10 Key Considerations for Going Public with a SPAC

It is a reasonable extrapolation – and we are nothing at Cooley if not wildly reasonable – that more operating companies are considering going public through a merger with a SPAC (commonly referred to as a backdoor IPO) since the beginning of time. There have been some great examples of […]

SEC Amendments to Financial Disclosure Requirements Provide a Welcome Reprieve for Carve-Out Transactions

As previously reported in this Cooley PubCo post, on May 21, the SEC adopted final amendments to the financial disclosure requirements for the acquisition and disposition of businesses. One change relating to the use of abbreviated financial statements stands out as a welcome reform for public or pre-public biopharma and […]

Recorded Roundtable: Assessing Strategic Dealmaking in a Volatile Covid-19 Market

In partnership with The Deal, we hosted a recent discussion with Uber Head of Corporate Development Jennifer Jarret, Goldman Sachs Head of Technology, Media and Telecom M&A Sam Britton, and Cooley M&A Co-Chair Jamie Leigh on navigating unchartered waters when it comes to assessing the current market for dealmaking. Amid […]

Key Themes From Cooley’s M&A Dealmakers Roundtable: Insights on the Life Sciences M&A Market

On May 27th, Andy Pasternak, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer at Horizon Therapeutics and Eric Tokat, a partner in the healthcare practice at Centerview Partners joined Cooley M&A co-chair, Barbara Borden for a discussion of the life sciences M&A market, with a focus on business development. As part of […]

SEC Adopts Final Amendments for M&A Financial Statement Disclosure

Yesterday, once again without an open meeting, the SEC voted (with a dissent from Commissioner Allison Lee) to adopt amendments to the requirements for financial statements relating to acquisitions and dispositions of businesses.  According to the press release, the amendments are intended to improve disclosure of financial information, facilitate more […]

Social Distancing From a (Supposed) Life Partner: Early Lessons From Deals Terminated and On the Rocks in the COVID-19 Era

In “La La Land,” Damien Chazelle’s Oscar winning film, the audience thinks it has a formulaic Hollywood love story on its hands: boy and girl meet; boy and girl fall in love; boy and girl break up; and boy and girl get back together. But in a twist on the […]

Whataday for Special Committees: Salladay v. Lev Clarifies Committee Formation Requirements in Non-MFW Scenarios

In late February as the COVID-19 pandemic was accelerating, the Delaware Chancery Court issued an important decision that is likely to impact transactions during the expected recession. In Salladay v. Lev, C.A. No. 2019-0048-SG (Del. Ch. Feb. 27, 2020) (“Salladay”), the court held that a conflicted transaction – not involving […]

Long-Term Focus: Preparing for Activism + Takeovers Amid COVID-19 Risks

Last week we cautioned that market volatility resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to increasing levels of shareholder activism and unsolicited takeover offers. Although the pandemic has raised countless new risks, companies remain vulnerable to activism attacks that focus on short-term objectives and opportunistic takeover bids stemming from the […]

Webcast Recording: Berkeley Boosts Shorts presents Financial Crises + M&A Markets

Berkeley Boosts Shorts are daily conversations with leaders from law and business. On Tuesday, March 24, Cooley M&A co-chair Jamie Leigh spoke on the topic of financial crises + M&A markets. View recording

Navigating Today: Public Company Hot Spots and M&A Negotiations with the Impact of COVID-19

With last Wednesday’s categorization by the World Health Organization of COVID-19 as a pandemic, schools, places of business and other venues throughout the United States quickly closed in-person locations and moved to remote connectivity as efficiently as possible. On Sunday, the governor of California called for all bars and nightclubs […]

CFIUS Update: Final Regulations Implement FIRRMA

The US Department of the Treasury has issued two final regulations implementing the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018. The final regulations broadly expand the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review foreign investment transactions that implicate US national security concerns and […]

Cooley’s 2019 Tech M&A Year in Review

In the wake of record-setting volume and value metrics in 2018, practitioners eyed the 2019 deal market with healthy skepticism.  Despite a slight downward tick in momentum and overall deal statistics, 2019 remained a robust, dynamic and competitive market with tech deals outpacing other sectors in both volume and critical […]

Cooley’s 2019 Life Sciences M&A Year in Review

2019 was a banner year for billion-dollar life sciences M&A transactions. A wave of big-ticket transactions by global pharmaceutical companies drove life sciences M&A activity to its fourth-largest year on record in 2019, with aggregate deal value in the pharmaceutical, medical and biotech industry reaching $234.2 billion – almost double […]

Representation & Warranty (R&W) Insurance – Current Market Trends

Over the last decade the use of R&W insurance in merger and acquisition transactions has grown exponentially. From 2008 to 2018, the total R&W policies bound per year in North America rose from 40 deals, providing $541 million of coverage to 1500+ R&W insurance transactions, providing aggregate coverage of $38.6 […]

Taking a Play out of the Financial Acquirer’s Playbook

As the NFL season gets underway, it is interesting to see how certain plays go from fringe status to near-universal. A recent example is the “run-pass option” that, before finding a home in every NFL team’s playbook, was used only in high school and college football games. [1] Coaches survey plays […]

Use of Earn-Outs to “Bridge” the Valuation Gap

There’s an old saying, probably at some point attributed to Abraham Lincoln or Einstein, that a bridge shows no allegiance to either side. It’s a wonderful metaphor and one that dealmakers would be wise to remember when working to construct agreements to solve for divergent views on value. What two […]

Inadequate Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Due Diligence Alleged in Starwood Deal as UK ICO Fines Marriott $125M for GDPR Violations

On July 9, 2019, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) publicly announced its intent to impose a £99M (approximately $123M) GDPR fine on Marriott as a result of its acquisition of Starwood and the subsequent discovery and notification of a data breach at Starwood. While some may view this as […]

Dual-Track Processes: How to Turbocharge Your Exit

Exiting an investment is an inherently uncertain process. Even for a thriving business with a viable equity story, committed stakeholders and the right advisers, the final deal terms and valuation are typically guided by factors beyond a company’s control. These include prevailing market sentiment, current appetite for acquisitions in a […]

Antitrust Trends in 2019: Enforcement Watch List for the Year to Come

As 2019 kicks off, the Cooley antitrust group highlights 10 recent developments and trends corporate counsel should be aware of – from the US Supreme Court and lower courts, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission and enforcers around the world – that are likely to impact businesses this […]

Top 10 Cross-Border M&A Trends across the Pond

In spite of a general environment of political and economic uncertainty and a daily sprinkling of stock market volatility, trade wars, sanctions, the U.S. government shutdown disrupting the market for IPOs, Brexit uncertainty, natural disasters and various other crises, cross-border M&A activity momentum continues. New records were attained in the […]

MAEjor Ruling: Delaware Court of Chancery Finds Target Suffers Material Adverse Effect and Acquirer Could Back Out of Transaction

M&A practitioners have long advised boards of directors that the Delaware courts have never found that the events or circumstances in a particular transaction met the contractual standard of having a material adverse effect (or MAE) as defined in a merger or acquisition agreement. Therefore, the board should have a […]

US vs UK Private M&A – Two Agreements Divided by a Common Language?

The two legal systems that most often govern cross-border private M&A transactions are US (most commonly Delaware) law and English law. To the untrained eye, acquisition and sale agreements governed under either system may appear very similar, and differences are classified as “form over substance.” There are, however, a handful […]

CFIUS Pilot Program to Require Mandatory Notification of Certain Transactions

On October 10, 2018, the US Department of the Treasury issued a set of interim regulations for a pilot program implementing certain provisions of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018, which President Trump signed into law August 13, 2018. Read full article  

The Antitrust Review of the Americas 2019

High-tech antitrust enforcement is at the top of the Trump administration antitrust enforcement agenda, including challenges to mergers affecting technology platforms and the pharma and life sciences industries. Statements by senior leadership at both the US Department of Justice and US Federal Trade Commission promise vigorous enforcement in tech and pharma industries, and recent […]

CFIUS Reform Puts Spotlight on Tech Companies, Foreign Government-Controlled Investors

On August 13, 2018, President Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019. The NDAA includes the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, which expands the power of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review certain investments in US businesses […]

How much disclosure of deal dirty laundry is necessary in order to fully inform a Corwin/Volcano cleansing vote?

In Elizabeth Morrison v. Ray Berry et. al., (dated July 9, 2018), the Delaware Supreme Court reversed the Delaware Chancery Court’s dismissal of deal litigation based on obtaining a cleansing vote under Corwin/Volcano because the defendants failed to show “as required under Corwin” that the vote was fully informed. The […]

UK Government Proposes New Regime for Acquisitions That Have National Security Implications

On 24 July 2018, the UK government published details of its proposed new regime for the scrutiny of foreign investments that may have national security implications. The details are contained in the National Security and Investment White Paper and a draft Statutory Statement of Policy Intent (together, the “Proposals”). The […]

Breaking multiple records across the board

Cooley M&A partner Michal Berkner comments in Acquisition Daily on the active year in M&A dealflow. “Conditions continue to be ripe for high levels of cross border M&A activity in the months ahead – cash rich corporates, Private Equity and funds with unprecedented levels of dry power and ticking investment […]

UK Government Introduces Lower National Security Merger Review Thresholds

Under new measures coming into force on 11 June, the UK government will have greater powers to intervene in mergers that potentially raise national security concerns due to the target’s involvement in military and dual-use technologies and certain categories of advanced computer technology. Such transactions will be reviewable by the […]

Ninth Circuit Rules Tender Offer Disclosure Challenges Do Not Require Proof of Intent to Deceive

On April 20, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ruled that shareholder claims for false or misleading tender offer disclosures under Section 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 require a mere showing of negligence, rather than fraudulent intent (scienter). This holding departs from longstanding rulings by five other federal appeals […]

M&A: Key Considerations in Transactions with EU Employees

The employment law landscape across the EU Member States is often markedly different from that in the US. Here, we take a look at five important employment issues to be aware of when a transaction includes employees in the EU. 1. Employee Representative Organizations. At the outset of any transaction […]

M&A Guide to CFIUS: How the Review Process Can Impact Your Transaction

Article 2 of 4 As discussed in a prior article in this series, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is authorized to review certain cross-border mergers, acquisitions and investment transactions and to recommend that the US president take action to mitigate any perceived national security concerns with […]

The Cooley Outlook for 2018 M&A

What’s on tap for 2018 M&A? A recap of 2017 trends and the Cooley outlook on this year’s dealmaking: Buying Innovation: Retention and Non-Competes. For both old-line companies and tech giants, innovation is the name of the game. It is often difficult for large companies to foster innovation organically for […]

Antitrust 2018: Trends and Developments to Watch

Trump’s agency appointments are setting the antitrust agenda in 2018. We offer insights on what to expect in the new year, including an increased scrutiny on vertical mergers; a heightened focus on structural remedies in enforcement actions; a continued spotlight on the pharmaceutical industry – particularly with respect to proposed […]

TechCrunch Equity Podcast: 2017’s Top Tech Acquisitions and What’s in Store for 2018

The January 12, 2018, edition of TechCrunch’s weekly venture capital-focused podcast, Equity, looks back at the past year’s M&A transactions and evaluates what’s in store for 2018. Cooley partner and co-chair of the firm’s M&A practice, Jamie Leigh, discusses 2017’s market uncertainty while predicting a more competitive and bold M&A […]

Delaware Supreme Court Reverses Dell’s Merger Appraisal Price Bump

On December 14, 2017, the Delaware Supreme Court reversed and remanded the Court of Chancery’s appraisal of the fair value of Dell Inc. The trial court’s 2016 ruling, which found that a $25 billion management-led buyout undervalued the computer giant by about $7 billion, sent shock waves across the M&A landscape […]

Trump Antitrust Appointees Finally Set: What to Expect

Leadership at the top of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission appears to be set – nine months into the Trump Administration – with the confirmation of Makan Delrahim as Assistant Attorney General at DOJ and the announcement of the intention to nominate Joseph Simons to […]

The Art of Drafting Milestones for an Earn-Out

Former stockholders of SARcode Bioscience were recently denied a claim that they were entitled to be paid $425 million in milestone payments under a merger agreement. The decision provides an anecdotal lesson in drafting milestones and suggests that the more technically prescribed milestones may be more difficult to meet, even […]

M&A Guide to CFIUS: How the Review Process Can Impact Your Transaction

Article 1 of 4 The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS” or “the Committee”) has received much attention over the past several months for its role in blocking two separate Chinese acquisitions of US semiconductor companies. In September 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting Canyon Bridge Capital […]

M&A Lessons Learned from the Blocked Chinese Acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor

Last week, President Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting the acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation (Lattice), a US computer chip manufacturer, by a Chinese investor. The president’s order blocking the transaction was based on a recommendation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency committee […]

Non-Competes for California Employees in M&A Deals: Don’t Fudge It

Post-employment non-compete covenants are generally invalid in California, with certain limited but important exceptions like when a business or associated goodwill is sold and the buyer – as part of the deal – wants to prohibit certain sellers from competing with their former business. Consequently, buyers of California-based businesses generally […]

DealLawyers.com Webinar: Cybersecurity Due Diligence in M&A

Over the past several years, cybersecurity issues have become prominent areas of emphasis for M&A due diligence. Post-signing revelations about cybersecurity breaches have had a disruptive effect on several high-profile transactions, and are likely to make buyers and sellers even more attentive to cybersecurity issues during the due diligence process. […]

Upcoming Event: Second Annual Symposium on Corporate Law at UC Berkeley

This two-day, multi-panel event will explore the development of corporate law, the evolving relationships between corporate stakeholders, M&A and what corporate lawmaking may look like in the future. Jamie Leigh will speak on a panel on “Trends and Developments in M&A Law” on October 27. October 26 – 27, 2017 […]

Martha Stewart Decision Draws Roadmap for Controller Sales to Third Parties

A transaction involving a controlling stockholder on both sides of the deal presents a clear conflict of interest that will result in heightened scrutiny under the “entire fairness” standard of review if later challenged. However, there is not always a conflict when the controller stands on just one side of […]

Chicago Bridge Reversal Reiterates Need for Consistent Accounting in Working Capital True-Up

The vast majority of private company acquisitions contain some type of purchase price adjustment to account for any changes in certain financial metrics (including working capital) of the target between a specified reference date (or target) and the closing date. For a variety of reasons (including the inability to predict […]

Regulatory Hurdles Facing Mergers With Chinese State-Owned Enterprises

Acquisitions by Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) of companies in the United States (US) and European Union (EU) have grown in recent years. Trade and cross-border investment has increased and Chinese SOEs have extended their reach beyond their domestic market. Those acquisitions, together with joint ventures between Western companies and Chinese […]

Monetizing an Earn-Out – Does That Make It a “Security?”

In life sciences/medical technology transactions, buyers and sellers often use milestone-based and sometimes royalty-based contingent consideration to compensate sellers for assets that are in various stages of development from clinical- to development-stage to product commercialization.[1]  In licensing transactions, there is an established secondary market through which licensors may monetize their […]

New Pubcos Should Consider Defensive Health in Light of ISS/GL Recommendations

ISS and Glass Lewis are continuing to apply special scrutiny to certain corporate governance provisions of “newly public” companies (generally, companies that have gone public in 2014 or later). See our December 2016 client alert. In short, the latest policies (which have evolved over the last few years) provide that […]

When Approval for a Drug “Indication” Gets Murky: Drafting Milestones to Avoid Disputes

According to a recent study by SRS of recent private life sciences deals, disputes over earn-outs arose in about one-third (36%) of all milestones that were expected to be hit by September 2016.[1] While most disputes were not about contract interpretation issues regarding whether an event triggered the milestone or […]

$2 Billion Purchase Price Dispute Over GAAP Compliance Highlights Need for Careful Drafting

Purchase price adjustments are common features (2015 SRS study: 77% of deals) of private merger agreements that are generally intended to ensure that the acquired company will have the same level of cash or working capital to operate the business post closing that it had at signing. However, if not […]