Mason Morfit (ValueAct Capital): Lectures on Activist Investing ~ market folly

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mason Morfit (ValueAct Capital): Lectures on Activist Investing

Mason Morfit of ValueAct Capital gave three lectures on activist investing a few years ago with Abe Friedman at the Stanford School of Law.  They were a part of the Stanford Rock Center Series on Shareholder Activism: How it began and how it's reshaping today's investment landscape.

The entire videos are below, but here's some takeaways:

- The academic literature on activism only captures the tip of the iceberg of what really goes on behind the scenes

- Morfit and Friedman really push the idea that changes in corporate governance have increased the amount of activism.  They argue that the sector will continue to grow in the future.

- ValueAct did not have its current model of engagement worked out at the beginning in 2000.  Even they floundered around, finding their way.  Morfit's account of ValueAct's interaction with Martha Stewart (lecture 1) and Chiron and Acxiom is entertaining (lecture 3) as Morfit admits various errors.

- In lecture 2, Morfit talks about how a 32-year old can move a room full of experienced managers.  He says that ValueAct tries to bring information into the boardroom.  They've met with everyone in the industry, inside and out.  They've met with customers, suppliers, gone to trade shows, met all the CEOs, weeded through everyone's strategies, and listened to all the conference calls.  He says it's amazing what can happen when you give the board good information as they rarely have this info.

Mason Morfit Lectures on Activist Investing

Lecture 1: Activist Investing: Background, Impact and the Players

Lecture 2: Non-contested Situations in Activism

Lecture 3: Contested Situations: Proxy Fights, PR Wars and Activist Defense

For more on this hedge fund, we've posted ValueAct's recent portfolio activity here.

blog comments powered by Disqus