How Does Activist Investing Impact Stocks?

Activist investing uses equity stakes in public companies to enact change. Here's how that can have an impact on stocks.

two wooden block people set up beside stacks of coins with wooden block and greater than symbol separating them
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Activist investing isn't a new concept. It has existed since the stock market crash of 1929, perhaps earlier. Not all activist investing campaigns have been successful, but they all have a similar goal: To increase shareholders' value and by extension, a stock's price.

Many point to Benjamin Graham's 1926 fight with Northern Pipeline as the beginning of the activist investing movement. Graham, a mentor to Warren Buffett, accumulated a major stake in the railroad company and worked with management to return excess cash to shareholders. 

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Will Ashworth
Contributing Writer,

Will has written professionally for investment and finance publications in both the U.S. and Canada since 2004. A native of Toronto, Canada, his sole objective is to help people become better and more informed investors. Fascinated by how companies make money, he's a keen student of business history. Married and now living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he's also got an interest in equity and debt crowdfunding.