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Activist Hedge Funds Aren’t Good for Companies or Investors, So Why Do They Exist?

Activist hedge funds have become capital market and financial media darlings. The Economist famously called them “capitalism’s unlikely heroes” in a cover story, and the FT published an article saying we “should welcome” them.

But they are utterly reviled by CEOs. And at best, their performance is ambiguous.

The most comprehensive study of activist hedge fund performance that I have read is by Yvan Allaire at the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations in Montreal, which studies hedge fund campaigns against U.S. companies for an eight-year period (2005–2013).

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