October 24, 2014 Okapi Partners Profiled in Law360

Okapi Partners CEO Explains Why Activists are Ruling the Marketplace

By Karlee Weinmann in New York

When Bruce Goldfarb founded proxy solicitation firm Okapi Partners LLC in 2009, the marketplace was a much different beast.

Back then, widespread economic woes iced over deal-making and sapped returns from companies and their investors, leaving them little choice but to wait out the financial crisis and hope for better times ahead.

That’s all changed dramatically in the half-decade since the global economy bottomed out, especially for shareholder activists that seized on sputtering companies to build up an asset class that’s exploded into a powerful force in corporate America and, increasingly, around the world.

Activists’ success stories have piled up in recent years, showcasing a bolder, more sophisticated crop of investors storming the marketplace and continually proving an ability to generate steep returns. The record run has fortified the investors themselves, giving them more ammunition to think bigger in their campaigns, but it’s also propped up firms like Okapi.

The proxy solicitor, where Goldfarb serves as president and CEO, is among the younger players in its market segment but has benefited from the rapid rise of the 21st century activist space. Prominent activist funds Starboard Value LP, Elliott Management Corp. and Jana Partners LLC are all on its client rosters, and are staging more high-stakes proxy fights than ever.

In some ways, Goldfarb said, the surge in activism is a natural evolution for cash-rich investors galvanized by recent successes and more prepared than ever to drive change.

“We’ve witnessed a number of successful campaigns waged by activists,” he said. “Value has been created, and overall there’s more focus on these campaigns.”

Read Full Story Here [Law360]

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