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The year in review: Fasken Martineau releases 2016 Update to its Canadian Proxy Contest Study

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Management had its strongest results yet

Toronto (Canada) — Fasken Martineau, a leading international business law and litigation firm, today released the 2016 Update to its ground-breaking Canadian Proxy Contest Study released in 2013. The update was co-authored by Aaron Atkinson and Bradley Freelan, Toronto-based M&A partners at Fasken Martineau who have extensive experience in contested transactions.

The 2016 update includes valuable insights into trends witnessed during 2015, including:

1. The number of contests continued to decline: 2015 had the lowest number of contests since 2006.
2. Dissidents increasingly chose to solicit using the public broadcast exemption without a formal proxy circular.
3. Management had its strongest results yet, winning 78% of formal board-related contests and 60% broadcast-only board-related contests.
4. Dissidents focused their sights on micro-cap issuers.
5. Institutional investors did not fare well; the only success came from dissidents in the management/founder category.

“It is interesting to note that the number of formal contests continued to decline at the same time that management continued its winning ways. We may be witnessing a virtuous cycle whereby management’s increased strength in these contests is discouraging dissidents from waging a public battle,” said Aaron Atkinson.

“We also know that, anecdotally, activist activity remained relatively high so it may also be the case that management is better judging when to settle and when a public fight is worth the effort. Looking ahead to the coming proxy season, we note that both the TSX the TSXV were in negative territory for 2015 which might suggest that there is fertile ground for continued activist activity in the year ahead,” added Brad Freelan.

Fasken Martineau’s study of proxy contests completed in Canada provides a profile of those initiating and those targeted by proxy contests, their relative success in disrupting or maintaining the status quo, and key tactical decisions that may have impacted outcomes.

To learn more, download a copy of the Canadian Proxy Contest Study - 2016 Update, the original 2013 Canadian Proxy Contest Study, the Canadian Proxy Contest Study - 2014 Update or the Canadian Proxy Contest Study - 2015 Update.

Journalists interested in scheduling interviews with the report’s authors should contact Geneviève Chalifour at, or +1 514 871 5987.

About Fasken Martineau

Fasken Martineau is a leading international business law and litigation firm. With more than 700 lawyers, the firm has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec City, London and Johannesburg. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at


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