Activist Investors Turn Up Heat in Drive for Returns

CEOs beware: Surging stock prices have done little to placate activist investors.

Activists are launching campaigns at a record pace as the rise in passive investing pressures fund managers to find new ways to beat the market and letting the rabble-rousing investors into boardrooms becomes less taboo.

Activists spent $40 billion targeting 136 companies with market values of more than $500 million in the first half, according to a study released Thursday by Lazard. That’s the most since the investment bank started collecting the data in 2013, around when the current wave of activism began. Only 94 companies were the subject of new activist pushes by this time in 2017.