CommPRO.biz – Election Season Special: Shareholder Activism Viewed as a Political Campaign

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

There are now less than 50 days left to US election day, Tuesday November 8, 2016, the day that a new US president will be elected.

As one of the most interesting presidential election cycles in this history of the US winds down, the media is replete with news and analysis regarding the political campaigns being waged by the two principal contenders for the US presidency. Coincidentally, at the same time as the US presidential election season comes to a close, the 2016 proxy season, which included 230 campaigns by activist investors, will also be close to winding down.

During the course of the most recent presidential election cycle, CommPRO has provided our site visitors with extensive content related to both the pending USpresidential election contest and the past year’s activist investor campaigns. In our continuing effort to provide new and exciting content for our site visitors, and given that we are in the home stretch of election season, the editors at CommPRO thought we should do something different that would be timely and of great interest to our site visitors.

In this webinar, we will focus on the numerous parallels between an activist investor campaign that seeks to replace one or more members of a public company’s board of directors with a political election campaign, such as the pending presidential election contest. Some of the similarities between an activist investor campaign and a political campaign are striking as an activist campaign is ultimately about “winning the hearts and minds” of as many voting shareholders as possible and the support of key voting blocks, including those that follow the recommendations of the major proxy advisory firms, and many of the strategies and tactics followed in political and activist investor campaigns are very similar. In both types of campaigns, messaging and media play significant roles as does opposition research, third party endorsements, pre-vetting of candidates, ability of candidates to engage with voters, balancing of the slate to appeal to different constituencies, “dog-whistle” politics, voting projections, attacks on the incumbent, platforms based on calls for change, rapid response teams, voter outreach and understanding the voting blocks that are in play versus those that are committed or expected to vote a certain way (e.g., in presidential campaigns, recall the notion of “red” and “blue” states).

For this webinar, we have assembled a panel that combines experts from the political and shareholder activism arenas. We also have as our moderator someone who not only has extensive experience in the shareholder activism arena but also, as a former high-level White House appointee, has substantial insight into the political world as well.