U.S. proxy solicitor Okapi forms alliance with Investor Update Ltd to expand abroad

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Okapi Partners, which counsels on proxy fights and mergers and acquisitions, is joining forces with UK-headquartered shareholder intelligence firm Investor Update Ltd to expand abroad, tapping a surge in shareholder activism campaigns in Europe.

New York-based Okapi said it hired Tony Quinn, who headed Investor Update’s proxy solicitation team in London, as a senior managing director, as the two firms forge a strategic partnership.

Patrick McHugh, Okapi’s co-founder, will lead the expansion and Alexandra Higgins, a managing director, will move to London to head the governance consulting practice there.

“Our partnership with Investor Update is indicative of our strong commitment to assist corporations and investors around the globe,” said Okapi chief executive Bruce Goldfarb.

The firm, founded in 2008, works with corporations and investors, including hedge funds and mutual funds, and the expansion is expected to also help it work more effectively in Asia, Goldfarb said.

During the first half of 2023, 41 campaigns were launched in Europe, marking a 41% rise from a year earlier, with Elliott Investment Management taking on Vantage Towers in Germany, ValueAct making an investment in Swedish company Spotify, Inclusive Capital Partners taking a stake in Dutch food and biochemicals company Corbion N.V. and Ancora pushing for changes in British company Avon Protection.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Lincoln Feast)