Last year, the number of domestic companies that were targeted by shareholder rights exercises, including activist funds and minority shareholder alliances, was found to be the fourth largest in the world.

Diligent Market Intelligence, a global corporate governance research company based in London, England, plans to publish an annual report in the middle of this month that compiles the shareholder activism campaigns that took place around the world last year.

Last year, a total of 91 shareholder activism campaigns were reported targeting 73 companies in Korea.

This is the fourth highest figure after the United States, Japan, and Canada.

It is known that cases such as activist fund Align Partners' bank stock campaign, DB Hitech, which was targeted by KCGI for shareholder activities, and Dayou, a KOSDAQ listed company that became the second largest shareholder after ordinary shareholders gathered voting rights, were reportedly included in the tally.

According to Insightia, a data analysis agency under Diligent Market Intelligence, Korea's activist campaigns have been rapidly increasing over the past year or two.

In 2020, only 10 companies were targeted by activism, but this number increased to 49 in 2022.

In a report on the impact of activist funds, Hwang Se-woon, a senior researcher at the Korea Capital Market Institute, cited the introduction of the Stewardship Code (principles of fiduciary responsibility) in 2016, the separate election of audit committee members in 2020, and the revision of the Commercial Act to limit the voting rights of the largest shareholder to 3%. It was pointed out that this had an impact on the increase in shareholder activism.

(Photo = Yonhap News)