Over the past two decades, hedge fund activism has emerged as new form of corporate governance mechanism that brings about operational, financial and governance reforms to a corporation. Many prominent business executives and legal scholars are convinced that the entire American economy will suffer unless hedge fund activism with its perceived short-termism agenda is significantly restricted. Shareholder activists and their proponents claim they function as a disciplinary mechanism to monitor management and are instrumental in mitigating the agency conflict between managers and shareholders.
We find statistically meaningful empirical evidence to reject the anecdotal conventional wisdom that hedge fund activism is detrimental to the long term interests of companies and their long term shareholders.
Moreover, our findings suggest that hedge funds generate substantial long term value for target firms and its long term shareholders when they function as a shareholder advocate to monitor management through active board engagement.