In a recent opinion addressing the enforcement of trading restrictions (“lock-ups”) that are commonly agreed in connection with a business combination transaction between a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”) and a target company (“de-SPAC transaction”), the Delaware Court of Chancery determined that the restrictions at issue did not apply to certain shares held by the

In September 2021, the Delaware Supreme Court in United Food and Commercial Workers Union v. Zuckerberg revamped the test for pleading “demand futility” in shareholder derivative suits for the first time in decades. At the same time, the court’s decision reinforces Delaware courts’ increasing focus on the independence of directors, not only when the board is sued in a shareholder derivative action but also in other conflict situations in which independent directors are called on to exercise their business judgment on behalf of the company.
Continue Reading The Delaware Courts’ Evolving View of Director Independence

In one of the first opinions addressing fiduciary duty claims in the context of a transaction involving a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), the Delaware Court of Chancery determined that the SPAC shareholders’ right to redeem can be undermined by insufficient disclosures regarding the transaction and allowed class-action claims to continue against a SPAC’s controlling

The Delaware Supreme Court recently affirmed the Court of Chancery’s 2020 decision in AB Stable VIII LLC v. MAPS Hotels & Resorts One LLC, which blessed a buyer’s termination of a merger agreement on grounds that the target breached its covenant to operate its business in the ordinary course between signing and closing.  In this closely watched appeal, the Delaware Supreme Court held that the ordinary course covenant in this case was breached because of the unprecedented steps the target hotel company took in response to COVID-19, even though the court found those steps to have been reasonable and consistent with the actions of others in the same industry.  This decision provides important guidance both in terms of how such covenants should be drafted but also how to deal with unprecedented crises between signing and closing.[1]
Continue Reading The Delaware Supreme Court Speaks on “Ordinary Course” Covenants

In Snow Phipps v. KCAKE Acquisition, the Delaware Court of Chancery ordered the buyer (Kohlberg) to close on its $550 million agreement to purchase DecoPac, a cake decorations supplier.  In doing so, the court easily rejected the buyer’s claims that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a material adverse effect (“MAE”) and that the steps

On February 26, 2021, the Delaware Court of Chancery (McCormick, V.C.) issued a memorandum opinion in The Williams Companies Stockholder Litigation enjoining a “poison pill” stockholder rights plan adopted by The Williams Companies, Inc. (“Williams”) in the wake of extreme stock price volatility driven by the double whammy of COVID-19 and the Russia-Saudi Arabia oil

Cleary Gottlieb’s “2020 Developments in Securities and M&A Litigation” discusses major developments from 2020 and highlights significant decisions and trends ahead.

In Liu v. SEC, the most notable securities decision of 2020, the Supreme Court cemented but limited the SEC’s authority to seek disgorgement as “equitable relief” for a securities law violation.

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2021”.

As the 25th anniversary of the seminal Delaware Court of Chancery decision In re Caremark Int’l Inc. Deriv. Litig. (Caremark) approaches, there has been a notable rise in the number

In In re Nine West LBO Securities Litigation, Case No. 20-2941 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 4, 2020), U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff denied a motion to dismiss claims brought by the Nine West liquidating trustee against former directors of Jones Group (the predecessor to Nine West) for breach of fiduciary duty and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty stemming from a 2014 going-private transaction with private equity sponsor Sycamore Group.  While it remains to be seen whether the defendant directors ultimately will be found liable for such claims, we highlight certain lessons learned and best practices that can be followed in light of the ruling.
Continue Reading Lessons Learned and Best Practices in LBO Transactions Following the Nine West Decision