Corporate governance and hedge fund activism
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Recently, the mainstream media have paid considerable attention to hedge funds behaving as agents of corporate change. We study this phenomenon using a unique dataset of hedge fund activism for the period 1994–2005, and find evidence that hedge fund activists improve both short-term stock performance and long-term operating performance of their targets. The most dramatic changes in performance accrue to targets where activists seek corporate governance changes and reductions in excess cash. Additionally, hedge funds themselves benefit from activism: the risk-adjusted annual performance of hedge funds seeking changes in corporate governance is about 7–11% higher than for non-activist hedge funds and hedge funds pursuing less aggressive activism. These results imply that hedge funds can facilitate long-lasting changes in corporate governance, cash flows, and operating performance that benefit target firm shareholders and hedge fund investors alike.
KeywordsHedge funds Activism Corporate governance
JEL ClassificationG11 G34
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