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Activist investors mount record number of attacks against companies

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Companies faced a record number of attacks from activist investors in 2023 as disgruntled shareholders sought to oust directors or force the sales of businesses whose share prices had languished. 

There were 252 new campaigns globally, according to a report by investment bank Lazard, a 7 per cent increase on the previous year. Few companies were safe from scrutiny, with a broad range of activists targeting blue-chip businesses such as Walt Disney, Salesforce and Starbucks.  

Europe and Asia Pacific saw record levels of activity, with the UK and Japan leading the pack. There were 69 campaigns launched in Europe, most of which had demands related to mergers and acquisitions, and 44 new campaigns in Asia Pacific where local hedge funds were the most active…

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