March 7, 2014 Okapi Featured in The New York Times DealBook
Okapi Partners, one of the younger players in the business of advising companies and hedge funds in proxy contests, plans to announce on Friday that it has hired Michael Fein as a senior managing director.
The addition of Mr. Fein comes as Okapi continues to expand and compete against more established rivals in the proxy solicitation industry. Founded in 2009 by three former executives at Georgeson, the firm now counts a number of prominent activist investors as clients, including Elliott Management and Jana Partners.
Bolstering the business of proxy solicitors has been the rise of activist investing, where hedge funds seek to shake up companies to lift their stock prices. The practice has become more prominent in recent years, according to Bruce H. Goldfarb, the firm’s chief executive, and will likely remain in some form for the foreseeable future.
“There has been a significant amount of capital invested in the activism share class, and there will always be situations where value can be unlocked through taking a more active strategy with an investment,” he said in a telephone interview.
Okapi has also worked for the likes of Smithfield Foods, which was sold to Shuanghui International last year. And it has carved out an unusual business in advising mutual funds in their own internal corporate governance affairs, an operation that the firm says gives it additional insight into how institutional investors will act in shareholder votes.
Mr. Fein, who will join as a senior managing director, was a founder of Midway Management Partners, an investment firm.
“I’ve known Michael for a long time,” Mr. Goldfarb said. “He will help our clients better understand the nuance of what’s going in on a transaction.”