A pair of law school professors steeped in the academia of activist investors decided to play activists in real life, buying into a small NYSE-listed real estate company (Tejon Ranch, led by CEO Gregory Bielli) and agitating for change (such as a sale). They share what happened in The Atlantic.

One graph of particular note, regarding the longstanding public vs. private debate:

"Bielli said that the benefits of being public outweighed the costs. He had been at a private company and had worked under pressure from private-equity investors. Public markets, he said, enabled Tejon Ranch to operate under much less short-term pressure, and to take a longer-term perspective. We were flabbergasted: Many companies go private or stay private to avoid the short-term pressure that public markets can create. But the fact is, for companies the size of Tejon Ranch—and there are thousands of them, filling the portfolios of mutual funds and pension funds, even though most investors have never heard their name—Bielli is probably right."

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