Shareholder activists are increasingly wooing pension funds and other institutional investors, according to a new report by FTI Consulting and Activist Insight.

“We have already seen these newfound partnerships play out in pairings of activists and pension funds in ValueAct’s collaboration with several large mutual fund companies to garner a board seat at Microsoft, as well as in the CalSTRS support of Trian’s nominees in its proxy battle with DuPont,” said the study.

Of the 24 activist funds surveyed, 70 percent said they plan to expand their partnerships with institutional investors.

“It appears some institutional investors are even providing the leads for activists investors, waving them into a stock they believe is in need of the activist’s help,” the report said.

As a whole, they said they are finding greater acceptance of the activist strategy from institutional investors to corporate boards to retail investors to sell-side analysts.

The report noted the activists have been noticeably more active, targeting more than 300 companies in the first half of the year compared to 142 for the entire 2010.