Shareholder Activism: Telecommunication Industry In Turkey

Öz Shareholders began to play an active role in diminishing the growing agency costs due to recentfinancial crisis, poor corporate governance and excessive executive compensations. They act asindividual and corporate forms in order to protect their investment and increase firm value.Nowadays, social activities of the past have changed to replace the general manager, overcome theduality problem, elect a board member other than the management candidates, vote for acquisitionor sale decisions, and dividend distribution. The ownership structure in Turkey is generally composedof families or individuals who do not act aggressively as the hedge funds in USA. The sales of Turkishcompanies’ shares to foreign shareholders, introduction of international investment funds in the localmarket, and electronic general meeting system introduced a few years ago contribute to shareholderactivism in Turkey. Shareholder struggles are witnessed only in the Turkish stock market which isquoted in the NYSE. In this study, the two publicly traded companies in the telecommunicationsector, namely Türk Telekom and Turkcell, are examined in terms of their financial situation, theacceptance rate of the propositions of the management in the general meetings, and the behaviorof their share prices. Shareholder activism is not seen in the Telekom, whereas there have beentrials and regulation changes for Turkcell. In terms of accounting-based data, Türk Telekom has alower operational profitability and current ratio as compared to Turkcell. It is concluded that thelevel of shareholder activism occurred in the general meetings does not affect the share prices. Bothcompanies’ shares moved in high correlation during the last three years. The share prices did not showabnormal patterns during the days following the general meetings. The reasons might be the growthof the telecommunication industry being above the national growth rate and the positive evaluationsof the shareholders’ decisions by the investors for the future of the firm.

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