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Be your own activist
Developing an activist mindset
Activist investors have been operating in Europe for some time, usually reserving their demands for countries with robust equity markets with sizeable large-cap segments. However, today, the tide is changing. Activists around the globe, including more and more European activists, are diversifying their targeting strategy, increasingly investing in mid- and micro-cap companies across many European markets. As activism becomes more accepted, it is changing into a type of shareholder behaviour rather than a tactic waged by specialised funds. As a result, markets that were previously off the radar, like Belgium, are seeing a spike in shareholder activism.
Due to the nature of the equity market, Belgian listed companies were sheltered from activism, and the rise of activism and its consequences were not top of mind. However, as activism becomes more common, Belgium has appeared on the activists’ radar more frequently.
We believe there are several reasons for this shift. Given the increased activity in recent years, the activism space has become more competitive, prompting investors to broaden their search to find attractive targets. Secondly, investing in smaller companies requires smaller capital outlay, which proves more attractive for investors who are looking to launch activist demands for the first time. Thirdly, by nature it is easier to increase the value of a €200m company than that of a €2b company, mitigating the high risk of return tied with large activist campaigns
The Deloitte Belgium Financial Advisory team worked out a report explaining:
- How relevant it is to the Belgian market?
- Practical insights into the activist approach and mindset
- How to be your own activist: A rigorous self‑assessment