Hedge fund activism in Japan: the limits of shareholder primacy

posted in: Simon Deakin | 1

Professor Simon Deakin, Assistant Director of the Centre for Business Research, is interviewed about his new book, Hedge Fund Activism in Japan: The Limits of Shareholder Primacy, co-authored by John Buchanan and Dominic Heesang Chai, and published by Cambridge University Press

“Whose interests should a company serve? Is it the property of shareholders, for them to do whatever they want with it, or does it have a wider social purpose? This question lies at the heart of an extraordinary battle waged in Japan in the early 2000s between, on one side, activist hedge funds, mostly coming from the US or the UK, and, on the other, a group of Japanese business executives … Like most Japanese executives, they saw the company as a community, a concept which, as Buchanan, Chai and Deakin explain in this well-researched and illuminating book, took root in Japan in the reconstruction years after 1945.”

Visit the FT’s Business Books website to read the full book review by Sir Geoffrey Owen, author of The Rise and Fall of Great Companies: Courtaulds and the Reshaping of the Man-made Fibres Industry and a former editor of the Financial Times.

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  1. Jason Booth

    I handled media relations surrounding Steel Partners Japan’s investments, and while it is true that Japan rejected most of the concepts put forth by the activist investors at that time, it is striking how today (2020) the Japanese pension funds and government and increasingly management are embracing shareholder activism in the recognition that stock market returns will help pay for the retirement of an aging population and make the economy more profitable in the long term.

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