And the most important ache within the ass of 2020 is …
It’s a difficult time holding an awards show, given all the death and misery and the inability to safely dine on a chipotle or steak ‘n shake. Unfortunately, what happened in 2020, albeit a little less than in previous years: shareholder activism fell 10% in those horrific 12 months, and successful activism fell 16%.
Even so, it would not be the general attitude of the glorious days of activism to just raise our hands and say, “Forget it! Nobody gets the coveted boonie this year. “Here are this year’s nominees:
While Jes Staley probably thinks he deserves the award every year, Edward Bramson of Sherborne Investors Management canceled the dogs and ditched the hardware in his fight against Barclays at the start of the pandemic.
Perhaps the Golden Pickens should show solidarity with the hedge funds bullied by the Japanese government instead, but this is a money-making award, not a goddamn charity, so no.
The Church of England made its case, but as the institution should be, it was weak tea. Pentwater Capital Management made the right noises and took advantage of a rival’s troubles. Dan Loeb did well in his fight against Sony, but it was because he ignored him and started a friendly new exchange with Disney. And of course Bill Ackman made a hell of a lot of money.
Then there are the perennial contenders. Carl Icahn (who would have named this award for him if he had died before T. Boone Pickens) had quite the coronavirus that made precautions for future generations of activists and even drove a winning lap for one of the greatest investment trolls of all time. although he didn’t manage a perfect year. And Paul Singer, as always, has been busy buying toilet paper, twittering to tsk-tsking, paying French fines, causing casual mistakes from enemies, supporting lawsuits, and single-handedly inspiring major changes in the way we deal with national debt is bypassed.
And he came closer! But this time the boonie goes to Jeff Smith of Starboard Value.
Starboard Value was Insightia’s most influential hedge fund activist last year, beating Elliott Management.
The top hedge fund activist of 2020 continued to make demands despite the raging pandemic [II]