HomeTrading NewsThese vulnerable major stocks could be activists’ next targets, according to Goldman

These vulnerable major stocks could be activists’ next targets, according to Goldman

Shareholder activism could continue its momentum this year, and a number of major companies could be popular targets, according to Goldman Sachs. “We expect shareholder activism to remain popular during 2023 as investors adapt to regulatory changes and managements navigate a macro backdrop characterized by heightened recession risk and flat equity market returns,” Goldman’s head of U.S. equity strategy David Kostin said in a note. The Wall Street firm analyzed 2,142 shareholder activism campaigns since 2006 and identified four metrics associated with an increased likelihood of becoming an activist target: Growth: Slower trailing sales growth Valuation: Lower trailing EV/sales multiple Profitability: Weaker trailing net margin Performance: Trailing 2-year underperformance “These four attributes represent potential sources of vulnerability that might prompt an activist attack,” Kostin said. “Sales growth has been the most important variable in determining an activist target, followed by EV/sales valuation.” Goldman screened the Russell 3000 index for companies that may be susceptible to a campaign by an activist investor. These firms have a market cap greater than $5 billion, at least one source of vulnerability, and have experienced at least 10 percentage points lower sales growth relative to the sector median during the trailing 12 months. Many of these companies have previously been targeted by activist campaigns. AT & T is one of the names that came up in Goldman’s screen. In 2019, the telecom giant was targeted by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management in one of its most ambitious investor campaigns. Elliott pressed AT & T to cut costs, make management changes and scale back expansion aspirations. E-commerce site eBay is also no stranger to activism. Starboard Value had launched two proxy fights at the company in recent years , pushing for a sale of eBay’s classifieds advertising business , among other initiatives. Bath & Body Works could experience more action from activists this year, according to Goldman’s screen. Recently, Dan Loeb said he may seek board changes at the retailer, raising alarms about its corporate governance. In the retail space, Goldman also predicts activists may target Best Buy , Burlington Stores and CarMax . – CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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