Clorox, meet your activist investor

Bottles of Clorox bleach sit on a shelf at a grocery store.

JEREMY HOBSON: Clorox has a buyout offer on the table this morning that values that company at $10 billion.

The offer comes from billionaire Carl Icahn, as Marketplace's David Gura reports.


DAVID GURA: Icahn is worth billions, and he's used that wealth to shake things up at some big businesses -- like TWA, Texaco, and Yahoo!

DAMIEN PARK: He engages with the company, often times at the board level, and goes about trying to improve the value of those companies.

That's Damien Park. He advises firms on how to deal with activist investors. Park says this trend has grown over the last few years.

PARK: There's an enormous amount of cash on corporate balance sheets.

And that means investors like Icahn want companies to do specific things with that cash, like give money back to investors. Activist investors tend to buy between five and ten percent of a company's stock, then they go its board with demands. And that can create controversy.

PARK: The controversy is related to whether activists are seeking short-term gains versus long-term value improvements.

Park says these days, it's more common for them to stick around longer, helping to shape long-term strategy.

I'm David Gura, for Marketplace.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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