In the hedge fund world, it's one thing to be a short seller. It's quite another, however, to be a short-selling activist — someone who publishes their short ideas in an effort to garner public support to bring down a company.
Some short activists endure long, very public campaigns, the attention-seeking nature of which can sometimes backfire. Still, there's a lot of money to be made, and even sometimes a fraud to be uncovered, when a short activist is right, according to a new database, Activist Shorts Research, which has aggregated publicly available data on the performance of short activist campaigns. In fact, Activist Shorts' first study found that following a short activist on an investment for a week after announcing their position produced an average 12.5% return for an investor.
Here's a look at the best and worst in the short activism game.
Top 5 short activists based on average campaign return. Remember, like golf, the more negative the number the better:
Alfred Little: -62.8% Return
Gotham City Research: -48.7%
Spruce Point Capital: -43.3%
Pershing Square: -42.8%
And the worst five according to Activist Shorts Research were...
Matt Berry: +19%
Anonymous Analytics: +19.5%
Richard Pearson: +22.2%
Greenlight Capital: +23.2%
Greenwich Research Group: +130.3%
Mariah Summers is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Summers reports on hospitality, travel and real estate.
Contact Mariah Summers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.