On Wednesday, Reuters hosted a Newsmaker event on the future of shareholder activism, with featured speaker Jeffrey Ubben, Founder and CEO of ValueAct Capital, along with Paul Hilal, founder and CEO of Mantle Ridge LP; Zach Oleksiuk, Director, Head of Americas Investment Stewardship, BlackRock; and Richard Brand, Partner at Cadwalader. At a time of political transition and regulatory overhaul, the Newsmaker explored the future of activism and the opportunities and pitfalls ahead.
Among the highlights, Ubben said that his firm had been taking money out of the capital markets as valuations have become overextended, leaving it with $3 billion in cash. ”I really feel that the large-cap activist plays are very treacherous with high PEs (price-to-earnings) and not a lot of growth.” Ubben also weighed in on the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, saying “everything about Trump I think is inflationary” while citing policies like a potential border tax. But he added that the looming increase in interest rates were more of a concern as a board member. Ubben said he got “super lucky” with the Trump administration’s proposed financial deregulation measures, which caused bank shares - including current ValueAct holding Morgan Stanley - to spike. He said he sold some shares in Morgan Stanley following its price increase.
Watch the full Reuters Newsmaker here
Heather dot Carpenter at thomsonreuters dot com
[Reuters PR Blog Post]