DP10507 The Returns to Hedge Fund Activism: An International Study

Author(s): Marco Becht, Julian R Franks, Jeremy Grant, Hannes Wagner
Publication Date: March 2015
Keyword(s): active ownership, hedge funds, institutional investors, shareholder activism
JEL(s): G32
Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10507

This paper provides evidence that returns to hedge fund activism are driven by engagement outcomes. We use a sample of 1,740 activist engagements from 23 countries to estimate performance of activism across North America, Europe and Asia. Striking differences emerge across countries in outcomes of the engagements. It is these differences that explain the variation in performance of activism. Although there is evidence that activists put companies into play, frequently those takeovers are preceded by significant and profitable governance changes. While the U.S. model of activism has been copied by foreign activists, non-U.S. activists outperform U.S. activists in their domestic markets.