Gilbert + Tobin’s ASX Shareholder Activism report looks back at the growth in both investment and ideological activism over the last 12 months. 

The volume and significance of activist campaigns in Australia is at unprecedented levels and growing rapidly. Motivated activists (both global and domestic) have started to take advantage of the flexible legal tools available to shareholders in Australian companies. Campaigns have become increasingly sophisticated and public and we have experienced our first high profile experience of activist short-sellers. 

The report examines how current regulatory change and interventions will accelerate shareholder activism in Australia and how, somewhat ironically, stricter regulation around corporate governance will actually provide more ammunition for activists to pressure companies who are already under unprecedented scrutiny. 

Separately the report looks at ideological activism, which has increasingly pressured Australian boards in relation to Environmental, Social and Governance issues, with 7 of the ASX 50 having an ESG-related activist shareholder resolution put forward at their AGM. 

The report draws these themes together, looking at the major events and emerging trends and looking forward to the next 12 months.  

We also provide advice for Boards, management and company advisors in how to prepare for and respond to increasingly frequent activist interventions.