Big family stakes allow purveyors of high-end brands to hoard cash and tolerate second-rate governance. But Elliott’s Samsung campaign shows that entrenched owners are not immune. And minority shareholder rights make names like Prada more vulnerable than they look.

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- Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, activist investor Albert Frere's investment vehicle, became fashion group Burberry’s largest shareholder on Nov. 10.

- Activists’ bargaining power at companies with controlling shareholders is not always as limited as it appears, according to a 2016 paper by Kobi Kastiel, a fellow at Harvard Law School. Forces that facilitate activism include the right to nominate directors, the right to veto going-private transactions, and the use of litigation to put pressure on those in control, Kastiel concludes.

- For previous columns by the author, Reuters customers can click on


(Editing by Richard Beales and Martin Langfield)

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