Bob Brenner, chief operating officer and chief legal officer at K2 Intelligence, comments in “Activist Investors Are Employing Private Investigators to Ferret Out Juicy Details” (TheStreet.com, 14 Nov. 2014). When advising companies, Brenner says his team will seek to identify what kind of resources an activist has at its disposal. “Do they have the funds to go through a costly proxy solicitation?” he asks.
In addition, Brenner says his group figures out the activist’s track record to identify if it has succeeded previously at electing dissidents, as well as whether they are acting as a stalking horse for a passive investor that doesn’t want to do the “nasty work” of an activist campaign.
Once a battle has advanced to the proxy contest stage, Brenner says his team will comb through a dissident’s director nominees to identify any material misstatements or omissions. “They may be omitting that a [dissident] director candidate was involved in a company that had regulatory or financial problems,” he says.