Controlling Stockholders

News & Analysis as of

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

Do Founders Really Control Their Company with 51% Ownership?

Founders are often focused on maintaining at least 51% ownership of their companies. With 51%, they will be able to control the Company, and their destiny. At least that’s what they thought. In reality, the 51% control...more

Virtus Capital L.P. v. Eastman Chemical Co. et al., C.A. No. 9808-VCL (Del. Ch. Feb. 11, 2015) (Laster, V.C.)

In this decision, the Court of Chancery denied a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction brought by an individual that controlled the majority stockholders of a Delaware corporation, holding that the complaint...more

Chancery Enjoins Board in Potential Stockholder Dilution Scheme

Directors and officers of struggling corporations seeking capital or startups willing to trade equity for cash should read the Delaware Court of Chancery's recent transcript ruling in Elite Horse Investments Ltd. v. T3...more

Delaware Independent Director Liability in Control Buyout Cases

The Delaware Supreme Court will address the standard for pleading that an independent director has breached fiduciary duties in connection with a controlling shareholder buyout. The issue was certified for interlocutory...more

Recent Delaware Court of Chancery Decisions Address When A Non-Majority Stockholder Will Be Deemed a Controlling Stockholder

In three recent decisions, the Delaware Court of Chancery reiterated that under Delaware law, a large, though not majority, stockholder of a corporation will not be considered a controlling stockholder (with the attendant...more

Appellate Division Review - Business Judgment Rule, Privilege, Child Support, Animal Rights

The more things change, the more they remain the same. As we enter a new year, New York’s Appellate Division faces the same and greater challenges: increasing caseloads, staff shortages, judicial vacancies, and legal disputes...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

Delaware Court Determines That 17.5% Stockholder Seeking To Take Company Private Could Be Deemed A Controller And Therefore...

On November 26, 2014, the Delaware Court of Chancery denied a motion to dismiss a complaint challenging a going-private transaction where the company's CEO, Chairman and 17.5% stockholder was leading the buyout group. In his...more

Investor Claims NetTALK Executives Took Control of Board

On November 5, Telestrata, LLC brought a derivative shareholder action and direct action against NetTALK.com, Inc., a publicly traded telecommunication company, and NetTALK’s directors and officers, alleging that the...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

New York Appellate Court Affirms Business Judgment Rule for Going-Private Transaction

New York companies seeking to go private with a controlling shareholder may now be less vulnerable to shareholder litigation. On November 20, 2014, the New York Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed a New...more

In re Sanchez Energy Deriv. Litig., C.A. No. 9132-VCG (Del. Ch. Nov. 25, 2014) (Glasscock, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery held that plaintiff stockholders failed to plead particularized facts sufficient to demonstrate demand futility and dismissed the plaintiffs’ fiduciary duty, aiding and...more

Business-Judgment Rule Applied in New York to Going-Private Transaction with Procedural Protections

The New York Appellate Division, First Department, ruled Thursday that the business-judgment rule – not the entire-fairness standard of review – can apply to a going-private transaction with the majority shareholder where the...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Applies Business Judgment Rule to Directors Who Approve Merger Supported by Large Shareholders

In its October 24, 2014, decision in In re Crimson Exploration Inc. Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 8541, the Delaware Court of Chancery confirmed that the business judgment rule is applicable in evaluating claims for breach...more

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