Fall Season Offers Glimpses into 2015 (Oct. 2014)

As 2014 winds down, fall annual meetings are setting the stage for an active 2015 proxy season. During the second half of 2014, shareholder proponents continued honing key proposal topics, such as proxy access, while regrouping for next year’s campaigns on climate change and campaign finance. Hedge funds have also been undeterred—and winning investor backing—in launching wholesale ousters of underperforming boards, not to mention drawing attention to problematic features in corporate bylaws. Meanwhile, the robust M&A market is being shaken by a regulatory clampdown on tax-driven mergers, contributing to a record level of deal failures this year.