Mississippi announces possible flag change due to protests :: Society :: RBC

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he was ready to change the state flag amid protests against racism in the United States. He wrote about this on Twitter.

“For several days, lawmakers cannot break the deadlock when discussing the new flag. The discussion on the 1894 flag is as controversial as the flag itself. It’s time to put an end to her. I’m ready to sign the bill if they send it to me on the weekend, ”Reeves wrote.

The Mississippi flag is the only state flag in the United States to display Confederate symbols – a blue cross with stars. The Confederate States (Southerners-slave owners) were opponents of the northerners in the Civil War of 1861-1865, one of the reasons for which was the policy of the non-proliferation of slavery in the country.

Travelers and Confederates: whose monuments are demolished in the USA and Europe

The governor made such a statement amid ongoing protests in the United States caused by the death of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. The man died in the hospital after being detained by a policeman who, for almost nine minutes, used a choke to him.

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The US authorities have not revealed a massive infection COVID-19 after protests :: Society :: RBC

The management of large cities warns that the situation may deteriorate in the beginning of next week

Photo: Ted S. Warren / AP

Medical authorities largest us cities recorded a spike in infections of the coronavirus after mass protests taking place in various States. According to The Wall Street Journal, to such conclusion the doctors came after the mass testing of participants in the demonstrations.

For example, in Minnesota, where thousands of people came out to protest after the murder of police officer George Floyd, the doctors examined more than 11 thousand people. It was found that the percentage infected among them was less than 1%. This information was confirmed by the head of the state Department of health Chris Ehresmann.

In new York, who also became one of the epicenters of the campaign Black lives matter mass testing revealed less than 3% of cases after the mass demonstrations. The number admitted to hospital in the city continued to decline. However, the mayor of new York bill de Blasio warned that this trend could be temporary, and really talk about the impact of mass protests on the incidence will be available only next week.

Pandemic coronavirus. The most current at 18 June

No recorded outbreaks of coronavirus in Chicago and Seattle, where protesters took control of Central part of the city.

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The deputy introduced to the Parliament a project to lift the ban on St. George ribbons :: Politics :: RBC

The deputy from the party “Opposition Platform – For Life” Nestor Shufrich introduced a bill to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the lifting of the ban on St. George ribbons. The document is published on the website of the Rada.

He proposed that the law “On Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses Regarding the Prohibition of Production and Propaganda of the St. George (Guard) Ribbon” be invalidated.

Poroshenko signed a law banning St. George’s ribbon in Ukraine

In June 2017, the then President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a law prohibiting the production and promotion of St. George ribbons in the country. Poroshenko said that they are a symbol of “aggression against Ukraine in 2014-2017,” and not World War II.

Public demonstration, use and wearing of this symbol or its image is punishable by a fine with confiscation of the ribbon or objects on which it is depicted, and for repeated violation – up to 15 days of arrest.

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In Austria, on May 1, the self-isolation regime will be canceled :: Society :: RBC

Rudolph Anschober

(Photo: Thomas Kronsteiner / Getty Images)

Restrictions on leaving home due to the threat of coronavirus in Austria will be lifted from May 1. This was stated by the Minister of Health of Austria Rudolf Anschober, reports APA.

The requirement to maintain a social distance of one meter between people in public space, he said, will remain in force, as will a ban on meetings for more than ten people. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer specified that an exception has been made for a funeral in which up to 30 people can take part. A separate legal base will be created for demonstrations and rallies, which will regulate the permitted number of participants.

The agency clarifies that restaurants in Germany will open from May 15, hotels – from May 29. It is expected that in a restaurant at the same table a maximum of four adults will be allowed, and also beyond that number, to their children. “Social distance” does not apply to cafe visitors, but staff will be required to wear masks.

Kurtz calls the virus Austria’s biggest challenge since World War II

Photo: Ronald Zak / AP

Emergency measures to combat the spread of coronavirus began to operate in the country on March 16. Residents were allowed to leave the house only in urgent cases, for example, to travel to work or buy groceries. Since March 17, the work of restaurants, children’s and sports grounds was suspended. Authorities also shut down most stores, except for grocery stores and pharmacies. Due to the threat of the coronavirus, Austria closed air links with France, Switzerland and Spain. Later, the ban extended to communications with Russia, Ukraine, Britain and the Netherlands.

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Around 1000 people gather in front of the Berlin Volksbühne – police in large action! – B.Z. Berlin

Around 1,000 people demonstrated against the corona restrictions in Berlin on Saturday – at times standing close together.

Police have cordoned off the area around the Volksbühne (Photo: AFP)
Police have cordoned off the area around the Volksbühne (Photo: AFP)

Many of them were faced with barriers that the police had set up around Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz because such rallies are currently not allowed and the police wanted to prevent the square from becoming too crowded.

The police repeatedly used loudspeakers to ask the participants to leave the site. Individuals were arrested. The crowd gradually dispersed in the afternoon.

Police officers lead a demonstrator during a rally (Photo: dpa)
Police officers lead a demonstrator during a rally (Photo: dpa)

The protesters were a mixture of different political currents. The organizer is a group called “Democratic Resistance”, which has held several similar rallies in the past few weeks, in which well-known right-wing populists also took part.

A protester wearing a face mask holds a protest poster in his hands (Photo: REUTERS)
A protester wearing a face mask holds a protest poster in his hands (Photo: REUTERS)

AfD politicians and conspiracy theorists were also among the demonstrators – but also a large number of people with no clearly recognizable political orientation. Some people sat on the floor meditating.


Read also

700 police officers deployed for Corona and demo at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Hundreds of people again at an illegal demo at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz


Demonstrations of this size are currently prohibited in Berlin to prevent the spread of the corona virus. An alliance of left groups has called for a counter protest. The police were deployed with almost 200 officers.

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Woidke asks Poland to open a border for commuters

Dietmar Woidke

Brandenburg’s Prime Minister appeals to the Polish government.

(Photo: dpa)

Potsdam, Frankfurt (Oder) Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) has asked Poland to relax the strict corona rules for commuters who work in Germany. “In my view, commuters should have the opportunity to get to their jobs on the other side of the border,” wrote Woidke, who coordinates German-Polish cooperation for the German government, to the Germany coordinator in Poland, Bartosz Grodecki.

He campaigned for pragmatic solutions if the restrictions were extended. The “Märkische Oderzeitung” from Frankfurt (Oder) reported on Saturday. The national conservative government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki closed the borders for foreigners in the middle of March in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Commuters must return to Poland for two weeks of domestic isolation after returning to Poland. According to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in southern and eastern Brandenburg, this affects more than 25,000 commuters in Brandenburg and Berlin. Brandenburg supports the commuters financially.

On Friday evening, protests against the border closure occurred on both sides of the German-Polish border. Around 300 people took to the streets in the neighboring town of Ggorlitz, Zgorzelec, the PAP news agency reported.

There were demonstrations in the border towns of Slubice near Frankfurt (Oder), Rosowek in West Pomerania and Gubin in Lower Lusatia, each with more than a hundred participants. According to the police, the protests were quiet.

“Think of a common economic region”

“The region is split in half, which makes life very difficult for many people in the border area,” said Marta Szuster, a spokeswoman for the protests in Rosowek to the news agency. According to police, around 50 people, including schoolchildren and commuters, demonstrated in Frankfurt (Oder) against the closure of the Polish border. This demonstration was also trouble-free.

Woidke wrote in the letter to Poland: “The German side understands the border controls that Poland has introduced. But we also have to keep in mind that the border cuts through a common economic region. ”

Last weekend, when the Germany coordinator was appointed in Warsaw, the head of government advertised that the partnership would not be damaged by the corona pandemic.

More: Since the corona crisis, calls for a strong state have been increasing. The Polish government is just about right. Other EU countries are reacting with caution.

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Why right-wing Americans see the virus as an attack on their freedom

Richmond The noise of dozens of horns fills the spring air. The car parade encircles the seat of government of the governor of Virginia at walking pace. Flags flutter in the sun from the side windows of the SUVs and from the loading areas of the pickup trucks. “Trump 2020” is on some. In between, you can always see a black rattlesnake on a yellow background: the symbol of the Tea Party – the libertarian protest movement that a few years ago ideologically shifted the Republican Party far to the right.

David Britt has set up a black folding armchair on the sidewalk and looks at the bustle. He is happy, “more than happy”, as he says himself. He would never have expected so many to respond to his call to protest the lockdown in Virginia’s capital, Richmond, against the corona-related restrictions on US public life.

Virginia, Wyoming, Ohio: People in around two dozen US states have been going against the corona restrictions for about two weeks. Most of the time, the protest against regional governments led by democratic governors is less against Republicans.

On the surface, there is a question that many citizens in Germany are asking themselves: How can you prevent the economic consequences of the pandemic from ultimately being worse than that of the epidemic itself? But underneath that, the old cultural struggle breaks out, which has divided the USA for around a quarter of a century: Right-wing despisers sense an attack on their freedom behind the lockdown.

With his goatee and melancholy eyes behind round glasses, Britt doesn’t look like the spokesman in an ideological argument. Only his shirt reveals that something is burning inside him. On the right side it is blue with white stars, on the left red-white-striped – Britt has the US flag on his body.

A bizarre parallel world is revealed

“Our only concern is that the people of Virginia can work again,” says the spokesman for the protest movement “Reopen Virginia”. He has no doubt that the corona virus is contagious. That’s why he called for a car demo so that no one gets too close during the protest.

In Richmond, an estimated 1,000 people followed Brit’s call on Wednesday. The atmosphere is peaceful, even happy, when the many drivers and the few demonstrators cheer each other on the sidewalk. A dozen police officers on mountain bikes are enough to keep things tidy.

Auto demonstration

In Richmond, Virginia, about 1,000 people took part in a protest while sitting in their cars.


(Photo: Reuters)

But under the carefree surface, a bizarre parallel world is revealed. Dominique Kostelac, who came to the demo with his three teenage children, speaks of the “corona dizziness”. “Covid 19 is a biological weapon that originated in Fort Detrick,” the architect and contractor is convinced.

The U.S. Army once researched biological weapons at the military base in the State of Maryland. The government is now using the fear of the virus to restrict citizens’ freedoms.

Even the elegant lady in black BMW X3, the latest model, is certain that the virus “escaped from a laboratory somewhere”. The convinced Republican would rather not read her name in the newspaper, she fears disadvantages for her husband, who gets “a nice pension” from the US Army.

Billy Healy, blue blazer over the Carhartt dungarees, argues with the case numbers: “A large proportion of the corona deaths occurred in New York and New Jesey. You can’t treat 48 states like these two now. ”He is a forest entrepreneur, Healy says. In his trade, he noticed the lockdown by the fact that the demand for timber fell.

Why is he wearing a button on his lapel that says “Save lives” during a demonstration against lockdown? “Oh,” Healy says, “I almost always wear it if I happen to meet a member of parliament.”

Against the lockdown, against restrictions on weapons law

Resentment about the lockdown is increasingly intermingling with everything that right-wing Americans have always hated, such as the gun restrictions that the Democratic governor of Virginia is currently trying to enforce.

For a few weeks, it seemed that Corona could help bridge ideological gaps in the United States. One would like to think that deaths and infection rates cannot be discussed on the basis of the usual left-right criteria.

In the Senate and House of Representatives, where Democrats and Republicans usually sit next to each other in celebrated hostility, the parliamentarians have now reached a record pace on four Corona aid packages. Suddenly the US has continued sick pay and generous unemployment benefits – both limited to the corona crisis, but at least.

Sure, Trump was still offensive against unpopular politicians, shameless boast and adventurous about-turns. But at the same time the president seemed to want to prove himself as a corona crisis manager. On the advice of his team of medical experts, Trump extended the White House’s corona recommendations until April 30.

The exit plan that Trump presented on April 16 also sounds unideological and reasonable: The White House provides clear medical criteria for when and what restrictions can be lifted. The decision and implementation then lies with the governors. On top of that, Trump is smart because he can shift any responsibility onto the states if the epidemic flares up again somewhere in the United States.

Trump resumes cultural struggle

But as soon as Trump had announced this exit plan, the president opened the new round of American cultural struggle on April 18 and attacked three democratic governors who, in his opinion, were not pushing ahead with the opening quickly enough. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN,” Trump tweeted in loud capital letters, “LIBERATE MINNESOTA”, and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA”.

To add in the case of Virginia: “… and protect your 2nd amendment. It is under threat. ”The second constitutional amendment guarantees US citizens the right to own firearms. A right that the man in camouflage clothing, who is demonstrating in Richmond with an assault rifle over his shoulder, apparently does not want to be taken for granted. “The punishment for betrayal is death,” says his poster.

The culture struggle is fueled by the fact that the devastation of the virus has so far been particularly evident where the majority of Democrats are at home: in the metropolitan areas along the east and west coast and in major cities such as Chicago, Detroit or New Orleans.

The republican-dominated rural regions of the south and mid-west have so far not noticed the epidemic. Of course, there are also good reasons for the corona restrictions there. The virus spreads more slowly in sparsely populated regions, but if it spreads, even the few hospitals are overwhelmed more quickly.

But in many parts of the United States, such horror scenarios look far away. When citizens in Wyoming’s capital Cheyenne demonstrated against the restrictions on Monday last week, one of the posters read: “Quarantine means restricting the free movement of sick people, tyranny means restricting the free movement of healthy people.”

African Americans particularly at risk

The split between city and country comes between ethnic groups. A handful of African-Americans, all wearing respiratory masks, are sitting at a stop in Richmond on Wednesday and are waiting in vain for the bus. It doesn’t get through because of the car parade. The protesters in the cars, on the other hand, are almost exclusively white and none of them wear a mask.

Covid-19 kills African Americans particularly frequently in the United States. In Chicago, for example, their share of the population is just under a third, and their share in the number of corona deaths in the city was a good two thirds at the beginning of April.

African Americans often work in high-risk jobs, such as supermarket salespeople, and are often dependent on buses and trains. For these people, the breathing mask is life insurance.

For the white demonstrators, it is the symbol of a policy that aims to make people compliant with the fear of the virus. In Richmond, 17-year-old Summer Kostelac reduces this attitude to the shortest possible denominator. “Covid-1984” is on the poster that the architect’s daughter holds up.

This conflict even runs through the middle of a city 800 kilometers southeast of Richmond. In Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp (white, Republican) pushes aside all medical concerns.

According to the politician, restaurants, as well as theaters, hairdressers, gyms and massage practices, will be allowed to reopen in Georgia on Monday – although the state by far does not meet the White House criteria for relaxing the restrictions.

The Mayor of the capital, Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms (black, democrat) considers this opening to be much too early. She received unexpected support from the White House on Wednesday evening. Even Donald Trump advised his republican party friend to take it a little slower when opening it: “It’s too early.”

A sentence that the demonstrators at Richmond do not like to hear.

More: Corona hero, miser or the new reckless? This is how the world looks at Germany.

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Why India’s workers are protesting the government

Bangkok They are not supposed to leave their homes, but the women in the Indian metropolis of Amritsar have an important message: Given the curfew in their country that has been going on for a month, they are running out of food. As a sign of protest, they put empty plates and pots in the air.

Most of the women belong to migrant worker families who are unable to earn money during the lockdown. To make ends meet, they rely primarily on the support of private benefactors.

Resistance to the situation is growing nationwide in India. It mainly comes from people who have difficulty earning enough money to eat and stay at normal times – and are now particularly suffering from strict anti-corona policies. They feel let down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and go on the barricades.

Leftist union leader Tapan Sen called for a nationwide protest against Modi’s policy last Tuesday. “We have heard enough from you,” he said to the Prime Minister. “Now listen to us!” He asked Modi.

Photos of the action, organized by Tapan’s Center of Indian Trade Unions, showed people in several cities stepping outside their homes with protest posters. “The government is idle and numb when it comes to workers’ suffering,” the union said in a statement.

Protests against the Indian government

Leftist union leader Tapan Sen called for a nationwide protest against Modi’s policy last Tuesday.

(Photo: AFP)

Since March 25, public life in India has been almost completely paralyzed. The country’s almost 1.4 billion inhabitants are only allowed to go out if they have a legitimate reason to do so – for example, buying food and medicine is allowed, and some businesses have recently been allowed to reopen. For the time being, Modi does not want to allow any more to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As of Friday, the country counted almost 25,000 cases.

Massive economic problems in the informal sector

It was clear from the start that the restrictions for the hundreds of millions of Indians working in the informal sector would lead to massive economic problems. The International Labor Organization (ILO) warned that 400 million workers in India could fall deeper into poverty due to the lack of earning opportunities.

With many reports of the low-income plight, Modi made a public apology for understanding the strict measures. But when he extended the curfew, which was originally scheduled to run for three weeks and was due to expire in mid-April, to early May, many people lost patience.

There were chaotic scenes at a train station in the financial metropolis of Mumbai: Thousands of workers, originally from other parts of the country, gathered and called for opportunities to return to their homeland. So far, these have not been granted – travel between the states is currently not permitted.

The government promises not to leave the workers alone. “We don’t want anyone to go hungry,” said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman when she launched a $ 23 billion aid package to help low-income earners.

But many people in need have so far been left empty-handed. In a survey by Indian media among thousands of migrant workers, more than 90 percent said they had received no food rations – and two thirds of them had less than the equivalent of 2.50 euros.

Observers warn of the social explosives in the situation: “There are many complaints,” commented economics professor Indira Hirway, who teaches in Modi’s homeland Gujarat. She believes: “If the government doesn’t change its policies, it could lead to unrest and tremendous misery.”

More: Poverty reduction in India is facing a severe setback. Read more here.

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Hong Kong police arrest prominent democracy activists

Jimmy Lai

The founder of the big Hong Kong newspaper “Apple Daily” was arrested on Saturday.

(Photo: dpa – Bildfunk +++)

Beijing In Hong Kong, the police have arrested around a dozen prominent figures in the democracy movement. Among them are the founder of the big Hong Kong newspaper “Apple Daily”, Jimmy Lai, the prominent lawyer Martin Lee, and the politicians and former MPs Albert Ho, Lee Cheuk Yan and Yeung Sum, as reported by local media on Saturday. During the course of Saturday, those arrested were released on bail – they are now waiting for their court dates.

Nevertheless, this is a violent blow to the protest movement that campaigns for free elections in Hong Kong and against the growing influence of the Chinese government. Hong Kong has been governed autonomously since it was returned to China in 1997, and unlike in mainland China, citizens have freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

However, many see these special rights at risk and last month, thousands and hundreds of thousands took to the streets regularly for months. Protests have flattened since the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post, the now arrested democracy activists are accused of having organized and attended illegal gatherings last month during the months of protests in Hong Kong.

According to the report, the police also arrested well-known activists such as “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Au Nok Hin, Avery Ng and Raphael Wong during the concert. Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-Wai said the arrests were intended to silence dissenting opinions. He also promised that the Pan-Democrats would resist and fight back.

“Long hair”

Leung Kwok-hung (with microphone) speaks at a rally.

(Photo: Reuters, Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes)

Some of the democracy activists like Albert Ho are well known in Hong Kong and beyond. In Hong Kong, 81-year-old Martin Lee is also called “grandfather” or “father of democracy”. The lawyer has been campaigning for democracy for decades and worked on the “Basic Law”, a kind of constitution that the Special Administrative Region received when it was returned to China by the colonial power of Great Britain on July 1, 1997.

Jimmy Lai is the founder and publisher of the Beijing-critical Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, currently one of the most read newspapers in the financial metropolis. Lai was arrested in Hong Kong at the end of February for similar allegations, but was then released on bail.

The 71-year-old multimillionaire was not only involved in the umbrella protests in 2014, but also in the current protests against the Hong Kong government that have been going on since June.

More: The fronts in Hong Kong are hardened and it doesn’t look like China is going to give in – a comment.

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Corona virus crisis: hedge funds sense their opportunity

Frankfurt In the corona crisis, stocks on the stock exchanges got under the wheels within a few days, book values ​​in the trillions vanished into thin air. The price losses hurt the majority of investors, but there are also players on the financial markets who benefit from such crashes.

For activist investors who buy minority shares and thereby interfere in the business policies of the corporations, experts believe that there are now fantastic opportunities. “The strong price declines in recent weeks will put companies under even greater pressure in 2020.

The activists are now seeing new opportunities in Germany, and we are likely to see numerous new campaigns in the coming months, ”says Philipp Jostarndt, partner at the consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and co-author of a new study on the topic. He believes that against the backdrop of the economic downturn, activist investors will demand clearer cuts, for example in the spin-off of parts of the group. “The argument of concentrating on the core areas is not invalidated by the corona virus crisis. This means that a return of the conglomerates is not automatically necessary, ”says the BCG expert.

Conglomerates have several business areas, but today investors mostly demand to focus on one segment. A good example is that SiemensCorporation, which also separated from medical technology under the impression of the activists and wants to become independent of its energy sector “Gas and Power” this year. The car maker Volkswagen launched its commercial vehicle division separately and Continental plans to separate the drive technology with the company name Vitesco this year.

“Activists often realize the best returns, especially with campaigns related to M&A, such as the sale of a business area,” says Patrick Czornik, head of Germany at JP Morgan for business with mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Experience has shown that they were involved for six to nine months before getting out again.

A total of 187 companies were part of campaigns by activists worldwide last year, around $ 42 billion were invested, a decrease from 2017/18 to around $ 60 billion each. According to an analysis by the investment bank Lazard, the campaigns in Europe fell to 48 cases, compared to 57 attacks in 2018. One reason was the decline in advances in Great Britain, where there had been a downward trend due to Brexit – the exit from the European Union. However, high ratings also caused the activists to wait and see – but that is likely to change again this year. The sharp price corrections have also made it cheaper to buy minority packages, which should encourage activists.

Targeting conglomerates

BCG manager Jostarndt believes that there are companies in Germany that offer a lot of scope for attack – for example, through poor governance, for example when appointing and remunerating board members, or through transparency in investor communication. “Germany is one of the most attractive countries for activists, even if the role of the unions, which is unusual for Anglo-Saxons, takes getting used to and co-determination makes advances more difficult,” says Richard Thomas, head of the “European Shareholder Advisory” at the investment bank Lazard.

The activists increasingly sought simple situations, as it would be easier to find solutions that would add value. “This often includes the sale of parts of the company. Here the dangers of a setback are smaller and the deals can be pulled through quite quickly.

graphic

As a result, the share of deals as a whole rose to almost 50 percent last year, ”explains Lazard manager Thomas. Internally, there are lists of candidates in the drawers of investment banks that can be interesting for activists. An insider tells the Handelsblatt that the fashion company Hugo Boss and the travel company Tui could be worthwhile destinations as well Rheinmetall and the agricultural and building materials group BayWa.

The active activists in Europe include, for example, Elliott Management, Cevian Capital, Third Point and Artisan Partners. For example, Cerberus’ entry into the German bank or from Elliott at Scout24, the hedge fund Petrus Advisers invested in the Comdirect Bank and the Aareal Bank.

Elliott’s participation in the SAP software group caused a sensation last year. After discussing the future strategy, the CEO announced his retirement and announced a share buyback. Investment bankers say that because the activists in North America can hardly find targets for their attacks, their focus is increasingly on Europe and Germany.

Germany offers a lot of target

The activists mostly look for fundamentally undervalued companies that generate a lower return than their competitors, so their share price and dividend cannot keep up with the comparison group. According to the BCG analysis, of the 336 largest listed companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 101 are extremely or very attractive investment targets, whereby banks, insurance companies and real estate companies were not taken into account.

About two thirds of the companies are based in Germany, mainly in the MDax and SDax. And the activists are more and more in line with the classic asset managers and fund companies who hope that the paper will perform better.

“More and more long-term shareholders are working with activists. They are under pressure to earn and have a toolbox similar to that of the activists to get better performance. This is necessary because the index funds for investors have developed into a good, inexpensive alternative to conventional funds, ”says Lazard expert Thomas. “Existing institutional investors are partly activists. In many cases, they themselves are not satisfied with the development of the company’s courses and see the activists’ push as an opportunity to get the courses on their feet, ”JP Morgan’s Czornik observed.

With the sharp price drops of the past trading days on the stock exchanges and the impending recession, shareholders will hardly stand up against an activist’s entry – after all, there are usually significant price gains. “As a rule, stock prices rise when the entry of an activist investor becomes known.

These announcement effects show that many investors and shareholders are positive about activist engagement, ”says BCG’s Jostarndt. Activists can also be positive for the management of companies. Thomas von Lazard knows that it can be the catalyst to implement changes against internal resistance.

Activists discover ESG criteria

And on the horizon there are already new challenges that have little to do with the return on business. As in the USA, ESG criteria for campaigns could also be used more in Europe and Germany. The abbreviation stands for Environmental, Social and Governance – i.e. environmental issues, social criteria and good corporate governance.

The energy company BP and the Nordea Bank has already met the activists of a new type in Europe. They called for climate goals and equality between men and women at all company levels. And the corona crisis is becoming a challenge for board members and supervisory boards in a completely different place. At shareholder meetings with low attendance numbers, the weight of voting rights on the part of the activists increases.

The phenomenon of activist shareholders should not be temporary, however, because Elliott & Co’s returns are very high. According to Lazard, the average return last year was between 30 and 40 percent. At the same time, the threshold for new funds is very low, as institutional investors are looking for alternative investments. In any case, the board members are alarmed and practice “do-it-yourself activism”. They play through hedge fund and activist initiatives on their own initiative and tap the company on weak points.

The BCG managers advise the companies to prepare well because the campaigns of the activists have been planned in advance. In 2018, an campaign only took around 100 days on average, whereas ten years ago, it was just over 140 days. The response time has been shortened significantly. In a 48-hour timetable, BCG advises, for example, to actively approach the new investor and to signal willingness to cooperate in order to prevent a public escalation.

More: Hedge funds benefit from the corona Japanese on the stock markets

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