Activist investing is at an all-time high and large companies are particularly vulnerable to packs of agitators that may not even have the same agenda, according to one of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s top dealmakers.
“We used to refer to this as a wolfpack — wolfpack implies some kind of coordination,” said Avinash Mehrotra, global head of activism defense and shareholder advisory at the New York-based bank, said in an interview Tuesday on Bloomberg TV. “You’ve got an environment right now where you are seeing more of a swarm at large-cap companies.
Some of these activists are pushing companies in different directions.”So-called large-cap companies have become the focus for activists because they are viewed as “defensive,” or a safe place to put money, in a “volatile” economic environment, Mehrotra said. There are also more activists than ever before and only so many very large companies to target, he added.
Large companies with multiple activists in their stock at the moment have included Salesforce Inc. and Fidelity National Information Services Inc. among others. When grappling with a swarm, companies have to focus on who they are dealing with as some activists have more sway than others, Mehrotra said.Bloomberg, February 14, 2023, article and video: “Goldman Activism Head Says Companies Face ‘Swarm’ of Agitators” [Corporate defense advisers share enthusiasm of professional activists for new “swarming” opportunities]