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Article

Access_open Exit, Voice and Loyalty from the Perspective of Hedge Funds Activism in Corporate Governance

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Uncertainty, entrepreneurship, agency costs, loyalty shares, institutional investors
Authors Alessio M. Pacces
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses hedge funds activism based on Hirschman’s classic. It is argued that hedge funds do not create the loyalty concerns underlying the usual short-termism critique of their activism, because the arbiters of such activism are typically indexed funds, which cannot choose short-term exit. Nevertheless, the voice activated by hedge funds can be excessive for a particular company. Furthermore, this article claims that the short-termism debate cannot shed light on the desirability of hedge funds activism. Neither theory nor empirical evidence can tell whether hedge funds activism leads to short-termism or long-termism. The real issue with activism is a conflict of entrepreneurship, namely a conflict between the opposing views of the activists and the incumbent management regarding in how long an individual company should be profitable. Leaving the choice between these views to institutional investors is not efficient for every company at every point in time. Consequently, this article argues that regulation should enable individual companies to choose whether to curb hedge funds activism depending on what is efficient for them. The recent European experience reveals that loyalty shares enable such choice, even in the midstream, operating as dual-class shares in disguise. However, loyalty shares can often be introduced without institutional investors’ consent. This outcome could be improved by allowing dual-class recapitalisations, instead of loyalty shares, but only with a majority of minority vote. This solution would screen for the companies for which temporarily curbing activism is efficient, and induce these companies to negotiate sunset clauses with institutional investors.


Alessio M. Pacces
Professor of Law & Finance, Erasmus School of Law, and Research Associate, European Corporate Governance Institute.
Article

Access_open Keck in Capital? Redefining ‘Restrictions’ in the ‘Golden Shares’ Case Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Keck, selling arrangements, market access, golden shares, capital
Authors Ilektra Antonaki
AbstractAuthor's information

    The evolution of the case law in the field of free movement of goods has been marked by consecutive changes in the legal tests applied by the Court of Justice of the European Union for the determination of the existence of a trade restriction. Starting with the broad Dassonville and Cassis de Dijon definition of MEEQR (measures having equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction), the Court subsequently introduced the Keck-concept of ‘selling arrangements’, which allowed for more regulatory autonomy of the Member States, but proved insufficient to capture disguised trade restrictions. Ultimately, a refined ‘market access’ test was adopted, qualified by the requirement of a ‘substantial’ hindrance on inter-State trade. Contrary to the free movement of goods, the free movement of capital has not undergone the same evolutionary process. Focusing on the ‘golden shares’ case law, this article questions the broad interpretation of ‘capital restrictions’ and seeks to investigate whether the underlying rationale of striking down any special right that could have a potential deterrent effect on inter-State investment is compatible with the constitutional foundations of negative integration. So far the Court seems to promote a company law regime that endorses shareholders’ primacy, lacking, however, the constitutional and institutional legitimacy to decide on such a highly political question. It is thus suggested that a refined test should be adopted that would capture measures departing from ordinary company law and hindering market access of foreign investors, while at the same time allowing Member States to determine their corporate governance systems.


Ilektra Antonaki
Ilektra Antonaki, LL.M., is a PhD candidate at Leiden University, The Netherlands.
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