1. In Italy, Activist Investors Find a Happy Hunting Ground

    In Italy, Activist Investors Find a Happy Hunting Ground

    MILAN (Reuters) - When U.S. activist investor Elliott Advisers laid siege to Italy's dominant phone company this month, a shiver went through the country's corporate sector. Once a genteel club that resolved its problems in quiet, behind closed doors, corporate Italy is increasingly becoming prey for activist shareholders...

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    1. The Italian market seems to have become ripe for activism, especially in the last three years.
    2. The shareholder structure of Italian companies has become less concentrated: when the financial crisis started to hamper banks' lending, controlling shareholders were forced to place part of their stakes with institutional investors.
    3. They are now in the position to back the proposals of other shareholders, including those of activist investors, if they create value for all stakeholders.
    4. Political risk is something activist funds are learning to deal with after Knight Vinke's mixed experience with Eni.
    5. Italy is second in the list after the U.S. because it has a decent absolute number of engagements but a relatively low number of publicly traded firms.
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