- Michael Greene, Dealmakers Eye Safeguards Amid Rising Valuation Challenges (Apr. 18, 2017)
- Morris James, Where Is Delaware Corporate Litigation Going?
To begin with, it is clearly a good thing for Delaware to reject disclosure-only settlements when little value has been generated for the stockholders. Trulia is a good decision given the current legal landscape. Under it, clearly meritorious disclosure settlements still will be approved. Other cases can proceed on the merits to a pre-close injunction hearing, and may be resolved through voluntary supplemental disclosures that can benefit stockholders, or through post-close litigation where damages may be pursued. Moreover, Corwin will not affect post-close litigation where the challenged transaction is among the most scrutinized under Delaware law: deals involving a conflicted, controlling stockholder. Nor will Corwin affect post-close litigation in third-party deals where the stockholder vote was uninformed, or coerced. E.g., In re Saba Software, Inc. S’holder Litig., Cons. C.A. No. 10697-VCS (Del. Ch. Mar. 31, 2017).
As introduced, SB 203 includes the following statements of legislative intent:
Except in the limited circumstances set forth in NRS 78.139, an exercise of the respective powers of directors or officers of a domestic corporation, including, without limitation, in circumstances involving a change or potential change in control of a corporation, is not subject to a heightened standard of review.
The standards promulgated by the Supreme Court of Delaware in Unocal Corporation v. Mesa Petroleum Co., 493 A.2d 946 (Del. 1985), and Revlon, Inc. v. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., 506 A.2d 173 (Del. 1986), and their progeny have been, and are hereby, rejected by the Legislature.
Previously, transaction insurance (or R&W insurance) was used sparingly and predominantly by East Coast private equity funds. PE funds have historically found R&W insurance to be attractive on the buy-side to enable them to make more competitive buyout bids for private targets by foregoing large escrows and significant post-closing indemnifications from targets. At the same time, when the PE fund is on the sell-side, it will insist that the buyer purchase R&W insurance to protect the fund’s risk exposure to breaches of representations and warranties by its portfolio company in the sale. Outside of the US, R&W insurance has already become widely used in private M&A deals in Europe by both PE funds and strategic buyers alike.
As the underwriting process has streamlined, and premiums have come down in the US, R&W insurance has secured a significant position in the M&A toolbox for middle-market M&A nationwide (outside of the PE context). Most financial buyers and now many strategic buyers increasingly use these policies as a means to manage risk and to help facilitate a deal.
- Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon & Randall S. Thomas, The Shifting Tides of Merger Litigation (2017)
In 2015, Delaware made several important changes to its laws concerning merger litigation. These changes, which were made in response to a perception that levels of merger litigation were too high and that a substantial proportion of merger cases were not providing value, raised the bar, making it more difficult for plaintiffs to win a lawsuit challenging a merger and more difficult for plaintiffs’ counsel to collect a fee award.
We study what has happened in the courts in response to these changes. We find that the initial effect of the changes has been to decrease the volume of merger litigation, to increase the number of cases that are dismissed, and to reduce the size of attorneys’ fee awards. At the same time, we document an adaptive response by the plaintiffs’ bar in which cases are being filed in other state courts or in federal court in an effort to escape the application of the new rules.
This responsive adaptation offers important lessons about the entrepreneurial nature of merger litigation and the limited ability of the courts to reduce the potential for litigation abuse. In particular, we find that plaintiffs’ attorneys respond rationally to these changes by shifting their filing patterns, and that defendants respond in kind. We argue, however, that more expansive efforts to shut down merger litigation, such as through the use of fee-shifting bylaws, are premature and create too great a risk of foreclosing beneficial litigation. We also examine Delaware’s dilemma in maintaining a balance between the rights of managers and shareholders in this area.
- Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, 2017: Where Things Stand—Appraisal, Business Judgment Rule and Disclosure (2017)
- 日本経済新聞「M&Aの損害 保険で補償—『表明保証保険』日本でも注目、手間とコストの吟味必要」（2017年2月27日）
- Guhan Subramanian, Using the Deal Price for Determining `Fair Value’ in Appraisal Proceedings (Feb. 8, 2017)
This Essay presents new data on appraisal litigation and appraisal outs. I find that appraisal claims have not meaningfully declined in 2016, and that perceived appraisal risk, as measured by the incidence of appraisal outs, has increased since the Dell appraisal in May 2016. After reviewing current Delaware appraisal doctrine, this Essay proposes a synthesizing principle: if the deal process involves an adequate market canvass, meaningful price discovery, and an arms-length negotiation, then there should be a strong presumption that the deal price represents fair value in an appraisal proceeding; but if the deal process does not have these features, deal price should receive no weight. This approach would represent a middle-ground between the competing approaches advanced by twenty-nine law, economics, and finance professors in the DFC Global appraisal, currently on appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court.
- Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Revised 2017 Jurisdictional Thresholds Under the HSR Act and For the Prohibition of Interlocking Directorates (Jan. 20, 2017)
[Jan. 19, 2017], the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced revised Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR) reporting thresholds under which transactions will be reportable only if, as a result of such transaction, the acquiring person will hold voting securities, assets, or non-corporate interests valued above $80.8 million, compared to $78.2 million in 2016. The newly adjusted HSR thresholds will apply to all transactions that close on or after the effective date, which is expected to be in late-February (the exact date will depend on when the changes are published in the Federal Register).