Date of Completion

Spring 4-28-2016

Thesis Advisor(s)

Christopher Wilkos

Honors Major



Finance and Financial Management


The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the current climate in the activist shareholder space, with a primary focus on activist hedge funds aiming to financially benefit from their endeavors. It begins with a written timeline of the history of activist investing throughout the twentieth century and follows with a transition into the current climate. The current landscape of activist investing is then discussed, which includes both criticisms and compliments. This analysis of the current landscape includes a case study of eight well-known hedge funds, some of which operate as pure activist funds while others contain both active and passive positions, and the performance of their activist positions. The paper concludes with an analysis on potential measures that could be taken to limit the negative effects of shareholder activism while still retaining the positive effects that shareholder activism can provide.