Martin Lipton isn’t exactly inviting Nelson Peltz and Barry Rosenstein to dinner. But he’ll take them over Carl Icahn, Dan Loeb or Bill Ackman, opponents of clients who he dislikes as much as the former two do the latter, and vice versa.
In the latest sign that the aggressive shareholders are gaining influence and acceptance even among their detractors, the influential partner of New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz LLP said some shareholder activism should be "encouraged" even while he maintained his long-standing arguments that activists harm the economy.
At a conference of deal makers, he rattled off a list of activists he respects: Ralph Whitworth and David H. Batchelder of Relational Investors LLC, Nelson Peltz and Peter May of Trian Fund Management LP and Barry Rosenstein of Jana Partners LLC.
"I wouldn't say 'like,'" Mr. Lipton said, qualifying the compliment.
Mr. Lipton named Carl Icahn, Paul Singer of Elliott Management Corp., Daniel Loeb of Third Point LLC and William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management LP as activists whose tactics he views as too short-term in nature. Wachtell Lipton has represented several companies that have been targeted by those activists….
"That kind of pressure results in illegality or immorality," Mr. Lipton said. "It shouldn't be allowed."