As M&A picks up generally, and the tech sector in particular, shareholder activism is on the rise as well.
Activism Monthly’s (which is about business rabble-rousing, not social rabble-rousing) latest issue includes an article discussing the technology industry. According to the article, three Underdisclosed.com favorites are particularly active in this arena, Elliott Associates, Starboard Value and Icahn Enterprises.
The most prolific activist investor among technology firms is Starboard Value, which has publicly agitated for various governance and strategy changes at 19 technology companies since 2010. Elliott Management, the $23 billion hedge fund run by Paul Singer is in second place with 11 campaigns, followed by Icahn Enterprises on 10.
Tech sector appeal remains broad, particularly as deal size grows. Activism Monthly notes that the number of companies targeted by shareholder activists grew by 15% in 2013 with average market cap for targeted companies is $7.8 billion so far in 2014 (not even including recent agitation at Microsoft, Apple and Hewlett Packard). As one MD says:
“What has become clearer in the last year or so is that if companies hesitate to do this themselves, activist investors will step in and do it for them.”