Shareholder activism

May 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

The idea of an activist shareholder has crept into my vocabulary recently. I blame NPR and road trips. Recent notable examples of shareholder activism include the recent resignation of Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson, and the many motions put forth at JPMorgan Chase, brought to light due to their recent $2,000,000,000 loss.

Let me point out, in both cases there isn’t much romance: Yahoo! seems to be having a proxy battle with an investor firm, and JP Morgan has been able to largely ignore any change. Business as usual.

At any rate, the idea is still neat. I’ve thought about it in the past, but have always held back because I only want to buy into a company I actually support. When the iPod was released, I considered buying into Apple, just to see what was happening, but I resisted because I was concerned with software patents (MP3), and it seemed that Apple was about to make a whole lot of money. I couldn’t have bought much, of course, but I didn’t want to get sucked into that, either. I enjoy being able to criticize from a point of integrity.

Also, I am bad at capitalism.

Anyhow, I’ve been thinking about this, in the case of Facebook. Like it or not, Facebook is a pattern of behavior with some purchase, and unfortunately has a lot of sway in how folks are introduced to communication technology. And at $100,000,000,000, depending on how that pie is sliced, there could be a lot opportunities for shareholder activism.

Post scriptum: $2,000,000,000 and $100,000,000,000. Try typing those out. Then type how much money you make in a year. Rich people sure are different.

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