Barbarians in the Boardroom Activist Investors and the battle for control of the world's most powerful companies

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-05-26
  • Publisher: FT Press
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Activist investors have sent shockwaves through corporations in recent years, personally targeting directors and executives at some of the world’s largest companies. No longer satisfied with operating on the fringes of business, they are now a firm fixture in the boardroom.


Up to a quarter of public companies could be targeted by activist campaigns in the coming years, with directors and executives at those corporations threatened with losing their jobs. The trend, which began in corporate America, has spread to the UK, Europe and Asia, taking in several high profile companies.


Barbarians in the Boardroom tells a compelling story of boardroom bust ups, dumped CEOs triumphant activists and pared back companies. It reveals real-life examples and interviews with executives and investors to explain why and how activist investors have managed to storm Wall Street and tear down City citadels. Owen Walker provides an insight into the way activists think, how they decide to target a company and how directors and executives could possibly work with them rather than against them.


‘A terrific book about the personalities, strategies, and tactics of high-profile activist investors. The stories are fascinating about the activist game plan and how it is changing…’

Robert J. Swieringa, Professor and Dean Emeritus, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University


‘Excellent overview of activist hedge funds - it tells readers how these funds brought about significant changes in corporate boardrooms.’ 

Robert C. Pozen. Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School, former Chair of MFS Investment Management


"A great guide to how activist investors work - essential for corporate directors, investors and anyone with a passing interest. Filled with insights into a number of the most high-profile personality clashes and boardroom battles."

Barry Parr, Co-Chair of Pension Trustees AMNT and Non-Exec Director of CrowdBnk Ltd


 “Barbarians in the Boardroom is an excellent forensic analysis of the new era of activist investing and the first to cover campaigns that have ousted S&P 500 boards, promoted giant mergers and permanently changed the roles played by boards of directors.”

Josh Black, Editor-in-Chief, Activist Insight


‘The rise of shareholders activists is one of the great capital market stories of the day. Packed with riveting tales from the activist battlefront, Owen Walker's book does it full justice.’ 

John Plender, Financial Times Columnist  



Author Biography

Owen Walker is an experienced, award-winning financial journalist, who has covered business and investment issues in the US, UK and continental Europe. Formerly a FT writer based in London, he is currently managing editor of Agenda, a Financial Times publication for US corporate directors (http://www.agendaweek.com/).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Who are activist investors?  

Chapter 2: What activists want and how they get it


The Battles

Chapter 3: Boardroom coup at Darden Restaurants

Chapter 4: The many sieges of Yahoo

Chapter 5: Allergan and the unorthodox alliance

Chapter 6: DuPont’s Pyrrhic victory


The Settlements

Chapter 7: Microsoft’s pivotal truce  

Chapter 8: Hewlett-Packard’s beleaguered board  

Chapter 9: Walgreens and the Boots Trojan horse   

Chapter 10: Alliance Trust’s eleventh-hour ceasefire  

Chapter 11: March of the activists

Chapter 12: Burden of expectation



Chapter 13: What happened next?



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