Americans activist investors have targeted Procter & Gamble, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, Burger King, PepsiCo, Netflix, and even the once-venerable General Electric. Differing from the stereotypical scavenging hawks of the 1980s, today’s activist investors often aspire to enhance boards of many companies instead of stripping companies of assets. They work with other shareholders. From Nicholas Carlson’s Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!,

An activist investor takes a big stake in a public company and then approaches management with advice on how they could do better. If management doesn’t listen, the investor takes his message to the company’s other shareholders and tries to persuade them to elect new directors to the company’s board, who could then hire new management.

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