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SRZ Advises Activist Funds

Diplomacy and discretion apt in Europe

Activist investors in Europe are grabbing headlines, and some milestones – such as Bill Ackman listing Pershing Square Holdings on Amsterdam’s stock exchange – warrant publicity. But in other cases, activists could achieve their goals more quietly, argues Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ) corporate and funds partner Jim McNally.

Although SRZ did not advise Sherborne on its investment in private equity trust Electra, McNally views it as “a good example of a public deal that did not necessarily need that type of publicity.” Indeed, SRZ typically recommends to its activist clients that they operate behind the scenes, at least initially. “Many of the UK deals we are advising on are pre-public, or proposing not to become public,” he says. But McNally accepts that going public is sometimes appropriate and he has seen numerous public campaigns in the United Kingdom – where SRZ’s shareholder activism practice is buzzing. “It has been a busy time. Given the high returns for the activist sector, shareholders are eyeing targets in the UK and Europe,” he continued.

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