NYSE Announces Deal to Protect Corporations From Activists

by Will Potter on January 3, 2007

in Terrorism Court Cases

It looks like the scare-mongering ad campaigns and “terrorist” rhetoric have worked: Life Sciences Research Inc. has negotiated a deal with the New York Stock Exchange where the controversial animal testing company will be listed on the exchange’s new, anonymous, all-electronic trading platform called Arca– a move intended to hide public business operations from pesky activists.

LSRI was delisted from the stock exchange because of the company’s abysmal financial standing and continued campaigning by activists (some activists that campaigned on the same issue are now in prison after being convicted of “animal enterprise terrorism” for running a website). Industry groups didn’t take too kindly to that, and placed anonymous, full-page ads in the New York Times and Washington Post proclaiming “extremists hold Wall Street hostage.”

Not surprisingly, corporations are happy that the “eco-terrorism” rhetoric paid off (for now at least). From Shaun Waterman at UPI:

“We’re thrilled,” company Chief Financial Officer Richard Michaelson said. “It is a totally anonymous trading environment,” he said. “In our situation, that is a big advantage.”

I was quoted in response:

Will Potter, an animal rights sympathizer and freelance journalist, said targeting the market-makers — financial middlemen who promise to buy a company’s shares at the prevailing price and make real-time trading possible on the pre-electronic Big Board — had been a big step forward for activists and had enabled them to stop the planned listing.

“That was what got the [animal research] industry really freaked out,” Mr. Potter said. “Once the activists started to understand how important the market-makers were … how the stock market actually worked … it was a real turning point.”

Campaigners also targeted businesses that provided financial, technical and other services to Life Sciences Research and threatened protests of the NYSE.

“That business savvy is the greatest threat they pose,” Mr. Potter said of the animal rights movement, adding that the anonymity Arca provided would close off some of those options.

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