But are Highfields, Atticus and others now the good corporate citizens?
In the wake of Highfields Capital's brazen bid to take over Circuit City last month, the rest of the investing world seems to have woken up to hedge funds' fast-increasing involvement - and clout - in corporate activist investing. Business Week has even dubbed hedge funds the "new raiders," suggesting they are taking up the mantle of the 1980s buyout legends.
But, in reality, the trend is both more benign and more profound, and it is turning the traditional image of the hedge fund industry on its head. Once viewed as a short-term oriented, passive and potentially value-destroying force, hedge funds can increasingly claim to be long-term, value-building corporate citizens. Arguably, this is part of a broader trend that is seeing once-renegade hedge funds gradually converge in style and substance with the rest of the investment community.
To prove the point,...