Activism Finds New Peak and Drilling Into Energy, Mining M&A

Proxy season is well underway and activism activity is showing no signs of slowing down. New data from Barclays’ inaugural Q1 2023 Review of Shareholder Activism report revealed that global activism increased 14% from Q1 2022, totaling 83 campaigns. The FT’s Ortenca Aliaj points out that although smaller firms played a role in activity, such as Align Partners launching eight campaigns in South Korea, bigger players like Elliott, Carl Icahn and Nelson Peltz still accounted for much of what we’ve seen this year, which includes an uptick in M&A demands. This past quarter, 44% of campaigns had an M&A component, though board changes still led as the top demand. Jim Rossman, Barclays’ recently appointed global head of shareholder advisory, told The Deal’s Ron Orol that the current market has made M&A activism shift to a focus on divestitures of non-core businesses or dismantling M&A committees, like what was recently seen as a byproduct of activism at Salesforce.

Drilling down on M&A, Exxon Mobil made headlines this week after the Wall Street Journal reported that the oil and gas behemoth was in talks to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources in what would be the company’s largest deal since its megamerger with Mobil Corp. The Journal’s Benoît Morenne noted that this may be the tip of the spear for dealmaking among oil and gas companies, which are flush with cash after record earnings.

Meantime, Glencore, the mining giant, is digging for a deal after revising its $23 billion takeover bid for Teck Resources. Teck has rebuffed the hostile bid and is now calling for Glencore to sell its coal business if the Swiss miner wants talks to continue, as reported by the FT’s Leslie Hook, Harry Dempsey and Ivan Levingston. Elsewhere in mining, Newmont, which had to raise its takeover bid to $19.5 billion for Australian rival Newcrest seems to have done enough to please Newcrest’s largest shareholder, Allan Gray, which said it would back the deal pending any larger bids. “Expect the consolidation to continue as mining is a consumptive industry and companies need to focus on future growth to meet demand,” said Barrick CEO Mark Bristow Tuesday on CNBC.


Briefly, in the IPO world, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank intends to sign an agreement that will see its UK-based chip manufacturer ARM list on Nasdaq as early as this Fall, according to Leo Lewis and Kana Inagaki of the Financial Times. While the IPO market has sputtered since hitting record highs in 2021, a successful listing of ARM could serve as a spark for its resurgence. It’s worth noting that the target timing near the end of 2023 for the potential listing does align with some experts' thinking of when the deal market could again show signs of life.


Have a great weekend,



The Deal: Activists Push M&A Despite Deal Slowdown

Ronald Orol discusses Barclays’ shareholder activism report, noting the significant focus on M&A by activists in Q1. As markets slow, there is a call for companies to consider divesting business that is marginal to the company and “strengthen the balance sheet” as Barclays CEO Jim Rossman said about the trend. Read More

Wall Street Journal: Exxon Deal Hunt Signals Possible Shale M&A Wave

If Exxon ultimately pulls the trigger on a deal with fracking company Pioneer, as Benoît Morenne and Collin Eaton report, it may lead to a broader wave of consolidation in the space as rivals seek to carve out their own segment of the shale industry. Read More

Financial Times: Teck calls for Glencore to spin out coal unit as it rejects $23bn revised bid

Teck Resources rejected another bid from Glencore but suggested in a letter on Thursday to the company that it should proceed with the spinoff of their thermal coal business. This marks the second rebuffed deal in two weeks. Read More

Bloomberg: Glencore Cash-for-Coal Sweetener in Latest Teck Offer

Glencore added cash to its offer as it continues vying for Canadian miner Teck Resources Ltd. While the company may be swaying some investors with the sweetened deal, Teck’s controlling investor has said that he is unwilling to sell at any price. As a vote approaches in a few weeks, both companies are under pressure to convince shareholders, Bloomberg’s Thomas Biesheuvel and Jacob Lorinc write. Read More

Financial Times: SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son set to sign off on Nasdaq listing for Arm

Leo Lewis and Kana Inagaki detail that SoftBank is set to take chip designer, Arm, public as soon as the fall. SoftBank executive Masayoshi Son has turned his sights toward solidifying the value of Arm prior to the IPO. Investors have expressed concern over the challenge of comparing Arm to any other company, with valuation estimates ranging anywhere from $30bn to $70bn. Read More


Reuters: EY Calls Off Plans to Split Audit, Consulting Units

EY has halted their previously announced plan to separate its consulting and audit arms, Niket Nishant writes. The split, proposed in September, was intended to address concerns over conflicts of interest in accounting. However, EY’s U.S. Executive Board ultimately decided not to move forward. Read More


Bloomberg: Cano Health’s Former Directors Call for CEO Change, Asset Sales

Crystal Tse reports on the latest example of a former SPAC facing financial tumult; three former directors of Cano Health have penned a letter demanding that the healthcare company consider strategic options, with measures as drastic as an outright sale and hiring a new chief executive. Read More


CLS Blue Sky Blog: Cooley Discusses “Internal Control over Sustainability Reporting”

A new report from the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) could provide much-needed guidance to companies about sustainability reporting. COSO gives ways to establish internal processes to check data and prevent greenwashing. Cydney Posner from Columbia Law School discusses the key takeaways. Read More

Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: What Boards Should Know About Balancing ESG Critics and Key Stakeholders

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Maria Castañón Moats, Paul DeNicola, and Matt DiGuiseppe detail the importance of boards balancing the perspectives of ESG critics and key stakeholders by highlighting the need for boards to listen to diverse voices and engage in active dialogue with stakeholders. Read More

Blomberg Law: ESG’s Political Side Bubbles Up in Tense Proxy Season Debates

Clara Hudson of Bloomberg Law writes about the increasing politicization of ESG in proxy season debates. Hudson outlines how companies are facing challenges navigating ESG issues amidst differing perspectives among key stakeholders. Read More


GPPers are loving Ben Affleck’s latest directorial endeavor, AIR, which chronicles how in 1984—as their basketball division was floundering and on the brink of a drastic overhaul—Nike signed the-then-Adidas-loving Michael Jordan as the brand’s basketball ambassador. The film details the business side of the transaction and how the executives’ decision to take a risk on Jordan ultimately culminated in the creation of one of the most influential athletic brands of all time.


Spring has very much sprung here in NYC as temperatures soared into the mid-eighties (yes mid-eighties) this week. As the weather warms, the city’s boatstaurants have begun to open their doors for the spring/summer season. With unbeatable views of the city, make sure to check them out!


  • Pippa Stevens is set to become a full-time on-air reporter for CNBC. Read More

  • Diana Li is joining Bloomberg as a technology reporter, where she will focus on VC, AI, and travel apps. Read More

  • Citi’s co-head of global M&A Mark Shafir has announced his plans to retire. Read More
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