Jeffrey Kochian Discusses Activist Investing in Q&A with The Activist Report

Akin Gump corporate partner Jeffrey Kochian was interviewed by 13D Monitor’s The Activist Report for a Q&A column on activist investing. Kochian, who advises investment funds as well as companies, offered his thoughts on a variety of topics. They included:

  • What is the biggest thing an activist could do to be well received by management? “Be thoughtful. This seems like relatively simple advice, but there is a lot to it. First, it means be thoughtful about your investment thesis…. It also means be thoughtful about the end game from the outset…. Finally, it means be thoughtful in your interactions and negotiations with management.”
  • What is the biggest thing that boards could do to be viewed as shareholder friendly? “I always advise boards to engage directly with shareholders on a regular basis, not just in response to an activist…. Thoughtful engagement will give a company the opportunity to communicate the ways it is responding to shareholder expectations.”
  • Do you find activist investors to be more short term minded than other shareholders? “Most of our activist clients tend to be relatively long term investors in a company, and even if they are new to a particular investment, they are almost always willing to stick around while their investment thesis plays out.”
  • Do you see the level of shareholder activism increasing or decreasing over the next five to ten years and any trends that you foresee? “I expect more and more investors of all types will start engaging with management on a regular basis. And I think this is a really good thing. Companies need to keep all of their stakeholders in mind in order to be successful, but shareholders are the ultimate owners of those companies, and they should make their voices heard…. Also, while foreign markets have historically been considered less attractive for activists than the U.S., I think we are going to see activism really start to take off outside of the U.S.”