By Neil Wilson
In an age when such venerable names as Sears have been taken over by hedge fund managers like Eddie Lampert, the investing public in the United States has pretty much gotten used to the idea that hedge funds are now a major factor in the life of corporate America. But this is still not yet the case in Europe, where the battle over the future of the Dutch banking group ABN Amro has been making front-page news in the Financial Times and other journals.
In Europe, and especially in such markets as Germany, there is still a sense of shock and disbelief that local corporate giants appear to be suddenly at the mercy of a mysterious community of hedge funds. And there is undoubtedly an element of truth in such a perception.
The reality is, of course, more complex. Hedge funds, now armed with more assets and...