Controlling Stockholders

News & Analysis as of

Espinoza v. Zuckerberg, No. 9745-CB (Del. Ch. Oct. 28, 2015) (Bouchard, C.)

In a decision reinforcing the importance of observing corporate formalities, Chancellor Bouchard found that a controlling stockholder cannot ratify a board’s self-dealing with something as informal as an affidavit, a...more

Caspian Select Credit Master Fund Ltd. v. Gohl, C.A. No. 10244-VCN (Del. Ch. Sept. 28, 2015) (Noble, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss direct and derivative claims against the company’s board and controlling stockholders for breaches of fiduciary duty...more

Gorman v. Salamone: Updating Delaware Law on the Removal of Officers by Stockholders

The power to remove officers is usually reserved for a Delaware corporation’s board of directors. Express language in a certificate of incorporation can reserve this power for stockholders, and until recently, Delaware courts...more

Compliance with the Formal Approval Requirements of Delaware Law Required for Stockholder Ratification of Director Compensation

On October 28th, the Delaware Chancery Court, in Espinoza v. Zuckerberg, et al., held that stockholder ratification of a transaction that was approved by an interested board of directors must be accomplished formally through...more

M&A Update: Chancery Court Finds Merger Price to be Most Persuasive Factor in Appraisal Action

In a recent decision in an appraisal action, the Delaware Chancery Court reaffirmed the Court’s reluctance to substitute its own calculation of the “fair value” of a target company’s stock for the purchase price derived...more

Insights: The Delaware Edition - October 2015

We are pleased to share with you the inaugural issue of Insights: The Delaware Edition, a periodic publication addressing significant Delaware deal litigation and corporation law developments. In This Issue: - Q&A...more

"Dole Ruling Serves as Cautionary Tale for Take-Private Deals"

Earlier this year, in a consolidated breach of fiduciary duty and appraisal action, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a post-trial opinion that includes many important takeaways for...more

What's Market? Update: Delaware Corporate and M&A

Fee Shifting and Forum Selection Clauses - Much attention has been paid to Delaware legislative developments regarding fee shifting and forum selection clauses. On June 24, 2015, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed...more

Chancery Court Provides Lessons on Conflicts of Interest in a Sales Process – Holds Only Financial Advisor Open to Liability

In an October 1st decision (In re Zale Corporation), the Delaware Chancery Court dismissed claims that Zale Corporation’s directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with Zale’s agreement to merge with Signet. ...more

Three Recent Delaware Decisions Highlight the Importance of Director Independence and Risks for M&A Financial Advisors

On September 28 and October 1, 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued decisions in Caspian Select Credit Master Fund Limited v. Gohl, C.A. No. 10244-VCN and In re Zale Corporation Stockholders Litigation, C.A. No....more

Informed Approval of M&A Transactions by Disinterested Stockholders Invokes the Business Judgment Rule

In Corwin v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC, No. 629, 2014 (Del. Oct. 2, 2015), the Delaware Supreme Court sitting en banc unanimously affirmed the Delaware Court of Chancery decision that the voluntary judgment of the fully...more

Delaware Supreme Court Addresses Novel Controlling-Stockholder Claim and Clarifies Effect of a Fully Informed, Uncoerced...

The Delaware Supreme Court recently issued an opinion, captioned Corwin v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC, that sheds further light on when a stockholder owning less than 50% of the voting power of a company may be deemed a...more

Fraud Vitiated Special-Committee Process in Dole Merger

In a self-interested transaction between a company and its controlling stockholder, the operative standard of judicial review under Delaware law is the most rigorous: entire fairness standard of review. To obtain the least...more

Corwin v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC, No. 629, 2014 (Del. Oct. 2, 2015) (Strine, C.J.)

In this opinion affirming the Court of Chancery’s dismissal of a stockholder challenge to a merger, the Delaware Supreme Court held that the approval of the merger by a fully informed, disinterested stockholder majority...more

Inside the Courts: An Update From Skadden Securities Litigators - September 2015 / Volume 7 / Issue 3

This issue of Inside the Courts, Skadden’s securities litigation newsletter, includes summaries and associated court opinions of selected cases principally decided between May 2015 and August 2015. The cases address...more

M&A Update: Fully Informed Vote of Disinterested Stockholders Results in Business Judgment Rule Protection in Post-Closing Review...

In an October 2, 2015 decision, Corwin, et al. v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC., et al., the Delaware Supreme Court clarified that once a merger closes, as long as it has been approved by a fully informed vote of the...more

CLIENT ALERT: Delaware Supreme Court Finds That Fully Informed Stockholder Vote Approving Merger Invoked Business Judgment Rule

Corwin v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC, No. 629, 2014 (Del. Oct. 2, 2015). In this opinion affirming the Court of Chancery’s dismissal of a purported class action challenging an acquisition transaction, the Delaware...more

Tyranny of the Minority: North Carolina Business Court Explores Potential Fiduciary Duties of Minority Shareholders

The North Carolina Business Court recently issued an opinion considering whether a minority shareholder can ever be considered a “controlling shareholder” who owes a fiduciary duty to other shareholders. The court’s opinion...more

Court Of Chancery Explains When A Dilution Claim Is Direct

It is often said that when a majority stockholder issues more stock to himself at an unfair price that is a direct claim and not derivative. But as this decision points out, that is a little too simplistic....more

Going-Private Transaction Results in $148 Million Fraud Charge for CEO and GC – What to Consider Going Forward

The Delaware Court of Chancery (the "Court") recently found the CEO, David Murdock ("Murdock"), and the General Counsel, C. Michael Carter ("Carter"), of Dole Foods Company (the "Company") personally liable to investors for...more

Fraud Means a “Fairer” Price: In re Dole Finds CEO and COO Personally Liable for Over $148 Million in Damages

On August 27, 2015 the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a post-trial decision, In re Dole Food Company, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, that held two of Dole’s directors, David Murdock and Michael Carter, personally liable for...more

Justice Friedman Allows Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim to Proceed Against Corporate Directors Under Delaware Law

In AP Services, LLP v. Lobell et. al, No. 651613/2012, 2015 NY Slip Op 31115(U) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. June 19, 2015) (argued Feb. 21, 2014), Justice Friedman, applying Delaware Law, denied a motion to dismiss plaintiff AP Services,...more

In re Dole Food Co., Inc.; A Going-Private Primer

In an August 27, 2015 decision, Vice Chancellor Laster of the Delaware Chancery Court found that the chief executive officer (David H. Murdock) and president and general counsel (C. Michael Carter) of Dole Food Co., Inc....more

Delaware Court Holds Interested Directors Liable for "Fairer Price" In Going Private Transaction

In one of the largest ever M&A-related recoveries for shareholders, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster ordered Dole Food Company, Inc.’s Chairman and CEO, David Murdock, and Dole’s former President, COO and General Counsel, C....more

Delaware Court’s Finding of $148 Million Fraud by Dole CEO and General Counsel Offers Major Lessons in Take-Private Deals

The Delaware Chancery Court ordered Dole Food Co. Inc. CEO David Murdock and General Counsel Michael Carter to pay Dole shareholders $148 million for fraud in connection with the company’s 2013 take-private deal. The August...more

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