Hedge Fund Activism, Corporate Governance, and Firm Performance

Authors

  • ALON BRAV,

  • WEI JIANG,

  • FRANK PARTNOY,

  • RANDALL THOMAS

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    • We thank the Acting Editor who handled our submission. Brav is with Duke University, Jiang is with Columbia University, Partnoy is with University of San Diego, and Thomas is with Vanderbilt University. The authors have benefited from discussions with Patrick Bolton, Bill Bratton, Martijn Cremers, Gregory Dyra, Alex Edmans, Allen Ferrell, Gur Huberman, Joe Mason, Edward Rock, Mark Roe, Roberta Romano, Tano Santos, William Spitz, Robert Thompson, and Gregory van Inwegen and comments from seminar and conference participants at the American Law and Economics Association, Arizona State University, Association of American Law Schools, BNP Paribas Hedge Fund Centre Symposium, Chicago Quantitative Alliance, Columbia University, The Conference Board, Drexel University, Duke University, FDIC, University of Florida, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Interdisciplinary Center (Herzlyia, Israel), Inquire (UK), University of Kansas, London Business School, Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, Society of Quantitative Analysts, University of Amsterdam, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia, University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, Wharton, the European Financial Management Association annual meeting in Vienna, and the Vanderbilt Investor Activism Conference. We owe special thanks to a large number of research assistants for their help in data collection and, in particular, to Jennifer Blessing, Amod Gautam, Greg Klochkoff, and Samantha Prouty. We also thank George Murillo for excellent research assistance. Brav and Jiang acknowledge the financial support from the FDIC, the Q-Group, and the Yale/Oxford Shareholders and Corporate Governance Research Agenda. Jiang is also thankful for support from Ivy Asset Management Corp. through their partnership with Columbia Business School.


ABSTRACT

Using a large hand-collected data set from 2001 to 2006, we find that activist hedge funds in the United States propose strategic, operational, and financial remedies and attain success or partial success in two-thirds of the cases. Hedge funds seldom seek control and in most cases are nonconfrontational. The abnormal return around the announcement of activism is approximately 7%, with no reversal during the subsequent year. Target firms experience increases in payout, operating performance, and higher CEO turnover after activism. Our analysis provides important new evidence on the mechanisms and effects of informed shareholder monitoring.

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