News & Analysis as of

SEC Reverses Course on Proxy Exclusions for Certain Shareholder Proposals

Much is being made of the January 16th statement by SEC Chair Mary Jo White regarding a company’s ability to exclude a shareholder proposal from its proxy statement based on Rule 14a-8(i)(9), which allows exclusion when a...more

In re Family Dollar Stores, Inc.: No Revlon Duty to Seek Better Terms From Competing Bidder

Last month, in In re: Family Dollar Stores, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, a Delaware Chancery judge rejected the efforts of certain shareholders of Family Dollar Stores, Inc., to prevent Family Tree’s shareholders from voting...more

The SEC’s Rule 14a-8 Process Just Became Even More Pointlessly Outré

Yesterday, Broc Romanek posted on SEC Chair Mary Jo White’s Friday surprise with respect the no-action letter request submitted by Whole Foods Market, Inc. Readers may recall that in December Whole Foods had obtained the...more

When a Minority Stockholder May Be Deemed a Controller

In just the past three months, the Delaware Court of Chancery has issued four opinions (In re KKR Financial Holdings LLC Shareholder Litigation, Consol. C.A. No. 9210-CB; In re Crimson Exploration Stockholder Litigation, C.A....more

Del. Justices Reverse Injunction Halting Sale of Control Transaction

When a Delaware corporation engages in a sale of control transaction, its board's obligation is to obtain the highest value reasonably attainable. This obligation, often referred to as Revlon duties, may be fulfilled as long...more

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That Revlon Does Not Require An Active Market Check, Reverses Lower Court Order Preliminarily...

On December 19, 2014, the Supreme Court of Delaware reversed the Delaware Court of Chancery's November decision to preliminarily enjoin for 30 days a vote by C&J Energy Services stockholders on a merger with Nabors Red Lion...more

Blog: Whole Foods proxy access saga continues

In her NYT column this past Sunday, Gretchen Morgenson provides an interesting update on the saga of James McRitchie’s proxy access proposal submitted to Whole Foods....more

Delaware Supreme Court Reverses Injunction Requiring Thirty Day Go-Shop

In a recent decision, the Delaware Supreme Court reversed the Court of Chancery's entry of a preliminary injunction that enjoined C&J Energy Services, Inc. ("C&J") from holding a stockholder vote on its proposed merger with...more

De Commissaris - December 2014

'De Commissaris' aims to provide insights into Corporate Governance and related subjects. In round tables and interviews, commissioners, directors and experts share their vision. Contents of Issue 26, December...more

Proxy Access: Request to Reconsider Whole Foods; Another Seeks to Avoid NYC Proposal

James McRitchie was the shareholder proponent who submitted a proxy access proposal to Whole Foods. The SEC granted Whole Foods’ request to exclude the proposal. Mr. McRitchie has now requested an appeal to the full...more

Top 10 Topics for Directors in 2015

In this issue: - Strategic Planning Challenges - Cybersecurity - Assess the Impact of Advances in Technology and Big Data - Shareholder Activism - The Return of M&A - Risk...more

In re Novell, Inc. S’holder Litig., C.A. No. 6032 (Del. Ch. Nov. 25, 2014) (Noble, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted summary judgment in favor of defendants on claims alleging that directors acted in bad faith by favoring a bidder in a sale process for reasons other than the pursuit...more

Commissioner Gallagher Posits SEC Would Prevail Against Harvard University

Just this week, Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher and former Commissioner Joseph A. Grundfest issued a draft of a paper that takes on the Harvard Shareholder Rights Project. The Harvard SRP describes itself as “a clinical...more

Minority Shareholders' Alleged Control of Management and Operations Does Not Establish Domination of the Board

Emphasizing the demanding pleading standards a shareholder must meet to show that a minority shareholder controls a board of directors, on November 25, Vice Chancellor Glasscock dismissed claims for breach of fiduciary duties...more

Delaware Court Preliminarily Enjoins Merger Due to Flawed Sales Process

On November 24, 2014, the Delaware Court of Chancery preliminarily enjoined for thirty days a vote by C&J Energy Services stockholders on a merger with Nabors Red Lion Limited, to allow time for C&J's board of directors to...more

Judge Orders Stockholder To “Register” Correspondence With The SEC

Many boards operate with a high degree of collegiality, even when the directors disagree. Some don’t. When the board of directors of Gas Natural Inc., a publicly traded natural gas holding company, voted to remove its CEO...more

The Next Wave of Proxy Access Proposals: What Issuers Should Know and How They Can Prepare

The Comptroller of the City of New York, who oversees pension funds with a combined $160 billion in assets, recently submitted proxy access shareholder proposals at 75 U.S. public companies as part of its Boardroom...more

NYC Pension Fund Submits 75 Proxy Access Proposals

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, on behalf of the $160 billion New York City Pension Funds, has submitted proxy access shareowner proposals to 75 companies. The proposals request a bylaw to give shareowners who...more

Consequences of a Data Breach: Lessons from Wyndham Worldwide

On October 20, 2014, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation won dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit seeking damages arising out of three data breaches that occurred between 2008 and 2010. Dennis Palkon, et al. v. Stephen P....more

Court Dismisses Shareholder Derivative Action Targeting Directors and Officers for Data Breaches

Earlier this week a federal district court in New Jersey dismissed with prejudice a shareholder derivative suit, Palkon v. Holmes, No. 14-CV-01234 (SRC) (D.N.J.), that tried to blame the directors and officers at hospitality...more

ISS Publishes 2015 Draft Policy Changes; Comments Due by October 29, 2014

On October 15, 2014, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”) published its key draft policy changes for the 2015 proxy season. There are only two proposed updates for the United States. The first introduces a new...more

ISS Releases 2015 Draft Voting Policy Changes for Comment

On October 15, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a leading proxy advisory firm, released for comment draft voting policy changes for 2015. The two significant proposals that would impact US companies are as follows...more

ISS Releases 2015 Draft Voting Policies for Independent Chair and Equity Incentive Plan Proposals

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recently released for public comment its 2015 draft voting policies. The draft policies relate to two topics affecting the U.S. market: independent board chair shareholder proposals...more

Delaware Court Approves Out-Of-State Forum Selection Bylaw Adopted At Time Of Merger

In City of Providence v. First Citizens BancShares Inc. et al., C.A. No. 9795-CB (Del. Ch. Sept. 8, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Bouchard, C.) held that a minority shareholder's claims against a Delaware...more

1, 2 or 3 Years? How Should Boards Decide The Frequency Of Say-On-Pay Votes?

Although the initial ruckus over how to determine the outcome of executive compensation say-on-frequency votes has subsided, I still maintain that the Securities and Exchange Commission botched the rule (§240.14a-21(b)). ...more

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