Will Activism Continue to Rattle the Board Room?

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March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Global Head of Blackstone Advisory Partners John Studzinski examine the rise of activism with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers." (Source: Bloomberg)

The s&p 500 last year?

That is amazing.

You go through the s&p 500, there are about 100 companies that had either an activist shareholder or the threat of an activist shareholder and some discussion of either restructuring or in some cases an actual m&a transaction because as you know, there are some activists who are focused on apple structure, some focus on governance, some are focused on chief executive competence.

Some are focused on catalyzing an m&a transaction.

There are probably about 10 different categories.

You think there are instances where companies, there are actually ceo's that work well or positive on activist investing because they like to have the constructive criticism?

From where i said, what i think what it is like when a carl icahn, dan roaf, or bill ackman knocks on your door, that is your worst nightmare.

You're making every important point, which is if you were to survey most boards right now, they would say their biggest nightmare is an activist.

Having said that, if the activist is discrete, rigorous, analytical h, and actually brings the good input -- let's remember, shareholders own the company.

Many managers actually act like they own the company.

So analysts -- what activists are doing is they're trying to require five the roles here.

You probably sell this morning, microsoft announced that the value act shareholders is going to send a representative to their board.

If an activist asides to go on a board, they're not doing that because they have nothing to do.

Their lp's actually don't want them to go onto to mourn a boards because it takes a lot of time.

It distracts them in a very strong position of accountability, so if someone goes on a board, they actually have the potential to play a very positive role, constructive role over a longer period of time.

Erik, if you ran a company and a carl icahn-style investor took a seat on your board, it might feel like a nightmare but maybe it is a huge positive.

You have one of the best investors in the world helping you fly right.

Perhaps, but it is hard to feel good when your cages being rattled by carl icahn.

Maybe not carl -- there are a lot of investors.

I was talking earlier about rosenstein, janaup partners, he is what i call it is what i call a discrete, behind the scenes activist.

He does rigorous analysis, he is behind closed doors, he does not necessarily want to get on the front page of the "wall street journal," and when he goes forward with an investment thesis, he is focused on trying to make the company understand his point of view.

If you can do activism in such an understated, quiet faction -- fashion as berry rosenstein, then why are so many activists as loud as they are.

Carl icahn definitely wields a megaphone.

We talked about dan loeb and bill ackman, who are is not as loud as carl's certainly as public and have relationships with the media and try to influence events in their direction.

Carl icahn is a brandon to himself.

He arrives -- is a brand unto himself.

He arrives and basically says one thing -- value.

There is value in that stock , by it.

That is a simple brand identity right now and he has built up a fortune, over 20 billion u.s. dollars, and that is carl icahn.

Everybody else, you talk about black men, dan loeb -- they have all -- you talk about bill ackman, dan loeb, they have all evolved and what you are seeing now is less and less are below going to take public profiles because -- turned to the media -- yeah, turned to bloomberg, cnbc, "new york times" -- what about holding a press conference?

Bill control that press conference.

He controlled all of the information that one out because it was his press conference.

There are tactics on how to work the company.

You have to work for both to understand that you are supposed to be close to your friends but you better be closer to your enemy.

If the board is prepared to engage, if you pick a very constructive, bill ackman, procter & gamble -- he engaged discreetly, behind closed doors, two senior independent directors, and had an enormous impact on the way the board thought about procter & gamble.

There was no trumpeting on the front page.

If someone tries that strategy and the board tells them to buzz off, then i have got to go to the shareholders, to the analyst community -- kind of david einhorn style.

It is a bit like playing bridge.

You see what happens.

Step, step, step.

And if people play -- a lot of boards now are very willing to engage.

More and more my advice to the board is engage and listen.

It is a lot more

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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