These 10 retailers could be next on activist investors' hit list

Bulls shop for these retailers
Bulls shop for these retailers

From Kate Spade to the maker of Ugg boots, retailers over the past few months have been under the watchful eye of activist investors. Yet as massive shifts in the industry continue to accelerate, the attraction for activists is also likely just heating up.

With announced store closures in the first quarter already topping the entirety of 2016, a team of Credit Suisse analysts identified the retail companies they view most at risk of a takeover attempt by an activist investor.

Activists target companies whose shares they argue are undervalued, and identify actions that could push their stock higher.

By analyzing more than 1,000 past activist situations, Credit Suisse compiled a list of characteristics that the previously targeted companies had in common. They include negative earnings momentum, low growth expectations and a high cash position relative to their market value.

By screening 185 retailers against those criteria — and excluding companies where a single shareholder owns more than 20 percent of its outstanding stock — these are the 10 that Credit Suisse says are most likely to attract the attention of activists.