Stibbe vows to offer corporate defence

The rise of shareholder activism has prompted Dutch corporate heavyweight and Herbert Smith ally Stibbe to launch a new corporate litigation group aimed at defending its clients against attack.

The Netherlands has witnessed a string of highprofile battles between major corporates and their shareholders recently, including publisher VNU against Knight-Vinke, KPN versus the activist group Sobi, and supermarket chain Ahold’s battle against US investment fund Paulson and the UK’s Centaurus Capital.

Stibbe’s managing partner Joost van Lanschot said that he considered shareholder activism to be one of the “key issues of the day”.

He stressed that the nature of Stibbe’s client base meant that most of the work in the new group would be for corporates as opposed to activist shareholders.