Analysis: Rise of shareholder activism gives bond investors headaches

When shareholder activist Carl Icahn turned up the heat on Apple in October, demanding a massive $150 billion share buyback, bond investor Bill Gross wasn’t having any of it. Gross, the co-chief investment officer of Pimco, which runs the world’s largest bond fun, took to Twitter, saying: “Icahn should leave Apple alone & spend more time like Bill Gates,” referring to the Microsoft chairman now famous for his philanthropic efforts. The aggressive brand of investor activism that irked Gross is starting to unnerve other bond investors. Activist targets such as Apple Inc (AAPL), Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK), Sotheby’s (BID) and Safeway Inc (SWY) have all seen stock prices rise this year, netting tidy rewards for their largest shareholders.

    

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