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Activist funds eye resurgence in friendlier climate

Alibaba News Channel – European companies emerging from the credit crisis should start looking over their shoulders: activist investors are set to return from hibernation, working more closely than ever with institutions to effect change.

The activists, who favour methods such as changing balance sheet structures, ousting chairmen or selling off non-core units, had little to do during the crisis when buyers were scarce and there was little appetite for transformatory change. But now they are set to gain from a political will to drive large institutional investors towards more active investment and away from a mentality of simply selling stocks they don’t like, while a purge of more leveraged, short-termist funds has cleared the ground for activists to tap a wealth of new opportunities.

"Pushed and shoved by the regulators, mainstream institutions are beginning to countenance interaction with activist investors," said a senior figure at one activist firm.

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