Controlling Stockholders

News & Analysis as of

Multiple Voting Shares: Don’t Call it a Comeback

Dual class share structures have been thrust back into the spotlight by a recent flurry of initial public offerings of subordinate voting shares, a proposed going private transaction of a dual class share company and...more

Delaware Chancery’s In re Dole Food Co., Inc. Decision Provides Lessons For Corporations Considering Going Private Transactions

On Thursday, August 27, 2015, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster found Dole Food Co., Inc. (“Dole”) Chief Executive Officer, David Murdock, and General Counsel, C. Michael Carter, liable to investors for $148 million in fraud...more

Court Of Chancery Explains Unfair Dealing Law In Cash-Out Case

Aside from the very large damage award, this decision should be noted for its thorough analysis of the duties of a controlling stockholder and his aides in the way they act to carry out a going private transaction....more

CLIENT ALERT: Court Finds Dole Food Company Directors Liable; Awards $148M in Damages

In re Dole Food Company, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, Consolidated C.A. No. 8703-VCL - In re Appraisal of Dole Food Company, Inc., Consolidated C.A. No. 9079-VCL - In a much anticipated post-trial decision, the...more

M&A Update: Delaware Court Finds Dole Executives Personally Liable for Millions in Damages for Defrauding Stockholders in Buy-Out...

In its August 27th post-trial opinion, In re Dole Food Co., Inc. Stockholder Litigation, the Delaware Chancery Court held Dole executives David Murdock and Michael Carter personally liable for $148 million in damages for...more

Court of Chancery Affirms Director Primacy in Delaware Corporate Law

The Court of Chancery recently affirmed the primacy of the board of directors in Delaware corporate law in a case that involved an attempt by the majority stockholder of a Delaware corporation to amend the corporation’s...more

Court Examines Disclosure Duties in Consent Solicitaion Removing Directors

In Kerbawy v. McDonnell, the Delaware Court of Chancery affirmed the validity of a solicitation of written consents that removed certain directors and appointed new directors. A key theme of the opinion is that stockholders...more

New Delaware Decision Strikes Bylaw Empowering Stockholders to Remove Officers

In a case of first impression, the Delaware Court of Chancery recently struck down a provision contained in the bylaws of a Delaware corporation authorizing the corporation’s stockholders to remove a corporate officer (in the...more

Delaware Legislature Prohibits Fee Shifting and Authorizes Exclusive Forum Selection

Delaware corporations should evaluate their certificates of incorporation or bylaws in light of new amendments to the Delaware General Corporation Law. On June 24, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 75...more

Delaware Expands Jurisdiction Over Directors

A recent but little-known decision by a Delaware court may have substantially expanded the state's jurisdiction over the directors of a Delaware corporation. Delaware has long had a director-consent-to-service statute: 10...more

New Developments in Estate and Gift Tax Valuation Cases

A number of recent cases highlight particular issues in valuation of assets for purposes of the estate and gift tax. On July 6, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service settled Estate of Davidson v. Commissioner, T.C. Docket No....more

Court Of Chancery Explains That The Existence Of A Controlling Stockholder Does Not Determine Demand Is Excused

Teamsters Union 25 Health Services & Insurance Plan v. Baiera, C.A. No. 9503-CB (July 13, 2015) - A transaction with a controlling stockholder that is the subject of a derivative complaint still requires that a...more

In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. S’holder Litig., C.A. No. 564, 2014 (Del. May 14, 2015) & Leal v. Meeks, C.A. No. 706, 2014...

In these interlocutory appeals, the Delaware Supreme Court resolved a long-standing split in Delaware authorities by ruling that independent directors (including members of a special committee negotiating a transaction with a...more

New Delaware Law Invalidates “Fee-shifting” and Validates "Forum-selection" Provisions

Prohibition on Fee-Shifting Provisions - The legislation signed into law last week responds to the Delaware Supreme Court’s decision in ATP Tour, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund, 91 A.3d 554 (Del. 2014) in which the Court...more

Executive Compensation Paid to Controlling Shareholders Subject to Business Judgment Review When Approved by an Independent...

Members of the Dolan family hold 73% of the voting power of Cablevision Systems Corporation’s stock. A shareholder commenced a derivative action regarding the executive compensation paid to Dolan family members serving as...more

Delaware Amends Its Corporate Law to Prohibit Fee-Shifting, Approve Exclusive Forum Provisions and Facilitate At-The-Market...

On June 24, Delaware’s Governor signed legislation approving amendments to the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL). While annual amendments to the DGCL typically involve technical fixes, this year’s legislation addresses...more

Delaware Supreme Court Rejects Presumption of Disloyalty for Independent Directors

Public companies incorporated in Delaware frequently adopt a charter provision, pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 102(b)(7), that insulates their directors from monetary damages for breaches of the fiduciary duty of care. Those...more

Trustees Beware: Which Fiduciary Standard Applies to Your “Business Judgments”?

To what legal standard must a trustee adhere when he or she also participates in the control of a family or closely held business? Courts continue to grapple with this question. The high courts in both Georgia and Nebraska...more

Exculpatory Provisions Provide Powerful Protection for Independent Directors

The Delaware Supreme Court recently issued an important decision clarifying the standards that govern claims for money damages against independent directors of corporations whose charters contain exculpatory provisions....more

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That Plaintiffs Must Specifically Plead Non-Exculpated Claims Against Disinterested Directors in...

In In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Stockholder Litigation/Leal v. Meeks, the Delaware Supreme Court reversed decisions of the Delaware Chancery Court denying director-defendants’ motions to dismiss breach of fiduciary...more

Delaware Supreme Court Preserves Benefit of Exculpatory Provisions for Independent Directors at Motion to Dismiss Stage

A recent decision by the Delaware Supreme Court provides independent directors, such as special committee members, with the ability to escape protracted fiduciary duty litigation during its initial stages. The court’s...more

Important Delaware Supreme Court ruling on use of charter provision to seek preliminary dismissal – 3 key takeaways

In a decision jointly resolving two appeals - In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Stockholder Litigation and Leal v. Meeks - the Delaware Supreme Court clarified seemingly conflicting Delaware case law. The decision sought to...more

CLIENT ALERT: Delaware Supreme Court Establishes Rule Permitting Dismissal of Independent Directors From Entire Fairness Suits

In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. S’holder Litig., No. 564, 2014 (Del. May 14, 2015) & Leal v. Meeks, No. 706, 2014 (Del. May 14, 2015) In these interlocutory appeals, the Delaware Supreme Court resolved a...more

Wealth Management Update - May 2015

May Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The May § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs and GRATs...more

Central Register of Beneficial Ownership to be Introduced in the UK

On 26 March 2015, the United Kingdom Parliament passed into law the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the “Act”). The Act will bring about a number of fundamental changes to UK company law including,...more

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