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

Go-Shops Revisited

The Original Study, which examined deals announced in 2006-07, reported that a higher bid emerged during the go-shop period 12.5% of the time (6 instances out of 48 go-shop deals). Using a new database of M&A transactions over the past nine years, we find that the jump rate in the 2010-2018 timeframe was 5.6% (6 out of 108 go-shops), declining to 2.5% (1 out of 40) in the period 2015-2018. The last successful go-shop in our sample occurred approximately three years ago, in January 2016, when II-VI Inc. successfully jumped GaAs Labs’ offer for ANADIGICS, Inc. during a 25-day go-shop period.

As one of us concluded in the Original Study, “go-shop provisions can be a better mousetrap’ in deal structuring – a `win-win’ for both buyer and seller.”  However, over the ensuing decade, a broader set of transactional planners distorted the go-shop technology in ways that achieve their clients’ objectives but no longer satisfy broader corporate law objectives of promoting allocational efficiency in the M&A marketplace. (footnote omitted)

via Harvard, SSRN

Jonathan R. Macey & Joshua Mitts, Asking the Right Question: The Statutory Right of Appraisal and Efficient Markets, SSRN (2018)

We contend that courts should look at the market price of the securities of a target company whose shares are being valued, unadjusted for the news of the merger, rather than at the deal price that was reached by the parties in the transaction.

Unadjusted market price has two distinct advantages over deal price. First, the unadjusted market price automatically subtracts the target firm’s share of the synergy gains and agency cost reductions impounded in the deal price. This is appropriate to do because dissenting shareholders in appraisal proceedings are not entitled to these increments of value which are supplied by the bidder. Second, the unadjusted market price is unaffected by any flaws in the deal process that led to the ultimate merger agreement. Recently, commentators have contended that deal prices in merger transactions should be ignored in appraisal cases where there are flaws in the process that led to the sale.

Fernan Restrepo, Judicial Deference, Procedural Protections, and Deal Outcomes in Freezeout Transactions: Evidence from the Effect of MFW

This work next explores the effect of MFW on the gains of the target shareholders, as measured by the premium over market prices, the cumulative abnormal returns around the announcement of the transaction, and the change from the buyer’s first offer to the final offer. This part of the analysis considers two hypotheses. The first hypothesis predicts that the gains of the target should be higher after MFW because shareholder voting acts as a check against negligent or captured boards, and even if boards discharged appropriately their fiduciary duties, the target shareholders can still use the threat of a veto to push acquirers to raise their offer (Subramanian, 2005, 15; Edelman and Thomas, 2015, 468; Jiang, Li, and Mei, 2016). As a result, the fact that MFW effectively incentivized MOM conditions should lead to an upward pressure on deal prices. The second hypothesis suggests, in contrast, that the target gains should remain similar after MFW because freezoeuts were already subject to significant scrutiny before 2013, and judicial scrutiny appears to be an effective substitute for procedural protections (Subramanian, 2007; Restrepo, 2013; Restrepo and Subramanian, 2015). As discussed in Section 4, the results generally support this hypothesis.

William W. Bratton, The Separation of Corporate Law and Social Welfare (2017)

It is often said today that, as a matter of economics, shareholder value enhancement proxies as social welfare enhancement. But my essay shows the association to be false. It is also said that shareholding has been democratized, aligning the shareholder interest with that of society as a whole. But this proposition also is false. Although more people have interests in shares, the shareholder interest retains substantially the same upper bracket profile that characterized it at the end of World War II.

Corporate law, thus separated from social welfare, today provides a framework well-suited to attainment of shareholder objectives, which in fact have been realized for the most part. If the practice continues to evolve in this mode, the field of corporate law can be expected to fall away from public policy margin and evolve as a narrow private law domain.

via Columbia Law School

Suresh Nallareddy, Robert Pozen & Shivaram Rajgopal, Consequences of Mandatory Quarterly Reporting: The U.K. Experience (2017)

… We exploit the start of mandatory quarterly reporting by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2007 and the end of the requirement in 2014 in the United Kingdom to examine corporate and capital market behavior. After imposition of mandatory quarterly reporting in 2007, we find (i) a dramatic decline in the number of companies that issue reports with quantitative information (defined as including both sales and earnings numbers for the quarter); (ii) a substantial increase in companies announcing managerial guidance for the upcoming year’s earnings or sales; and (iii) an increase in analyst following for all sample companies. However, using a difference-in-differences analysis, we find that the imposition of mandatory quarterly reporting has virtually no impact on firms’ investment decisions. Companies that voluntarily moved back from quarterly to semi-annual reporting after 2014 have experienced a reduction in analyst coverage, but no detectable increases in their levels of corporate investments.

via Oxford