It looks as if hedge fund activists engineer not just a short-term pop in target firms’ stock prices but also long-term improvements in innovation.
While studies have shown that news of an activist position in a stock leads to a 5 to 7 percent pop, some have argued that hedge funds are simply creating a short-term share price gain at the expense of long-term competitiveness and productivity.
That’s partly gainsaid by data showing no decline in share or operating performance in the five years after an initial intervention by an activist investor. It’s also true that activist campaigns often, if not always, lead to cutbacks in the size of firms and of their research and development efforts.
A new working paper finds benefits to innovation at firms which get picked on by hedge fund activists, benefits which may extend to other firms not directly involved.