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The Real Effects of Hedge Fund Activism: Productivity, Asset Allocation, and Labor Outcomes

Tue, 08 Sep 2015 07:16:00 GMT

This paper studies the long-term effect of hedge fund activism on firm productivity using plant-level information from the U.S. Census Bureau. A typical target firm improves production efficiency in the 3 years after intervention, with stronger improvements in business strategy-oriented interventions. Plants sold after intervention improve productivity significantly under new ownership, suggesting that capital redeployment is an important channel for value creation. Employees of target firms experience stagnation in work hours and wages despite an increase in labor productivity. Additional tests refute alternative explanations attributing the improvement to mean reversion, management's voluntary reforms, industry consolidation shocks, or activists' stock-picking abilities.