As my S&P Capital IQ colleagues recently noted we have reached a golden age of investor activism. In the past five full years, activist engagements increased fourfold. The success of investor activism has helped these firms both attract more capital and deliver greater returns as their principals now regularly make news and headline events.
The S&P U.S. Activist Interest Index is designed to measure the performance of companies within the S&P U.S. BMI that have been targeted by an activist investor, as defined by S&P Capital IQ, within the last 24 months. The activist must have at least a 5% equity stake, determined through SEC Form 13D filings and the target company must have a minimum three-month average daily value traded of $20 million.
The index launched in April 2015 and as of July 2015 had 67 constituents. The index had 32% in consumer discretionary and 17% in industrials. Some consumer discretionary constituents included Interpublic Companies (IPG) and Crocs (CROX).
S&P Capital IQ does a quarterly review of the activities of the top-10 hedge funds that collectively manage $200 billion in assets. During the second quarter, the consumer discretionary sector experienced the second most buying activity. The $2.4 billion for the sector was behind only the $7.2 billion for the health care sector.
According to my S&P Capital IQ colleague Pavle Sabic, who published the Hedge Fund Tracker research, among the top 10 top purchases, four companies were in the consumer discretionary sector. They were JD.com (JD), Netflix (NFLX), Amazon.com (AMZN) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT). Meanwhile Rolls Royce (RYCEY) was the lone industrials sector constituent in the top 10.