As we enter a new age of shareholder activism, the dynamic between influential shareholders, corporate boards and institutional investors continues to evolve. Shareholders seek shorter-term returns and tighter spending from corporates, but also demand innovation, which oftentimes comes at a cost. Companies are faced with balancing short-termism with long-term returns and must be mindful of potential activist investors seeking to exert their influence in the boardroom.
Join The Deal and host Jim Cramer at an exclusive gathering of corporate executives, board members and fund managers to explore the evolving relationship between companies, activists, institutional investors and shareholders and examine what’s really going on in the boardroom.
PRE-CONFERENCE CORPORATE LEADER DINNER:
This private, intimate dinner facilitates networking and discussion between board directors and C-suite executives and the firms that serve them. Qualified registrants will be contacted about dinner attendance.
James J. Cramer is the host of “Mad Money with Jim Cramer”, Co-Anchor of “Squawk on The Street” at CNBC and founder of TheStreet, Inc.
James J. Cramer, Host, “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” & Co-Anchor, ‘Squawk on The Street”, CNBC; Founder, TheStreet, Inc. interviews Debra Cafaro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ventas, Inc.
Public companies are acutely aware of their public shareholder bases and can often spot activists amassing massive chunks of stock well before an insurgent comes knocking. What if an activist makes a hostile bid itself, or looks to break up an already agreed upon deal? More than ever we are seeing activists and institutional investors trying new tactics to increase the value of their assets. What happens when an activist, possibly with board representation, teams up with a private equity firm to try and buy a company? What are the newest and most creative tactic activists are using to influence change? What are the key considerations to think about in standstill agreements?
Panelist: Bruce Goldfarb, President and CEO, Okapi Partners
Panelist: Jeffrey Marell, Partner, Paul,Weiss
Panelist: Keith Meister, Chief Investment Officer, Corvex Management
Panelist: Sarah Teslik, Partner, Joele Frank
James J. Cramer, Host, “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” & Co-Anchor, “Squawk on The Street”, CNBC interviews Peter Feld, Managing Member, Portfolio Manager, Head of Research, Starboard Value.
More and more shareholders are seeking a say in the way corporations, approach environmental, social and governance issues. These issues, known as ESG, are often topics that an activist will latch on to as a driving force in their campaigns. How are activists using ESG issues to drive more diverse boards and better corporate oversight? What can company boards do to make sure their ESG policies are up to date and in-line with their most current shareholders’ and customers’ needs?
Moderator: Barbara Berlin, Director, Governance Insights Center, PwC
Panelist: Charles Penner, Partner, JANA Partners
Panelist: Kal Goldberg, Partner, Finsbury
Panelist: Rick Hansen, Corporate Secretary, Assistant General Counsel, General Motors Company
Panelist: Veena Ramani, Senior Program Director, Capital Market Systems, Ceres
Jim Cramer interviews Scott Barshay, Partner, Paul, Weiss.
Jim Cramer interviews Sally Smith, Retired, CEO Buffalo Wild Wings; Director, Hormel Foods, and Digi International. Sally Smith sat as the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings for 21 years, and built the restaurant chain into a sports-bar powerhouse, overseeing a ten-fold increase in the company’s stock since the they went public in 2003. Ms. Smith retired from the company after an activist hedge fund won a bitter proxy contest that put three of its directors on the restaurant’s board. In this interview, hear Ms. Smith discuss her experience of being targeted by an activist investor, and the lessons she learned from the process.
Many companies are going through some type of transformational change, whether it is digital, workforce or business strategy. Shareholders continue to demand innovation, which often times comes at a cost. There are concerns as to whether innovation is happening fast enough, the company can win the war on talent, and the right culture is in place. Adding to these challenges, large index funds are exerting influence and adding topics to the corporate governance agenda. This panel will look at the latest trends and hot topics hitting the boardroom.
Moderator: Paula Loop, Leader, Governance Insights Center, PwC
Panelist: Michelle Edkins, Global Head, BlackRock’s Investment Stewardship Team, Blackrock
Panelist: Laurie Hays, Managing Director, Special Situations/Financial Communications, Edelman
Panelist: David Henshall, CEO, Citrix
Panelist: Sheila Hooda, Board of Directors, Mutual of Omaha and Virtus Investment Partners
Panelist: Jared Landaw, General Counsel, Barington Capital
Expect to see new controversial regulations and restrictions emerging soon from the Securities and Exchange Commission for proxy advisers and shareholder proposals, that could reshape the world of activist investing. In addition, a consensus appears to be forming at the nation’s securities regulator on “universal proxy cards,” which, if approved, would have a wide-ranging impact on director-election proxy fights. This panel will explore the changing rules of the road, as well as proxy advisory conflicts and the extent to which institutional investors are “robo-voting” instead of making decisions on their own.
Panelist: James Copland, Senior Fellow Director, Legal Policy, Manhattan Institute
Panelist: Steven Williams, Partner, Paul, Weiss
Jim Cramer interviews Commissioner Robert J. Jackson Jr., U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Is it worth taking the fight to shareholders or are you better settling with an activist and working together behind closed doors? Should boards refresh themselves when faced with an activist or stand pat and fight their position? What’s the difference between bringing in an activist-backed outside candidate vs. an activist portfolio manager? This panel will examine what a board has to consider before settling with activist shareholders. Can you win a battle if taken to shareholders on a proxy?
Panelist: Tanuja Dehne, Independent Director, Granite Point Mortgage Trust Inc. and Advanced Disposal Services
Panelist: Steven Lipin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gladstone Place Partners
Panelist: Ted White, Co-Founder, Managing Director, Legion Partners Asset Management
Jim Cramer interviews Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal.
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Will the market start to see an increase in distressed M&A? While distressed transactions come with greater risks than “healthy” acquisitions, the benefits of lower costs and legal protections for the buyer could outweigh the risk.
ESG and Sustainability concerns are now playing a prominent role in how companies around the world operate, and how investors allocate their capital.