株式買取請求権と株価——Verition Partners v. Aruba Networks, 2019 Del. LEXIS 197 (Del. Apr. 16, 2019)

In this statutory appraisal case, the Court of Chancery found that the fair value of Aruba Networks, Inc., as defined by 8 Del. C. § 262, was $17.13 per share, which was the thirty-day average market price at which its shares traded before the media reported news of the transaction that gave rise to the appellants’ appraisal rights. … Because the Court of Chancery’s decision to use Aruba’s stock price instead of the deal price minus synergies was rooted in an erroneous factual finding that lacked record support, we answer that in the positive and reverse the Court of Chancery’s judgment. On remand, the Court of Chancery shall enter a final judgment for the petitioners awarding them $19.10 per share, which reflects the deal price minus the portion of synergies left with the seller as estimated by the respondent in this case, Aruba. …

Likewise, assuming an efficient market, the unaffected market price and that price as adjusted upward by a competitive bidding process leading to a sale of the entire company was likely to be strong evidence of fair value. By asserting that Dell and DFC “indicate[] that Aruba’s unaffected market price is entitled to substantial weight,” the Vice Chancellor seemed to suggest that this Court signaled in both cases that trading prices should be treated as exclusive indicators of fair value. However, Dell and DFC did not imply that the market price of a stock was necessarily the best estimate of the stock’s so-called fundamental value at any particular time. Rather, they did recognize that when a market was informationally efficient in the sense that “the market’s digestion and assessment of all publicly available information concerning [the Company] [is] quickly impounded into the Company’s stock price,” the market price is likely to be more informative of fundamental value. In fact, Dell’s references to market efficiency focused on informational efficiency—the idea that markets quickly reflect publicly available information and can be a proxy for fair value—not the idea that an informationally efficient market price invariably reflects the company’s fair value in an appraisal or fundamental value in economic terms. Nonetheless, to the extent the Court of Chancery read DFC and Dell as reaffirming the traditional Delaware view, which is accepted in corporate finance, that the price a stock trades at in an efficient market is an important indicator of its economic value that should be given weight, it was correct. And to the extent that the Court of Chancery also read DFC and Dell as reaffirming the view that when that market price is further informed by the efforts of arm’s length buyers of the entire company to learn more through due diligence, involving confidential non-public information, and with the keener incentives of someone considering taking the non-diversifiable risk of buying the entire entity, the price that results from that process is even more likely to be indicative of so-called fundamental value, it was correct. …

Under the semi-strong form of the efficient capital markets hypothesis, the unaffected market price is not assumed to factor in nonpublic information. In this case, however, HP had signed a confidentiality agreement, done exclusive due diligence, gotten access to material nonpublic information, and had a much sharper incentive to engage in price discovery than an ordinary trader because it was seeking to acquire all shares. Moreover, its information base was more current as of the time of the deal than the trading price used by the Vice Chancellor. Compounding these issues was the reality that Aruba was set to release strong earnings that HP knew about in the final negotiations, but that the market did not. As previously noted, Aruba’s stock price jumped 9.7% once those earnings were finally reported to the public. None of these issues were illuminated in the traditional way, and none of them were discussed by the Court of Chancery in a reasoned way in giving exclusive weight to a prior trading price that was $7.54 below what HP agreed to pay, and well below what Aruba had previously argued was fair value. (footnotes omitted)

via Steve Hecht, FT, Opinion, DealLawyers, Alison Frankel, Bloomberg Law, Matt Levine, The Chancery Daily, S&C, Potter Anderson, Morris James

「草野耕一最高裁判事就任記者会見の概要」(2019年2月13日)

【記者】草野判事はこれまで企業や経済に関わる仕事をされてきたと思いますけれども,そういった経験を最高裁判事の職務にどう生かしていきたいとお考えでしょうか。

【判事】おそらく2点申し上げることができるかと思います。1点目は,企業の世界というのは,いかにパイを大きくするかということが,いかにパイを公平に分配するかという問題と同等かそれ以上に重要な場面が多くございます。最高裁判事としても,そういう2つの面,すなわち,できるだけ分配するパイを大きなものとするということと,それを公平に分配することという2つのことを考えていくという点については,これまでの経験が役立つと思います。それから,もう1点,技術的な問題で恐縮ですけれども,経済の世界というのは,法律あるいは法解釈を変えることによって経済の仕組みが変わるという面がございます。それは程度の差はあれ,あらゆる法理論にいえることです。法解釈を変えるとどのようにそれが社会に影響を与えるのか,ということを帰納的に考えてあるべき法律論を考察するという思考方法,これをこれまでの経験をいかして今後とも使っていきたいと考えた次第であります。

Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission, 587 U.S. —, 2019 WL 1369839 (Mar. 27, 2019)

In this case, we consider whether those who do not ‘make’ statements (as Janus defined ‘make’), but who disseminate false or misleading statements to potential investors with the intent to defraud, can be found to have violated the other parts of Rule 10b–5, subsections (a) and (c), as well as related provisions of the securities laws, §10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 48Stat. 891, as amended, 15 U.S.C. §78j(b), and §17(a)(1) of the Securities Act of 1933, 48Stat. 84–85, as amended, 15 U.S.C. §77q(a)(1). We believe that they can.

  • Kavanaugh裁判官は、下級審の判決に参加しているため不参加。6対2で、原審を維持。

via Lyle Roberts, Kevin M. LaCroix, Sheppard Mullin, SCOTUSblog, Oyez, Fried Frank, Reuters, Cleary Gottlieb, Ropes & Gray, WSJ, Skadden, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, S&C, GD&C

Barbara A. Bliss et al., Negative Activism, 97 Washington University Law Review (forthcoming)

  • Barbara A. Bliss et al., Negative Activism, 97 Washington University Law Review (forthcoming)

Shareholder activism has become one of the most important and widely studied topics in law and finance. To date, popular and academic accounts have focused on what we call “positive activism,” where activists seek to profit from positive changes in the share prices of targeted firms. In this Article, we undertake the first comprehensive study of positive activism’s mirror image, which we term “negative activism.” Whereas positive activists focus on increasing share prices, negative activists take short positions to profit from decreasing share prices.

via Harvard

Wall St. J., Judge Threatens PG&E Dividend (Apr. 1, 2019)

A federal judge is threatening to prevent PG&E Corp. PCG 3.19% from resuming dividend payments to shareholders until it reduces its role in sparking California wildfires, an action with little precedent that could have big repercussions for other companies put on probation.

William Alsup, a U.S. district court judge in Northern California, began overseeing PG&E’s probation after the utility company was convicted of safety-related violations following a natural-gas explosion that killed eight people in 2010. …

The company, which sought chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, pushed back, responding that such an imposition could spook investors and limit its access to capital after it restructures in court. It emphasized that it has taken steps to improve its vegetation management practices in recent years and will continue to do so. …

An avid hiker whose California nature photographs hang in the federal courthouse in San Francisco, Judge Alsup has become a vocal critic of PG&E’s wildfire response.