These days it seems you can hardly open a newspaper and not
see a headline about another Dutch company under siege.
Questions are increasingly being asked in the Dutch business
media and in corporate boardrooms: Do activist shareholders
turn companies around or upside down? Are they destroyers of
businesses or liberators of shareholder value? Are they
shameless asset strippers or a blessing to the efficiency of
the Dutch economy?
Shareholders in Dutch corporates have started to use their
enhanced rights. They are no longer silent bystanders on the
company's strategy, policy and anti-takeover measures.
Shareholders are putting pressure on the boards of listed
companies to abandon proposed acquisitions and focus on
improving performance (as with VNU), to remove anti-takeover
measures (CSM), to break up the activities of the company
(ASMI, Stork and ABN Amro) or to reform governance structures
Activist shareholders come in all shapes and sizes,...