Prominent corporate lawyer waves white flag on activist investors


Resistance, when it comes to activist investors, may indeed be futile.

Martin Lipton, the most prominent of the go-to lawyers companies hire when they come under attack from hedge funds, sent a memo to clients on Wednesday saying that he thinks more companies should think out about settling early, rather than taking up a fight with activists.

Lipton, whose firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz has represented more companies in battles against activists than any other, said that even when companies win, a long, drawn out proxy fight may prove more damaging than having to cede a board seat to an activist early on.

Lipton’s memo was a general directive on how companies should deal with activists. But it was written in response to the ongoing fight between DuPont and billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, who has been trying to force his way on to the chemical giant’s board. Earlier in…

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