In a decision issued on Friday that will likely slow the recent spike in appraisal suits, the Delaware Court of Chancery held that the fair value of Clearwire Corp. was $2.13 per share—less than half the merger price of $5 per share.  See ACP Master, Ltd. et al. v. Sprint Corp., et al., C.A. No. 8508-VCL (Del. Ch. July 21, 2017) (“Clearwire”).  The decision by Vice Chancellor Laster also found that Sprint Nextel Corp. (“Sprint”), which owned slightly more than 50% of Clearwire’s voting stock at the time of the merger, did not breach its fiduciary duties in acquiring the Clearwire shares it did not already own because the merger was entirely fair to Clearwire’s minority stockholders. Continue Reading Chancery Finds Fair Value To Be Less Than Half Merger Price

On 7 July 2017, the UK Takeover Panel published Practice Statement No 31, which describes the way in which the Panel Executive normally interprets and applies certain aspects of the Takeover Code when a company wishes to seek bidders for itself, typically via an announcement of a formal sale process or a strategic review that may result in a sale. The publication of PS31 indicates that the Executive intends to be more prescriptive about the application of the Code to auctions conducted by the target company. The key rules of the Code affected by PS31 are Rule 2 (secrecy and announcements), Rule 21.2 (deal protection measures) and Rule 21.3 (equality of information between bidders).

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

The German M&A market holds its ground; despite falling transaction volumes, transaction values are on the rise. Q2/2017 sees Fresenius agree both the acquisition of U.S. competitor Akorn and that of Merck’s biosimilars business. John Deere acquires road construction equipment manufacturer Wirtgen. 1&1 Telecommunications and Drillisch are set to be brought under the umbrella of United Internet and German property group TLG presents WCM exchange offer. Continue Reading.

On June 15, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) entered an order (the “Order”) instituting cease-and-desist proceedings against the former CEO and CFO (the “Respondents”) of UTi Worldwide Inc. (the “Company”)[1]. The Respondents each agreed to pay a civil money penalty of $40,000 to settle the proceeding, which found that they caused the Company to violate Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), by failing to comply with the requirement of Regulation S-K Item 303 that it disclose “any known trends or uncertainties that will result in or that are reasonably likely to result in the registrant’s liquidity increasing or decreasing in any material way.”[2] Continue Reading Trend Disclosure Under S-K 303: How Far Does the Eye Have to See?

As passive investing via funds that track market indices continues to grow, the terrain where investors are fighting battles over governance reform is now expanding beyond contested stockholder meetings and into debates over the criteria for eligibility of issuers for inclusion in these indices.  Indeed, in this era of index fund investing, a company focused on the future trading price of its shares should be much more concerned about gaining entry into and maintaining eligibility for indices than whether there will be a withhold vote recommendation on the members of its governance committee.  If this direction continues to gain traction, we could end up with a market dominated by passive strategy investing where the current importance of familiarity with the hot button governance concerns of proxy advisory firms and institutional investors becomes subsidiary to understanding how to navigate new, governance-related eligibility requirements of major equity indices. Continue Reading Index Eligibility as Governance Battlefield: Why the System is Not Broken and We Can Live With Dual Class Issuers

In 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued ASU 2016-01, which adopts a new standard that will require companies to generally change the way they account for equity investments of less than 20%. Continue Reading Accounting for Minority Equity Investments: A Small Change with Significant Implications

Investors frequently negotiate for a redemption right to ensure at least some return on preferred stock investments in a “sideways situation”—where the target company is neither a huge success nor an abject failure.  Continuing a consistent theme in recent Delaware jurisprudence, the Delaware Court of Chancery declined to dismiss a complaint alleging directors breached their duty of loyalty in taking steps to satisfy an investor’s redemption request.

Continue Reading Between Contractual and Fiduciary Duties: ODN Holding and the Rights of Preferred Stockholders

When a corporation sells corporate assets to its (or an affiliate of its) controlling stockholder, Delaware courts generally will review that transaction under the exacting “entire fairness” standard.[1]  But what if the corporation’s minority stockholders are given the opportunity to participate along with the controlling stockholder in the purchase of the corporate assets pro rata to the extent of their stock ownership? Continue Reading Chancery Court Suggests that Rights Offerings May Limit Liability in Transactions with Controlling Stockholders

In one of its recent issues devoted to the 2017 Tulane Corporate Law Institute, The M&A Journal  included an article titled “A Sleepy Topic: The Return of Appraisal Rights.”

The article was based on the slides prepared by the members of a Tulane panel on appraisal rights moderated by Cleary Gottlieb partner Victor Lewkow and including The Honorable Andre G. Bouchard, Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery; David J. Margules from Ballard Spahr; Robert S. Saunders from Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom; and Eric M. Swedenburg from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Victor thanks them all.

Read the full article here.