Andrew Freedman Responds to Wachtell’s Attacks on Activist Investors in Business Insider Story

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Co-Head of Olshan’s Shareholder Activism Practice Andrew Freedman was quoted in Business Insider (subscription required) on the controversy sparked by a memo in which two Wachtell Lipton corporate defense partners used the pandemic as a pretext to attack activist investors, resorting to tired and stale labels like “corporate raiders”, “attackers” and “short-term profiteers.” “It's reprehensible, yet unsurprising,” Mr. Freedman said, “that Wachtell is twisting this crisis and unprecedentedly difficult economic environment into an opportunity to bash activist investors.” As for activists who are continuing on with their proxy campaigns, he added, “Wachtell would like people to believe that this coronavirus crisis should be a ‘get out of jail free’ card for boards and management teams that were performing terribly well before this pandemic came along”, while noting that the surge in settlements over the past month shows that activists have been more than willing to mitigate disagreements during a time of international upheaval: “The situations that have not settled are more reflective of boards behaving badly by refusing to embrace the changes that are required and where they are being advised that activists should just walk away. Why should investors trust a board and management team that failed to perform on a ‘clear day’ to manage through this crisis where the stakes are even higher?”

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