How do firms alter their strategic actions when targeted by different types of activist shareholders? We argue that hedge fund activists threaten firms in ways that lead them to conserve resources and to scale back and simplify their strategic actions, which refer to long-run competitive actions requiring substantial investment. By comparison, corporate shareholder activists bestow firms with new resources and freedoms that increase their flexibility to expand and complexify their strategic actions. Using a matched sample and difference-in-differences methodology, we find support for our theory: Firms targeted by hedge fund activists decrease the intensity and complexity of their strategic actions, while firms targeted by corporate shareholder activists increase the intensity and complexity of those actions. Our study contributes to research on shareholder governance and competitive dynamics by highlighting the differential effects of activist shareholders on targeted firms’ strategic actions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Strategy and Management