Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Murat Binay

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


Shareholder activism has exploded in popularity since the turn of the century, due in large part to impressive relative returns generated by its major participants. The result has thus been a surge in assets invested in the category, to in excess of $170 billion today up from less than $3 billion in 2000 (Inglis 2015; Romito 2015). This influx of capital, in absolute dollars and pace of growth, has caused many to wonder whether activists truly create shareholder value and, if so, if the value generated is sustainable. Numerous studies of activist interventions prior to 2009 reveal significant stock price gains around the time of activist arrival and positive longer term buy-and-hold abnormal returns as well. The question remains, however, whether those trends have continued as volume of transactions and number of activists have increased post the recent global financial crisis. In this report, we perform an empirical analysis focused on a hand-collected dataset of 1,088 activist interventions from 1995-present. This dataset includes all 13D filings, as well as Under the Threshold activist campaigns. First, we analyze stock price returns for this group over short- and long-term periods and find that activists continue to unlock shareholder value in recent deals comparable to that of earlier ones. We then perform a proprietary regression to identify which factors drive the most successful returns. Such insights should prove informative for investors employing an activist strategy and companies looking to manage areas of vulnerability.