In a recent decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery grappled with the question whether—and to what extent—claims for breach of fiduciary duty can be waived ex ante in a corporate shareholder agreement. Specifically, in New Enterprise Associates 14 LP v. Rich, the court denied a motion to dismiss claims for breach of fiduciary duties brought against directors and controlling stockholders of Fugue, Inc. (the “Company”) by sophisticated private fund investors who had agreed to an express waiver of the right to bring such claims. Importantly, the court found that fiduciary duties in a corporation can be tailored by parties to a shareholders agreement who are sophisticated, and were validly waived by the voting agreement in this case (which specifically addressed the type of transaction at issue). The court, however, held that public policy prohibits contracts from insulating directors or controlling stockholders from tort or fiduciary liability in a case of intentional wrongdoing, which the court found was plausibly alleged in this case. The court’s opinion has implications for sophisticated investors in venture capital and other private transactions involving Delaware corporations. The opinion cautions against overreliance on express contractual waivers, on the one hand, while also serves as a reminder that at least in some circumstances sophisticated parties can contract around default legal principles (including fiduciary duties), even with respect to corporations.Continue Reading Delaware Chancery Court Highlights Tension Between Freedom of Contract and Corporate Fiduciary Duties
As the threat of an unprecedented default in U.S. government debt plays out over the coming months, the United States is in uncharted territory. Continue Reading Corporates Face Novel, Greater Risks from Debt Ceiling Impasse—Even if No Default Occurs
In a recent opinion addressing breaches of fiduciary duties and disclosure violations in connection with a take-private of Mindbody, Inc. by Vista Equity Partners, the Delaware Court of Chancery reinforced the significance (to both buyers and sellers) of avoiding conflicts in a sell-side process and ensuring all material facts are disclosed to the target’s board …
A number of U.S. public companies have recently found themselves in a surprising place: trapped in visible and charged debates with politicians over internal corporate and investment policies.
Continue Reading Public Companies and Politics: How to Co-Exist
Last week, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Department of the Treasury adopted a final rule (the “Final Rule”) to implement the beneficial ownership reporting requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act, part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.
This legislation requires a range of U.S. legal entities, and non-U.S. legal entities registered to…
On December 7, 2021, the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN) and the Free Democrats (FDP) concluded the coalition agreement for the 20th legislative period of the German Parliament (2021 until 2025), in which they announced, inter alia, their intention to amend the German corporate co-determination law and to extend the scope of application of the German One-Third Participation Act (Drittelbeteiligungsgesetz).
Continue Reading German Plans to Extend the Scope of Corporate Co-Determination Rights for Employees
On December 7, 2021, the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN) and the Free Democrats (FDP) concluded the coalition agreement for the 20th legislative period of the German Parliament (2021 until 2025), in which they announced, inter alia, their intention to implement changes to corporate co-determination law to prevent the current practice seeking to avoid the applicability of corporate co-determination rights for employees by changing the company’s legal form into an SE (Societas Europaea).
Continue Reading German Reform Plans regarding Corporate Co-Determination for an SE
The European Union’s Sustainable Financial Disclosure Regulation, in force since March 2021, was the first effort made globally to regulate transparency on ESG in the asset management industry.
Similar rules are now being adopted all across the globe. This alert memorandum provides an updated snapshot.
Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.
With effect as from January 1, 2023, the German Supply Chain Act dated July 16, 2021 (Gesetz über die unternehmerischen Sorgfaltspflichten in Lieferketten – Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz) will enter into force.
Undertakings of a particular size shall take responsibility for, and implement diligence standards with respect to, human rights-related and environmental risks in supply chains. An undertaking which is subject to the German Supply Chain Act, but not in compliance with the requirements stipulated thereunder, may face significant sanctions.
Continue Reading Germany Strengthens Corporate Social Responsibility in Supply Chains
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently published its Policy Statement on “Enhancing climate-related disclosures by standard listed companies”. This follows a consultation carried out by the FCA in June 2021. The FCA has decided to extend the climate-related disclosure requirements that currently apply to UK premium listed commercial companies to (1) issuers of standard listed shares and (2) issuers of Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) representing equity shares. We expect this to have particular implications for GDR issuers, which may be required to grapple with climate-related disclosure requirements for the first time as a result of the new rules.
Continue Reading UK’s FCA Extends Climate-related Disclosures to Standard Listed Issuers, Including GDR Issuers