Engine No. 1 scored two board seats at Exxon’s annual meeting this week, ending a costly proxy fight that saw it win support from institutional investors like BlackRock. Bloomberg’s Matt Levine weighed in on the result, pointing to the symbiotic relationship between activist and institutional investors in the campaign: an activist with intent to fight but little financial muscle at .02% ownership in a $250 billion cap company, and a group of institutionals who own 20% without the autonomy to publicly fight or sell the stock. He ended his column by saying, “I think of this more as 'Engine No. 1 gave BlackRock what it wanted' than 'BlackRock gave Engine No. 1 what it wanted,' though of course both are true.”
Bluebell Capital called on Vivendi to pay shareholders a €3.3bn cash dividend payout to shareholders ahead of a vote on its planned spinoff of its Universal Music Group business, Financial Times reported. This is the second major company that the small, London-based fund has targeted, having successfully replaced Danone’s chief executive earlier this year. Bluebell is arguing that the method of the spinoff, a dividend in kind, would lead to significant tax bills for shareholders.
Younger generations are forcing companies to rethink recruiting, retention and the values they stand for. Financial Times sat down with several experts and leaders, including Matts Johansen, CEO of fishing and biotech company Aker BioMarine, to discuss how they are working to create value for the younger workforce. Johansen notes that millennials, who place a larger onus on sustainability, are now starting to move into leadership positions which is putting pressure on companies to rethink purpose and communicate a “clear meaning” of what the company is doing.
Have a great weekend,