The year 2007 will go down in history as the year that mutual funds began to take a more active role in the decision making of companies whose shares they own. Reuters
reports that competition from hedge funds, as well as regulations that have made funds more accountable to their shareholders, are driving the trend.
Friday, ClearBridge Advisors, a unit of Legg Mason, gave Carl Icahn their backing in his bid to win a seat on the board of Motorola. Also, next week, Fidelity is expected to vote against a buyout offer for Clear Channel Communications in an effort to force management to change the management course at the company.
Other recent examples of activist behavior by funds include;
OppenheimerFunds teaming with several hedge funds to oust the board at Take-Two Interactive Software and T. Rowe Price's opposition to a leveraged-buyout attempt at Laureate Education.
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