The UK Government has recently announced that it will introduce mandatory climate-related financial reporting for the first time.[1]

The new rules are likely to have particular implications for UK public companies listed outside the UK (particularly on the NYSE or NASDAQ) or on AIM, large UK subsidiaries of multinational corporate groups and large portfolio companies of financial sponsors that have a UK topco structure, where the new rules may require them to grapple with climate-related financial reporting for the first time.
Continue Reading UK Introduces Mandatory Climate-Related Financial Reporting for Large Public and Private Companies

On November 3, 2021, the Division of Corporation Finance of the SEC (the “Staff”) issued Staff Legal Bulletin (“SLB”) No. 14L, which rescinds SLBs Nos. 14I, 14J and 14K, all of which provided guidance with respect to no-action letter requests that sought relief from the Staff to exclude shareholder proposals on the basis of Rule 14a-8(i)(7) and Rule 14a-8(i)(5).  SLB No. 14L also provides guidance on (i) certain technical exclusions, (ii) the use of graphics and images in proposals and (iii) the use of email between proponents and companies.
Continue Reading SEC Provides New Guidance on Shareholder Proposals – Likely To Limit Companies’ Ability To Exclude Environmental and Social Proposals

As we have covered previously, one of the most noticeable trends that has emerged in the current boom in UK public M&A activity[1] is the heightened level of target shareholder opposition to bids. This is manifesting itself in a number of ways, including through increased and novel “bumpitrage”[2] campaigns as well as through institutional investors becoming more vocal in expressing their discontent at proposed bids. There appears to be a general feeling among a number of the largest UK institutional investors that private equity are acquiring UK public companies “too cheaply”.
Continue Reading UK Bids: Take-Private Boom Sees Negotiating Power Shift from Target Boards to Shareholders

Bumpitrage in UK bids being implemented by scheme of arrangement. So-called “bumpitrage” refers to the intervention of a shareholder activist in a public bid to attempt to force the bidder into improving the terms of the bid. Most public bids in the UK market are implemented by scheme of arrangement. When it becomes effective, a

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

The focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters at public companies continues to grow despite, or perhaps in part because of, the COVID-19 pandemic. ESG continues to mean many things, including company considerations around sustainability, diversity, human capital, corporate purpose and governance. While best practices, disclosure requirements and ESG ratings are developing, boards should continue to prioritize ESG issues, particularly as they relate to long-term company strategy and risk.
Continue Reading Increased ESG Focus Shows No Signs of Slowing Down in 2021

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty, divisive politics and a historic social justice movement presented unprecedented challenges for boards. While the pandemic eliminated the concept of an in-person boardroom, as well as investor site visits, one-on-one meetings at conferences and strategy retreats, work did not slow, and most directors reported devoting significantly more time to their duties.
Continue Reading Shareholder Engagement Trends and Considerations