AirTalk for February 25, 2013

Activist shareholders try new tactics

Apple's World Wide Developers Conference Begins In San Francisco

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

CEO Tim Cook does not believe Apple should issue more preferred shares to shareholders.

Apple, PNC Financial Services Group and gun manufacturers are each under pressure from activist investors. David Einhorn wants Apple to pay out some of its $137-billion in cash to shareholders. A segment of PNC’s investors want the bank to review how its loans contribute to global warming. And in California, the country’s biggest public pension fund is selling its shares in firearms makers.

While the companies’ shareholders each want different things, the high-profile conflicts all highlight the powerful influence of shareholder rights. AirTalk examines the strategies of all the stakeholders and the history of investor activism.

How do shareholder rights coexist or conflict with corporate interests? Should corporate governance be “shareholder-centric” or “board-centric?”

Laura Berry, Executive Director, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Robert M. Daines, the Pritzker Professor of Law and Business and Co-Director, Rock Center on Corporate Governance at Stanford

Eric Talley, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Professor of Law; Director, Berkeley Center for Law, Business, and the Economy, UC Berkeley

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