News & Analysis as of

Lead Director Network: Viewpoints: Proxy trends and advisory firm policy

Lead Director Network (LDN) and Compensation Committee Leadership Network (CCLN) members met jointly on July 17, 2014 to discuss proxy advisory firm policy and trends from the 2014 proxy season. They were joined for part of...more

Creative Shareholder Engagement–Director Videos?

Much has been written lately about the importance of shareholder engagement. (See this Doug’s Note, for example.) There has even been recent clambering to involve directors directly in shareholder engagement....more

Substantial Holder Notices - Some Recent Developments

Substantial holder notices are essential for the existence of an informed market. As reiterated by the Takeovers Panel (Panel) in the recent Northern Iron Ltd [2014] ATP 11 (Northern Iron) decision: "the broadly cast...more

Stockholder Proposal Seeks To Ratification Of All Decisions And Actions

For the last six years, Amerco as included a rather unique stockholder proposal in its proxy statement. It’s there again this year. Basically, it asks the stockholders to ratify and affirm all decisions and actions by...more

Vote-Counting Standards: A Recipe for Confusion?

Shareholder voting standards was a hot topic this proxy season and will likely continue to be of significant interest next proxy season and in subsequent years. This proxy season, shareholders submitted various proposals...more

Governance & Securities Law Focus: Latin America Edition

In this issue: - US DEVELOPMENTS - SEC Developments - PCAOB Adopts Auditing Standard and Amendments - Noteworthy US Securities Law Litigation - Recent SEC/DOJ Enforcement Matters...more

Governance & Securities Law Focus: Europe Edition

In this issue: - EU DEVELOPMENTS - Statutory Audit Directive and Regulation Published in Official Journal - Council Adopts Intra-Corporate Transferees Directive - ESMA Publishes Consultation and...more

Counsel to the Company: A Framework for Corporate Governance

As a threshold matter, counsel must identify, and remain clear as to, the identity of its client, which may be the company or a subsidiary, the Board or Board committee, or one or more executives. The identity of the client...more

Texas Supreme Court Rejects a General Cause of Action for Minority Shareholder Oppression

The Supreme Court of the State of Texas recently issued a significant opinion relating to the remedies available to minority shareholders of Texas corporations. In Ritchie v. Rupe, No. 11-0447 (Tex. June 20, 2014), available...more

Have Your Directors Met Their Revlon Duties? Delaware Court Dismisses Strike-Suit Allegations as Merely Cosmetic

In a virtual course on how to bring—or not bring—an M&A strike suit, on June 30, a Delaware Chancery Court dismissed all shareholder claims against a merger target and its acquirer, ending nearly two years of litigation. ...more

The Resilient Rights Plan: Recent Poison Pill Developments and Trends

Shareholder rights plans were developed more than 30 years ago to fend off opportunistic hostile offers and other abusive takeover transactions. Rights plans deter unauthorized stock accumulations by imposing substantial...more

SEC Chair White Discusses Directors’ Responsibilities

In a recent speech at the Stanford Directors’ College, SEC Chair Mary Jo White discussed several “things that directors should know about the SEC.” Her speech focused on directors as gatekeepers, self-reporting of wrongdoing,...more

Exclusive Forum Provisions: A New Item for Corporate Governance and M&A Checklists

Public companies increasingly are adopting “exclusive forum” bylaws and charter provisions that require their stockholders to go to specified courts if they want to make fiduciary duty or other intra-corporate claims against...more

Delaware Court Clarifies Director and Officer Liability in M&A Transactions

In Chen v. Howard-Anderson, 87 A.3d 648 (Del. Ch. 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Laster, V.C.) held that directors and officers can be held liable for their participation in a change-of-control transaction if their...more

What Good Can Come From Letting The Indifferent and Undecided Hold Sway?

I’ve written many posts on the subject of voting because it seems so straightforward and yet turns out to be complex. In tackling any voting problem, it is important to know and understand the applicable voting rule. An...more

Using Corporate Bylaws and Charters to Set the Rules for Shareholder Litigation

Recent court decisions, including the Delaware Supreme Court’s opinion earlier this month in ATP Tour, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund, have focused new attention on the use of corporate bylaws and charters to establish the...more

Some Things That The Corporations Code Doesn’t Tell You About Annual Meetings

Annual meetings of shareholders are important. If a corporation fails to hold one for a period of 60 days after the designated date or, if no date is designated, for 15 months, then the superior court may summarily order a...more

Delaware Supreme Court Upholds Fee-Shifting Bylaw

On May 8, in ATP Tour v. Deutscher Tennis Bund, the Delaware Supreme Court held that a board-adopted bylaw shifting attorneys’ fees and costs in intra-corporate litigation to unsuccessful plaintiffs is facially valid. Due to...more

Delaware Serves Up a Possible Game Changer with Validation of Fee-Shifting Bylaw

A recent decision of the Delaware Supreme Court may be a game changer in the world of stockholder litigation. In ATP Tour, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund (Del. May 8, 2014), the Delaware Supreme Court addressed the validity of...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Underscores Heightened Pleading Standard Necessary to Support a Claim for Breach of Fiduciary Duty In...

In Houseman v. Sagerman, C.A. No. 8898-VCG, 2014 WL 1478511 (Del. Ch. Apr. 16, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Glasscock, V.C.) granted, in part, a motion to dismiss filed by certain directors and the financial advisor...more

"Delaware Court of Chancery Recognizes Potential Benefits of Shareholder Rights Plans in Addressing Shareholder Activism"

William F. Ruprecht, et al., and Sotheby’s, which, in essence, recognized that a board of directors could adopt a shareholder rights plan as a reasonable response to a threat posed by an activist shareholder....more

"FCA Listing Rule Changes Applicable to Premium Listed Companies"

On 2 October 2012, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a wide-ranging consultation paper (CP12/25) on the effectiveness of the listing regime which proposed a number of changes to the Listing Rules, including in...more

It’s Prime Time for Shareholder Engagement

Shareholder engagement has become decidedly mainstream in recent years according to a new study by ISS entitled Defining Engagement: An Update on the Evolving Relationship Between Shareholders, Directors and Executives. The...more

Open Sesame? Not for now, Alibaba – Part 1

For months Alibaba Group Holding Limited (“Alibaba”) had tried to convince the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (“SEHK”) that they should open their doors to the internet giant. Alibaba had proposed a system through which...more

2014 Proposed Amendments To Delaware General Corporation Law

On April 17, the Corporation Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association proposed amending the Delaware General Corporation Law, 8 Del. C. §§ 1-101, et seq. (the DGCL). If the proposed legislation is enacted, the...more

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