- 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
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