Controlling Stockholders

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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