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Investor Relations Officers Feeling Less Concerned About Activist Campaigns

Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s 12th Annual IR Survey of Investor Relations Officers (IROs) internationally has found that the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in companies feeling less concerned about activist campaigns, particularly in Europe. 

The survey incorporates feedback from 377 IROs at companies across the world. A majority of survey respondents - 53% - do not believe they are at increased risk of investor activism. In Europe, this figure rises to 61%.

While 23% responded that they felt the threat of activism was heightened by the recent crisis, this figure is broadly in line with Citigate's 2019 research findings when 22% of participants felt the threat of an activist approach had increased against the previous year.

Christen Thomson, Citigate's Head of Hedge Funds commented, "While some industries have always attracted greater attention from activist investors, it is possible the COVID-19 crisis has triggered a shift in focus, with value now found in sectors most affected by the pandemic. It is also possible that activist investors are simply holding back and taking stock, unwilling to take a stance until there is more certainty around their positions."

The one region that is an outlier to this trend globally is Latin America. 50% of respondents from the region reported that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in an increased risk of shareholder activism. The fact that the crisis has hit the region particularly hard and exacerbated political issues in some countries, where governments are perceived to have mishandled their response to the pandemic, may be driving increased concern.

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