In recent years, shareholder activism has increasingly become a topic of interest and strategic discussion in corporate boardrooms and across the media and analyst community. With a thriving activist contingent, dedicated activist funds increasing their funds under management and a favourable legal system, the Australian market is primed for more activity.
ABL acts for investors and hedge funds as well as ASX-listed companies, and has represented both activist shareholders and target boards in recent high-profile activist campaigns.
Each activism campaign presents unique challenges and opportunities. Combining our corporate law, governance and dispute resolution expertise, our activism team is able to assess each situation from all perspectives and strategically advise on the best course of action to achieve clients’ commercial and reputational objectives. Our team is experienced in working with the full range of stakeholders involved in activist situations including proxy advisors, public relations firms, investment banks and independent financial advisors.
In 2016, ABL partnered with Activist Insight to produce a report providing the first detailed analysis of activist investing trends and insights in Australia.
Shareholder activism services
Advising shareholders on:
- all aspects of their strategic planning and approach including formulation of ‘white papers’ and public statements
- constructive board engagement while navigating Australia’s insider trading regime
- stake building and potential implications for any future take-private strategy
- information requisitions under the Corporations Act
- calling of extraordinary general meetings, shareholder engagement and proxy solicitation campaigns
- hostile transaction options and the limitations of shareholder power to interfere with management of a company
- seeking regulatory intervention from ASIC, ASX and/or the Takeovers Panel, and
- Annual General Meeting planning, including attendance and public statements and strategies around remuneration strike voting.
Advising companies on:
- strategies to avoid being targeting by activist shareholders
- pre-emptive planning and response strategies
- public engagement and responses to information requisitions
- responding to shareholder convened or requisitioned meetings
- shareholder engagement and proxy solicitation campaigns and engaging with proxy advisors
- seeking regulatory intervention from ASIC, ASX and/or the Takeovers Panel
- Annual General Meeting planning, including attendance and public statements and strategies around remuneration strike voting, and
- business continuity, non-ordinary course transactions and raising equity in the face of a shareholder activism campaign.