Globally there have been 860 shareholder activist actions so far this year and Europe has seen a 126% increase in activist actions since 2010, with the U.K. as the primary focus. Large and mid-cap companies are most “at risk” from an activist approach, says research from Linklaters, the international law firm.
Its research concludes that “an increasing number of publicly active activists with ever-deeper pockets, combined with attractively priced corporates sitting on large cash piles, is leading to a ‘perfect storm’ of shareholder activism activity in Europe.”
While most activity in Europe has been centred on companies in the U.K., (which has so far seen 32 actions in 2015), companies in France (13), Austria (11), Switzerland (9) and Ireland (7) all have seen an increasing number of activist actions this year, the research reveals.
The U.S. continues to be the predominant focus of activist activity, with a 289% rise in actions in 2015 compared to 2010. But European companies are sitting on 2.1 trillion ($2.26 trillion) in cash and are attractively priced compared with counterparts across the ‘pond.’