Kruse v. Synapse Wireless, Inc., 2020 Del. Ch. LEXIS 238 (Del. Ch. July 14, 2020)

John Jenkins writes:

In many respects, the case presented a worst case scenario – it involved a minority squeeze-out of a private company at a price of approximately $0.43 per share with no market check or competitive sales process. Both parties pointed to valuation analyses prepared by their competing experts, which resulted in wildly divergent valuations. The petitioner’s expert opined that each Synapse share was worth $4.1876 at the time of transaction, while Synapse’s expert provided a valuation range of $0.06 to $0.11 per share. Vice Chancellor Slights acknowledged that this left him in a bind:

… As a result, with the exception of relatively minor adjustments to Synapse’s expert’s conclusions about the amount of its debt and available cash, the Vice Chancellor adopted that expert’s approach to the DCF analysis and concluded that the fair market value of the company’s shares was approximately $0.23 per share – nearly 50% below the purchase price.


Fir Tree Value Master Fund, LP v. Jarden Corp., 2020 WL 3885166, 2020 Del. LEXIS 237 (Del. July 9, 2020)

  • Fir Tree Value Master Fund, LP v. Jarden Corp., 2020 WL 3885166, 2020 Del. LEXIS 237 (Del. July 9, 2020)

On appeal, the petitioners argue the Court of Chancery erred as a matter of law when it adopted Jarden’s unaffected market price as fair value because it ignored what petitioners claim is a “long-recognized principle of Delaware law” that a corporation’s stock price does not equal its fair value. They also claim that the court abused its discretion by refusing to give greater weight to a discounted cash flow analysis populated with data selected by petitioners, ignoring market-based evidence of a higher value, and refusing to use the deal price as a “floor” for fair value.

We affirm the Court of Chancery’s judgment finding $48.31 as the fair value of each share of Jarden stock as of the date of the merger. There is no “long-recognized principle” that a corporation’s unaffected stock price cannot equate to fair value. Although it is not often that a corporation’s unaffected market price alone could support fair value, the court here did consider alternative measures of fair value—a comparable companies analysis, market-based evidence, and discounted cash flow models—but ultimately explained its reasons for not relying on that evidence. Finally, Jarden’s sale price does not act as a valuation floor when the petitioners successfully convinced the court that the deal price resulted from a flawed sale process, and the court found Jarden probably captured substantial synergies in the sale price.

When a market is informationally efficient in the sense that the market’s digestion and assessment of all publicly available information concerning a company is quickly impounded into the company’s stock price, the market price is likely to be more informative of fundamental value. And how informative of fundamental value an informationally efficient market is depends, at least in part, on the extent of material nonpublic information. It is a traditional Delaware view that in some cases the price a stock trades at in an efficient market is an important indicator of its economic value and should be given weight.

via Sheppard Mullin


 今どきStigler先生、Benston先生、Manne先生だけに依拠して、情報開示の強制を否定するという議論を展開することはないと思いますが、これらの論文は、影響力の大きいというのは事実でしょう。私は、Joel Seligman, Historical Need for a Mandatory Corporate Disclosure System, 9 J. Corp. L. 1 (1983)で、これらの議論には十分反論がされていると考えているのですが、現代的な手法に基づいて実証研究を行い、当時の影響について結論を得ることができればと願っていました。この点に関する最近の論文が、最近、SSRNにポストされました。

We examine whether the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 increased the information provided in accounting disclosures. Prior research examining the effects of the Act generally relies on long- window tests and yields mixed results. We improve upon prior designs by examining return, return volatility, and trading volume reactions to earnings news during short earnings announcement windows, which mitigates concerns that our results are driven by confounding events. Further, we employ a difference-in-differences design to control for potential contemporaneous structural changes. We document that the informativeness of earnings announcements of treatment firms (that withheld disclosure before the Act) increases relative to control firms (that disclosed voluntarily before the Act). The results are pronounced for large firms (higher regulatory scrutiny) and firms that do not pay dividends (possibly facing higher agency costs), and are symmetric for positive and negative earnings news.