US, Freedman stated, “The perception of activism in the U.S. as being taboo of sorts, that fell away about a decade ago….But it’s persisted in some of the U.K. business culture and in European jurisdictions and in Asia. It’s only now that we’re starting to see the previously anti-activism culture warm up to the idea of activist investors.”  As shareholder activism has increased in Europe it has likewise significantly expanded in Asia, no place more than Japan.  Freedman commented on the momentous movement toward shareholder involvement in Japan, “As that’s declined (cross-shareholders), companies have become more vulnerable to outside involvement. So they had a very insular corporate culture that has eroded away.  As that insular culture built on cross shareholding has eroded, that has really paved the way for an uptick in shareholder activism in Japan."

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