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Shareholder Activism: It's All About the Little Guy. Even if You're Carl Icahn.

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Now that anybody willing to browbeat a CEO is a "shareholder activist" (and that, mind you, is a good thing), Barron's uses the emergence of shareholder activism (if it was ever submerged) to browbeat the SEC for increased regulation of hedgefunds, which they argue will result in fewer shareholder activists (which would, mind you, be a bad thing):

HERE IS A NEW GROUP OF ACTIVIST shareholders who are holding CEOs' feet to the fire. ... With all the emphasis of the past few years on aggrieved investors, one would think the Securities and Exchange Commission would embrace this new class of corporate watchdogs. But instead, the SEC has taken steps to make it more difficult for these shareholders to hold management of their companies accountable. Why is an agency whose mission is investor protection putting roadblocks in the way of reform-minded investors? These particular shareholders are the dreaded hedge funds, blamed by some for everything from high oil prices to shortages of Treasury bills.

Not surprisingly, we tend to view regulation as something of which we'd rather have less than more, but we think Barron's is reaching a bit here and we feel obligated to reproduce our Venn Diagram of Shareholder Activism in this context, if only to reiterate our amoral stance** toward shareholder activists in general:

** As well as our general amorality, and as long as we're feeling confessional, occasional nihilism...
The Shareholder's Friend [Barron's]


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