Activist Investing: Is this a new golden age?


In a column (subscription required) in Barron's, Ken Squire argues that we are entering a golden age for activist investing as legislators get serious about shareholder rights for the first time in history: "This enthusiasm for shareholder rights, coupled with distressed equity markets, means the sun, the moon and the stars have moved into alignment for activist investing."

In some ways he's right. Institutional investors will be more open to taking an activist stance as they look to salvage value at companies whose share prices are down by 50% or more. The continued growth in executive compensation against that backdrop will also aggravate many investors into action.