Bloomberg Quotes Elizabeth Gonzalez-Sussman on Revival of Activist Campaigns in Second Half of 2020
Bloomberg quoted Olshan Activist Equity Investment Practice partner Elizabeth Gonzalez-Sussman in an article titled “Activist Campaigns Look for Second-Half Revival After Slow 2020.” Thus far in 2020, activists only launched 32 new campaigns at U.S. companies with a market value exceeding $1 billion in the first half of the year, down more than 50% from a year ago. Down about 5% from the same period in 2019, 290 campaigns were launched in the first half of 2020. As Ms. Gonzalez-Sussman explains, “the rise in campaigns in sub-$1 billion targets is partly due to first-time activists and smaller hedge funds that couldn’t afford to wait as their portfolio companies foundered.” Data compiled by Bloomberg show that Olshan was the lead legal adviser to activists in the first half of 2020. “Still, some activists did go ahead with campaigns where they’d already committed capital and were planning to push for changes,” she added. Moreover, the pandemic drew more attention to some companies that were already in activists’ crosshairs. “If there was a long-term underperformance prior to Covid-19, it almost enhanced the need to continue the engagement because they weren’t the right board to navigate the crisis,” she said. Ms. Gonzalez-Sussman also opined that the Black Lives Matter protests will likely put a renewed focus on diversity in boardroom battles as well.