On the anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine, our global Ukraine Taskforce took a look at the state of the war, outlining how the political positions of various countries will evolve and how the war continues to shape the developments in the energy sector and the global business environment.
There is no end to the war in sight. A war of attrition extending deep into 2023 and perhaps even beyond remains the mostly likely scenario moving forward.
Russia is betting that its far larger economy – despite the isolation and harm caused by Western sanctions – will generate the capabilities its military needs to ultimately overwhelm the far smaller Ukrainian forces.
The United States’ overall support for Ukraine remains strong, albeit complicated by shifts in its domestic political landscape. President Biden and members of his cabinet continue to express staunch support for President Zelenskyy and Ukraine. Forthcoming deliveries of expanded weaponry and other military support are intended to meet the country’s evolving needs in the face of continued Russian mobilization.
China will maintain its close relationship with Russia while attempting to improve relations with the West and claiming a neutral position in the war.
The swiftness with which many Western companies announced a withdrawal from Russia in 2022 underlined that purpose- and morals-based expectations towards companies have changed – for good. The war in Ukraine has accelerated a trend: Companies need to be more prepared than ever to communicate how their business activities and supply chains relate to larger societal conflicts and conversations.
Russia will remain marginalized from Western markets for as long as the war continues. Western sanctions will not be lifted any time soon and will likely remain in place indefinitely in sectors even indirectly related to Russia’s military. Even in sectors not deemed of concern for security reasons, rebuilding trust with Russia will take many years.
Find the full analysis here.
Last week, Third Point joined fellow activist hedge funds Elliott Management, Starboard Value, ValueAct Capital and Inclusive Capital who united to target Salesforce. While the business software maker is dominating headlines for the cadre of blue-chip activists piling into its stock, multiple activists swarming a company has become a growing trend, with the likes of Disney, Splunk, Bayer, Hasbro and Kohl’s all members of this unenviable club.
With the markets suffering from beaten down share prices, activists have proven themselves willing to take advantage of newly vulnerable large-cap companies, even if they have to share the stage with peers who may have different objectives.
The specter of multiple activists crowding at once – along with the emergence of Universal Proxy rules and the rising focus on ESG (both for and against) – is yet another reason companies must actively prepare to address the activist threat during the 2023 proxy season.
Contact the FGS Shareholder Activism Team to learn more at ShareholderActivism@fgsglobal.com.
Galvanized by the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, the European Union (EU) recently unveiled its own Green Deal Industrial Plan (GDIP).
The EU has come up with a four-point plan to prevent its ‘green’ businesses from being poached by the $369 billion U.S. subsidy bazooka:
Fast-tracking permitting procedures for construction projects in “net-zero industries” and in the mining and processing of raw materials;
Facilitating investments in renewable energy, industry decarbonization and production sites of “net-zero industries;”
Investing in skills needed in the “net-zero industries,” and
A more assertive trade policy focusing on new trade/cooperation agreements and active use of trade defense measures.
Will this do the trick? That depends on how understandable and usable this new plan will be for not only large companies but also small- and mid-size enterprises and scale-ups.
First, the GDIP needs to be approved by EU countries. This will take time given divergent opinions, especially on fiscal policy and free trade.
One thing is for certain – the GDIP will not offer a fresh batch of public money to the tune of the Inflation Reduction Act.
If you’re interested in learning more about the new EU plan and what it means for businesses, our European colleagues analyze the plan on our website.