Companies In Canada Must Prepare For Shareholder Activism, Law360

Jonathan Feldman, Michael Partridge and Alexandra Murray co-authored the article "Companies In Canada Must Prepare For Shareholder Activism", originally published in Law360.


"In 2018, Canada saw 13 public proxy fights — the most since 2011. This prevalence of public proxy contests was coupled with a significant increase in "behind-the-scenes" activism, in which activists privately advocate for change at the target company in an effort to reach an agreement without publicly airing their grievances.

In May 2018, Element Financial Corporation (now Element Fleet Management Corp.) reconstituted its board as a result of agreements with some of the company’s largest shareholders and Element’s own assessment of its board composition. And on Dec. 4, 2018, Cominar REIT announced a settlement with FrontFour Capital Group LLC, Westdale Construction Co. Limited and K2 & Associates Investment Management Inc. to replace three members of Cominar’s board of trustees.

The trend of increased activism in Canada continues in 2019. This year, we have already seen 10 public proxy contests launched (eight board-related and two transaction-related). In such an activism heavy environment, it is important for boards to be proactive."

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