Common Stock

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Practice Pointers on the Up-C Structure

In a structure commonly referred to as an “up-C,” an existing limited liability company or other partnership form (referred to here for convenience as “LLC”) undertakes a public offering through a newly formed corporation,...more

Challenges to Going-Private Mergers Just Got Tougher in New York

In a landmark decision on May 5, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals held that challenges to going-private mergers where there is a controlling stockholder must be reviewed under the deferential business judgment rule rather...more

"The Resurgence of SPACs in a Quiet IPO Market"

More than 20 years old, special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) — publicly listed companies established with the goal of acquiring unspecified targets — have recently experienced a surge in popularity. Ten SPACs for...more

"Corporate Finance Alert: SEC Staff Issues Rule 144 Guidance Related to REIT Shares Received in Exchange for Operating Partnership...

The staff of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance recently issued an interpretive letter concluding that, for purposes of Rule 144 under the Securities Act, the holding period for shares of a publicly traded real estate...more

SEC Issues Guidance with respect to the Conversion of a REIT’s OP Units

On March 14, 2016, the Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued interpretative guidance in response to a request from Bank of America, N.A., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated with respect...more

Eleventh Circuit Interprets Rule 10b-5(b)

On March 1, 2016, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Southern District of Florida in Fried v. Stiefel Labs., Inc., No. 14-14790, 2016 WL 787986 (11th Cir. Mar. 1, 2016), holding that the District Court had...more

SEC Approves Proposed Change to Exempt “Early Stage Companies” from the NYSE’s Shareholder Approval Requirement for Issuances to...

The NYSE Listed Company Manual contains a number of rules requiring a listed company to obtain shareholder approval for certain issuances of securities, which rules are often referred to as the “20% rule” or “shareholder...more

A Balanced Approach to Founder's Equity

When accepting money from outside investors, entrepreneurs are generally asked to give up some degree of control over their start-up, exchanging equity in their company for cash. In an effort to minimize the control they...more

NYSE Exempts Early Stage Companies From Having to Obtain Shareholder Approval Before Issuing Shares for Cash to Related Parties

The SEC has approved the NYSE proposal to exempt early stage companies from having to obtain shareholder approval before issuing shares for cash to related parties. Under the revised rules, Sections 312.03(b) and 312.04 of...more

Stockholder activism disclosure tips: deciphering increasingly complicated timing and ownership positions

Peeling away the various arguments of stockholder activists and their often larger-than-life personas - and occasional multi-hour conference calls - lays bare the gritty details of the ways stockholder activists actually take...more

Government Contractors Beware: Trying to Fit A Square Peg into A Round Hole

What may be standard in the corporate world can severely disrupt set-aside status in the highly-regulated government contract space. Take the recently-decided case of Precise Systems. ...more

Williams Mullen FDI USA Newsletter - June 2015

- In this Issue: - Welcome - About Us - Results Of 2015 SelectUSA Summit - 2015 Upcoming Events - RAISING CAPITAL: Simplifying the U.S. Capital Markets - Recent FDI Success Stories - FDI...more

Why Start-Ups Use Convertible Debt Part II: How a Convertible Debt Works

In Part I of our “Why Start-Ups Use Convertible Debt” series, we discussed one of the typical start-up financing structures, the sale of common stock, along with the issues that should be considered when setting a valuation....more

Why Start-Ups Use Convertible Debt Part I: Common Stock Financing and the Problem of Setting a Valuation

Most start-up companies turn to friends, family and/or high net worth individuals as the first source of capital to fund their operations. Banks will not lend to these companies since there are no real assets to collateralize...more

OHA Sheds Some Light on What Constitutes a “Class” of Stock

In my recent article about the impact of separate stock classes on veteran-owned firms, I discussed how having more than one class of voting stock can complicate an ownership analysis under both the Department of Veterans...more

Flaa v. Montano, C.A. No. 9146-VCG (Del. Ch. May 29, 2014) (Glasscock, V.C.)

In this post-trial decision in a proceeding pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 225, the Court of Chancery invalidated stockholder action by written consent on the ground that the proxy solicitation materials failed to disclose an...more

The Business Court Takes A Narrow View Of When Claims Are "In Or Affecting Commerce" Under Chapter 75 Of The General Statutes

Chapter 75 claims have rarely fared well in the Business Court, though there is not much doubt about why they are included in almost every Complaint in the Court. The prospect of treble damages (per G.S. §75-16) and...more

Start-Up Raising Capital? Some Common Features of Preferred Shares & Why Some Select Preferred Shares over Convertible Debt

When you start a business and want to attract your first round of financing, Preferred Shares is one product that can be offered to Investors. Many Founders have asked us to explain exactly what Preferred Shares are and...more

In re Trados: Directors Dodge a Bullet

Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster’s August 16 post-trial opinion in In re Trados Inc. Shareholder Litigation1 (hereinafter, “In re Trados”) has attracted a significant amount of attention. Much as both the Chancery and the...more

Flawed, but Fair: Updated Guidance for Boards and Investors

A recent Delaware decision, in re Trados Incorporated Shareholder Litigation, underscores a director’s responsibilities in “underwater” venture deals. In a 114-page opinion by Vice Chancellor Laster, the court reviewed the...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Finds Board Did Not Breach Fiduciary Duties in Merger Where Common Shareholders Received Nothing

In a lengthy opinion following trial, Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster found the decision by the directors of a venture capital-backed company to approve a $60 million merger was fair, even though...more

Directors Designated By Venture Capitalists And Other Preferred Stockholders Need To Be Mindful Of Inherent Conflicts: In re...

A recent post-trial decision by Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Court of Chancery puts directors serving as designees of preferred investors on notice that they must attempt to maximize value for common...more

In re Trados S'holder Litig., Consol. C.A. No. 1512-VCL (Del. Ch. Aug. 16, 2013) (Laster, V.C.)

A former common stockholder filed a purported class action for breach of fiduciary duty arising out of the transaction, alleging that the former Trados directors breached their duty of loyalty by favoring the interests of the...more

Trados: Four Key Takeaways for Boards & Investors

As we mentioned in this post earlier this month, the Delaware Court of Chancery has issued its decision in the matter of In re Trados Incorporated Shareholder Litigation, C.A. No. 1512-VC (August 16, 2013), in which it...more

Delaware Chancery Court Finds Merger "Entirely Fair" to Common Stockholders Despite the Merger Leaving Common Stockholders With No...

In In re Trados Inc. Shareholder Litigation, Case No. 1512-VCL, 2013 Del. Ch. LEXIS (Del. Ch. Aug. 16, 2013), Vice Chancellor Laster of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware resolved the long-pending dispute...more

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