October 3, 2018 Activist investors are gearing up for more battles in the year ahead – Bruce Goldfarb in CNBC Online

By Thomas Franck

Wall Street’s top activist investors are raising lots of cash and gearing up for battle over the next year, a new report shows.

The group see more opportunity to disrupt the consumer discretionary sector, which includes retailers, than in any other industry, according to the study from corporate law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel, Activist Insight and Okapi Partners.

Consumer products companies will continue to be in the crosshairs, the survey showed, amid multiple high-profile contests in the last year at household names like Procter & Gamble and Campbell Soup. But in order, activists believe consumer discretionary, financials, industrials and telecommunications represent the areas where management will see the most activity in the coming months.

The report, a result of an August 2018 survey of activist funds that have engaged almost 300 companies since 2013, found that 72 percent of respondents expect to raise “some” or “a lot” of new capital over the next year.

And more than half expect the size of assets allocated to activist strategies to grow over the next 12 months.

“As activists continue to gain a level of legitimacy in the market and design more effective ways to reach shareholders with their message, retail participation in the voting process should increase,” Bruce Goldfarb, CEO of Okapi Partners, wrote in the report.

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