New York — Activist investors like Nelson Peltz and Dan Loeb can send stock prices swinging the moment they disclose their positions. And lately they’ve been using their war chests to target some of the world’s biggest companies, including Procter & Gamble (P&G) and General Motors. Chris Cernich offers a bit of consolation for executives and directors who fear they’ll find themselves in the activists’ cross-hairs: it won’t get any worse. Corporate America has reached peak activism, according to Cernich, who scrutinised hundreds of activist clashes while leading a team of analysts at proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). The funds may have gotten bigger and bolder, but so have passive investors, which the activists need to vote for their proposals. "It’s not going to be the Wild West much longer," said Cernich, now a founding partner at Strategic Governance Advisors who plans to publish a paper on the topic this year. Many problems at companies are going to get reso...

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