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Investors Say Activist Shareholders Have The Upper Hand Against Companies In Effectively Leveraging Social Media To Gain Support

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN), the global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance their enterprise value, today announced the preliminary results of the firm's new Digital Engagement Study among institutional investors on the use and impact of digital and social media, as conducted by the firm's Strategic Communications segment. The preliminary findings from the study underscore the proliferation of digital and social engagement by investors, shareholder activists and financial media alike and an ill-defined digital defense strategy among organizations' investor relations (IR) and corporate communications entities.

As the financial community becomes increasingly reliant upon digital communications channels, financial and corporate communications teams are being challenged to engage a cross section of audiences on shared social media platforms. Among financial audiences, IR departments commonly do not have an active role in the company's daily social media management while corporate communications functions, which typically oversee these social channels, are being forced to make real-time decisions about financial matters typically outside of their remit.

"It is clear to us that activist investors have staked out a new battleground from which to attack corporate America," said Elizabeth Saunders, Senior Managing Director and Americas Chairman of the Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting. " Carl Icahn may have been the first mover, but our study confirms that, going forward, we can expect more activists to exploit this gap in corporate defenses. This is a wake-up call to companies that IR and corporate communications teams can no longer operate as independent silos -- particularly in the case of social media, through which information and opinions are so rapidly generated."

The FTI Consulting study found that 80 percent of investors believe shareholder activists will increasingly leverage social media to target companies. However, only 11 percent are confident that companies are adequately prepared to defend themselves on social media platforms.

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