Activism and Takeovers

59 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2018  

Mike Burkart

Swedish House of Finance; London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Samuel Lee

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Swedish House of Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2018

Abstract

At the core of agency problems in widely held firms is a dual coordination failure: Dispersed shareholders neither share in the cost of governance interventions (ex post free riding) nor sell shares unless the price at least matches the expected value improvement (ex ante free riding). Whether to confront the free-rider problem in its ex post or ex ante variant amounts to the choice between activism and takeovers. For small toeholds, the returns to these governance mechanisms have inverse comparative statics, and though less efficient, activism is more profitable when the potential value improvement is large. Activists are most effective when, instead of restructuring firms themselves, they broker takeovers. Such takeover activism is Pareto-improving and should earn superior returns, in part because it must pay more than what could be earned by free-riding on a tender offer instead.

Keywords: blockholders, Free-rider problem, hedge fund activism, M&A, market for corporate control, takeover activism, tender offers

JEL Classification: G23, G34

Suggested Citation

Burkart, Mike and Lee, Samuel, Activism and Takeovers (January 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12616. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3106820

Mike C. Burkart (Contact Author)

Swedish House of Finance ( email )

Drottninggatan 98
111 60 Stockholm
Sweden

London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Finance ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepr.org/default_static.htm

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Samuel Lee

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA California 95053
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Swedish House of Finance ( email )

Drottninggatan 98
111 60 Stockholm
Sweden

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