Clustered Shareholder Activism

16 Pages Posted: 16 May 2019

See all articles by Tanja Artiga González

Tanja Artiga González

VU University Amsterdam

Paul Calluzzo

Queen's University - Smith School of Business

Date Written: May 2019

Abstract

Research Question/Issue. This study examines activism campaigns where multiple activists simultaneously target the same firm—which we term clustered shareholder activism. Despite the growing influence of shareholder activism on corporate governance, the clustered activism phenomenon has previously only been addressed indirectly, anecdotally, or with limited data. We consider cost sharing motives for clustered activism and whether the phenomenon exerts a positive or negative impact on the performance of the target firm. Research Findings/Insights. Using a large dataset of shareholder activism events at U.S. firms, we find that clustered activism campaigns are more common at larger firms and among geographically proximate activists, which is consistent with our prediction that activists cluster to reduce the costs associated with activism campaigns. Furthermore, we find that clustered activism produces elevated profitability and abnormal returns, which is consistent with our prediction that activists cluster to address principal–agency costs. Theoretical/Academic Implications. Our study provides some of the first theoretical and empirical evidence on the clustered activism phenomenon. We contribute to the understanding of the role of shareholder activism by considering their effect on principal–agency and principal–principal problems. Our results also contribute to the literature that examines factors relating to the success of shareholder activism by documenting the effect of clustered activism on activism costs and target firm performance. Practitioner/Policy Implications. Our study adds to the debate among practitioners and regulators on the merits (or lack thereof) of clustered activism. Our findings suggest that a regulatory approach that encourages clustered activism can benefit shareholders. Video Abstract. youtube

Keywords: geography, international investment, large blockholder, shareholder activism

Suggested Citation

Artiga González, Tanja and Calluzzo, Paul, Clustered Shareholder Activism (May 2019). Corporate Governance: An International Review, Vol. 27, Issue 3, pp. 210-225, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3389456 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/corg.12271

Tanja Artiga González (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND 1081 HV
Netherlands

Paul Calluzzo

Queen's University - Smith School of Business ( email )

Smith School of Business - Queen's University
143 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

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