The Financial Times recently reported on the difficulties facing activist investors in Japan. The article quotes Chris Hohn, founder of The Children's Investment Fund, discussing his experience:
“We called it a mission impossible to our investors when we took a stake in Japan Tobacco,” says Chris Hohn, head of The Children’s Investment Fund, one of the world’s biggest activists.
Although TCI’s JT bet has been a success – the stock has risen 140 per cent since they acquired it – it is “an exception to the rule,” according to Mr Hohn:
“Japan is not a good place for activist investors. Although there are a huge number of mismanaged companies that are cheap and should be taken over, the laws are catastrophic for activists.”...
“Culturally, there are very few people who are willing to think outside the box,” says Mr Hohn. “People who have tried to do activism in Japan have failed.”
Read the full FT article here.