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.

via DealLawyers.com

Salladay v. Lev, 2020 Del. Ch. LEXIS 78, 2020 WL 954032 (Del. Ch. Feb. 27, 2020) (Glasscock, V.C.)

  • Salladay v. Lev, 2020 Del. Ch. LEXIS 78, 2020 WL 954032 (Del. Ch. Feb. 27, 2020) (Glasscock, V.C.)

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently confirmed in Salladay v. Lev that conditioning a conflicted (but non-controller) transaction upon approval by a fully empowered, disinterested and independent special committee can restore the business judgment standard of review for the transaction (rather than the more burdensome entire fairness standard that would otherwise apply). However, the court (in an opinion by Vice Chancellor Glasscock) found that such special committee “cleansing” works only if the special committee protections are put in place prior to the commencement of discussions about what might constitute an acceptable price. In Salladay, the court held that the company chairman’s discussions with the acquirer regarding price created a price collar before the special committee was formed that set the tone for future negotiations, and therefore, the special committee’s approval of the transaction did not restore the business judgment standard of review.

via Cooley, Potter Anderson, Morris James, GD&C, S&C

William T. Allen (1948–2019)

 Allen教授は、1985年にデラウェア州の衡平法裁判所の大法官(Chancellor)に任命され、以後、12年の任期中に多数の有名な判決を執筆されました。2006年にニューヨーク大学のLL.M.プログラムに入学した際には、会社法プログラムのディレクターでした。

 Intercoは、Allen教授が大法官として執筆されたものの中で(その後最高裁判所に否定されているにもかかわらず)私のお気に入りの判決です。ニューヨーク大学在学中のlunchonセミナーの講演者が「デラウェア州最高裁判所がAllen裁判官の判決を覆したとしても、Allen裁判官がいつも正しい」というようなこといったのが印象に残っています。Allen裁判官のお話は、時に深淵で難しく、その真意を理解することが難しいことがありましたが、Interco判決の素晴らしさを含めて、今思い出して漸く意味が分かることも多いです。

 ニューヨーク大学でのKahan教授とAllen教授の演習では、Kahan教授に一歩も引かずに議論をされていました。スーツが良く似合い、多弁で、Blackberryを腰に下げていて、多忙な実務家を体現していました。演習の中のAllen先生の言葉で印象的なのは、会社法学で重要なのは、エージェンシー理論と情報の非対称性だと仰っていたことです。私が、エージェンシー理論と情報の非対称性にこだわるのは、この影響が強いように思います。

 私にとって、Allen教授は、とてもチャーミングな方で、いかめしそうな大法官という役職とは無縁な方でした。演習で、Lucian Arye Bebchuk, The Case Against Board Veto in Corporate Takeovers, 69 U. Chi. L. Rev. 973 (2002)を報告した際に、同論文の中に出てきたAllen大法官の「Human nature may incline even one acting in subjective good faith to rationalize as right that which is merely personally beneficial」という一文を紹介したのですが、Allen先生は、鼻のしたをこすり、また、胸を張って誇らしげでした。そのコミカルなリアクションのおかげで報告の場がなごみました。また、卒業式のセレモニーで、会社法専攻の学生は、Allen教授に名前を呼ばれるのですが、演習に参加していた私の名前を呼ぶ際に、ウインクしてくれたことを覚えています。卒業後は、ニューヨーク大学のLL.M.を受験する学生を推薦するメールを送るくらいしか関係がありませんでしたが、いつも丁寧なメールを返してくれました。教職についたあとは、そのことを祝福し、「Congratulations This is a wonderful job as you know!」というメッセージを送ってくださいました。

 実務と学問のバランスに配慮し、規範的な議論や法政策に基づく議論をすることが重要であることを教えてくれましたし、今後もAllen教授に学ぶことは多いように思います。ご冥福をお祈りいたします。

via WLRK, Delaware Business Now, Delaware Judiciary, Chancery Daily, Professor Bainbridge, John C. Coffee Jr., Ronald J. Gilson, Jack B. Jacobs, Theodore N. Mirvis and Paul K. Rowe, Leo E. Strine Jr.,

Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg—による裁判管轄の合意

The Delaware Court of Chancery, in Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg, C.A. No. 2017-0931-JTL (Del. Ch. Dec. 19, 2018), has declared “ineffective and invalid” provisions in three corporations’ certificates of incorporation that purported “to require any claim under the Securities Act of 1933 to be brought in federal court” (the “Federal Forum Provisions”).

Ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment, the Court, by Vice Chancellor Laster, ruled that “[t]he constitutive documents of a Delaware corporation cannot bind a plaintiff to a particular forum when the claim does not involve rights or relationships that were established by or under Delaware’s corporate law. In this case, the Federal Forum Provisions attempt to accomplish that feat. They are therefore ineffective and invalid.”

In Re PLX Technology Inc. Stockholders Litigation, C.A. 9880-VCL (October 16, 2018)

This massive decision is a primer on Delaware director fiduciary duty. It covers just about all the important issues, with an enormous amount of citations and explanation. It is particularly helpful in showing how directors must meet their disclosure obligations, both to their other directors and to stockholders. It is, of course, very much a product of its unique facts.

What may be its most lasting impact is its conclusion that the deal price in a merger established fair value and that yet again a DCF analysis was defective. At least for publicly traded and well shopped companies, we may be seeing the end of DCF as the preferred measure of value in Delaware. (emphasis added)

via Morris James

Annual Review of Key Delaware Corporate and Commercial Decisions 2016

Francis G.X.Pileggi writes:

Delaware Supreme Court

  • Hazout v. Tsang

  • Genuine Parts Co. v. Cepec.

  • OptimisCorp v. Waite.

  • El Paso Pipeline GP Co., LLC v. Brinckerhoff

Delaware Court of Chancery

  • Marino v. Patriot Rail Company LLC.

  • In Re Trulia Inc. Stockholder Litigation.

  • Amalgamated Bank v. Yahoo! Inc.

  • Obeid v. Hogan

  • Medicalgorithmics S.A. v. AMI Monitoring, Inc.

  • Bizzarri v. Suburban Waste Services, Inc.

  • Larkin v. Shah.

Morris James:

  • In re Trulia, Inc. Stockholders Litigation, 129 A.3d 884 (Del. Ch. 2016)

  • Singh v. Attenborough, 137 A.3d 151 (Del. 2016) (ORDER); In re Volcano Corp. Stockholder Litigation, 143 A.3d 727 (Del. Ch. 2016); Larkin v. Shah, 2016 WL 4485447 (Del. Ch. Aug. 25, 2016)

  • Amalgamated Bank v. Yahoo!, Inc., 132 A.3d 752 (Del. Ch. 2016)

  • Hazout v. Tsang, 134 A.3d 274 (Del. 2016)

  • Sandys v. Pincus, 2016 WL 7094027 (Del. Dec. 5, 2016)

  • In re Appraisal of Dell, Inc., 2016 WL 3186538 (Del. Ch. May 31, 2016)

  • In re Books-A-Million Stockholder Litigation, 2016 WL 5874974 (Del. Ch. Oct. 10, 2016)

  • In re Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Derivative Litigation, 2016 WL 2908344 (Del. Ch. May 13, 2016)

  • El Paso Pipeline GP Company LLC v. Brinckerhoff, 2016 WL 7380418 (Del. Dec. 20, 2016)

via Francis G.X.Pileggi

完全な基準が適用される事案で利益相反のない取締役に関して訴え却下の申し立てが認められなかった事例—In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Stockholder Litigation 2014 WL 4418169 (Del. Ch. Sept. 9, 2014)

In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Stockholder Litigation, 2014 WL 4418169 (Del. Ch. Sept. 9, 2014)は,支配株主が行った少数株主のフリーズアウトの取引に関して完全な基準が適用される事案で,定款にデラウェア州一般会社法102条(b)項(7)号の定めがあるにも拘わらず,利益相反のない取締役に関して訴え却下の申し立てが認められなかった事例です。

Sullivan & Cromwellのニュースレターでの要約は,次の通りです。

In an opinion issued on September 9, 2014, the Delaware Court of Chancery (VC Glasscock) held that in a controlling stockholder freeze-out merger subject to entire fairness review at the outset, disinterested directors entitled under a company’s charter to exculpation for duty of care violations cannot prevail in a motion to dismiss even though the claims against them for breach of fiduciary duty are not pled with particularity; instead, the issue of whether they will be entitled to exculpation must await a developed record, post-trial. The decision once again highlights the litigation cost that will be imposed on companies engaged in controlling stockholder freeze-out mergers for failing to employ both of the safeguards that Delaware has endorsed to ensure business judgment, instead of entire fairness, review— (1) an up-front non-waivable commitment by the controller to condition the transaction on an informed vote of a majority of the minority stockholders and (2) approval of the transaction by a well-functioning and broadly empowered special committee of disinterested directors. At the motion to dismiss stage, disinterested directors effectively will be treated in the same manner as controllers and their affiliated directors.

via Sullivan & Cromwell, Francis Pileggi