INTERVIEW: Expert Sees Activist Shareholders Going on Offensive

Economy

Tokyo, Aug. 3 (Jiji Press)--Activist shareholders are expected to go on an offensive in Japan going into next year, pushing companies to make changes to secure higher returns, Yo Ota, an expert on corporate legal affairs, said in a recent interview.

"Money that has nowhere to go has been falling into the hands of activist shareholders," Ota said, referring to massive stimulus infused by global central banks to combat the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Such shareholders are "expected to be extremely active between autumn this year and next year," said Ota, a partner at Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi.

A record 23 Japanese firms, including Toshiba Corp. <6502>, had received proposals from activist shareholders by the end of June, an increase from 16 companies a year before, according to consulting firm IR Japan Inc.

Ota warned that companies that have saw their stock prices plunge amid the pandemic should especially be wary of actions by activist shareholders.

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