Global shareholder activism sees record number of European campaigns, report shows By Reuters

Global shareholder activism sees record number of European campaigns, report shows By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO-The logo of French oil and gas company TotalEnergies is seen on an oil tank at TotalEnergies fuel depot in Mardyck near Dunkirk as France’s trade unions announced a nationwide day of strike and protests in key sectors like energy, public transp

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By Amy-Jo Crowley

LONDON (Reuters) – Activist shareholders stepped up pressure on corporate boardrooms last year by starting 235 campaigns to shake up companies, including a record number in Europe.

The activist moves represented a 36% increase compared with a year earlier and the busiest year since 2018, based on a report by investment bank Lazard (NYSE:).

Activists buy up stakes in companies to lobby for change that they hope will improve a target’s share price. They tend to push for asset sales and management changes, with a growing focus on improving companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) record.

Much of the activity was driven by the United States, where 135 new campaigns were launched – up 41% from a year earlier.

TotalEnergies, Unilever (NYSE:) and Shell (LON:) were also among 60 European companies targeted by activists, up 20% from the previous year and surpassing previous records in 2018, Lazard’s 2022 Review of Shareholder Activism report showed.

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