Title: The success of the activist investor Guy Wyser-Pratte in Continental Europe

Authors: Alexander Bassen; Dirk Schiereck; Philipp Schüler

Addresses: Department of Capital Markets and Management, University of Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 9, 20146 Hamburg, Germany; Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK ' Department of Corporate Finance, Darmstadt University of Technology, Hochschulstrasse 1, 64289 Darmstadt, Germany ' Brunswick Group GmbH, Thurn-und-Taxis-Platz 6, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Abstract: This paper analyses the investments of US activist investor Guy Wyser-Pratte in listed companies in Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland between the years 2001 and 2011. Wyser-Pratte is the best known single activist investor in Continental Europe whose investments have typically been followed intensively by the press. For the first time, this study examines the investment activities of a single activist investor with key focus on Continental Europe and complements the few existing studies on single activist investors and their focus on Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions. The results show that he approaches poor performing companies and that his investment activities increase the short- and long-term shareholder value. Key differentiator to existing research is the focus of Wyser-Pratte on improving the profitability of his target companies. This new insight can be interpreted as an indicator that value generation by shareholder activism works different in the institutional setting of Continental Europe.

Keywords: shareholder activism; investment; Wyser-Pratte; Continental Europe; improving profitability; poor performing companies; shareholder value; Europe.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2019.096637

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2019 Vol.11 No.1, pp.24 - 46

Received: 14 Jun 2016
Accepted: 24 Feb 2017

Published online: 07 Dec 2018 *

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