Category: Insight

Articles and updates affecting M&A transactions

Top 10 2018 Cross-Border M&A Trends

In spite of a general environment of political and economic uncertainty across the globe and a daily sprinkling of stock markets’ volatility, trade wars, sanctions, natural disasters and various other crises, 2018 has so far been a great year for cross-border M&A. New records have been attained, eclipsing the previous […]

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 […]

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 […]

2017 M&A Trends Series: Negotiating Anti-Reliance Language

So far this year, deal parties are approaching M&A with cautious optimism. This series of Cooley M&A blog posts include some brief observations that offer some M&A highlights over the past year and our thoughts for the year to come. Negotiating Anti-Reliance Language Buyers continued to assert fraud claims in private […]

2017 M&A Trends Series: Appraisal Risks Factor High

So far this year, deal parties are approaching M&A with cautious optimism. This series of Cooley M&A blog posts include some brief observations that offer some M&A highlights over the past year and our thoughts for the year to come. Appraisal Risks Factor High In deals where stockholders have the right […]

2017 M&A Trends Series: Delaware Confronts M&A Litigation

So far this year, deal parties are approaching M&A with cautious optimism. This series of Cooley M&A blog posts include some brief observations that offer some M&A highlights over the past year and our thoughts for the year to come. Delaware Confronts M&A Litigation M&A deal litigation continues to plague most […]

SEC Announces Enforcement Action for Failure to Disclose Banker Fee Arrangements

On February 14, 2016, the SEC settled an enforcement action against CVR Energy for providing misleading disclosure about the fees payable to CVR’s two financial advisors in connection with CVR’s defense of a hostile tender offer by affiliates of Carl Icahn in 2012. The SEC did not impose any civil […]

2017 M&A Trends Series: Rep & Warranty (R&W) Insurance is Here

So far this year, deal parties are approaching M&A with cautious optimism. This series of Cooley M&A blog posts include some brief observations that offer some M&A highlights over the past year and our thoughts for the year to come. Rep & Warranty (R&W) Insurance is Here Previously, transaction insurance (or […]

2017 M&A Trends Series: Uncertain Times Cast Focus on Deal Certainty

So far this year, deal parties are approaching M&A with cautious optimism. This series of Cooley M&A blog posts include some brief observations that offer some M&A highlights over the past year and our thoughts for the year to come. Uncertain Times Cast Focus on Deal Certainty Public-target M&A deals and […]

2017 M&A Trends Series: Innovation Pressures Fuel M&A

So far this year, deal parties are approaching M&A with cautious optimism. This series of Cooley M&A blog posts include some brief observations that offer some M&A highlights over the past year and our thoughts for the year to come. Innovation Pressures Fuel M&A The WSJ has written about the rise […]

2017 M&A Trends Series: The Trump Effect

So far this year, deal parties are approaching M&A with cautious optimism. This series of Cooley M&A blog posts include some brief observations that offer some M&A highlights over the past year and our thoughts for the year to come. The Trump Effect How President Donald Trump will shape the regulatory […]

2017 M&A Trends Series: Cautious Optimism in the New Year

So far this year, deal parties are approaching M&A with cautious optimism. Over the next few days, we will run a series of Cooley M&A blog posts with some brief observations that offer some M&A highlights over the past year and our thoughts for the year to come. Cautious Optimism […]

Allergan Fined for Failure to Disclose Merger Negotiations with Third Parties During Hostile Bid

At what point do “discussions” with a friendly merger party become “negotiations” that are required to be publicly disclosed under the tender offer rules in response to a hostile bid? In a recent settlement of cease and desist proceedings against Allergan in connection with Valeant and Pershing Square’s well-publicized hostile […]

Antitrust 2017: Trends and Developments to Watch

1. Transition to a Trump Administration is top of the agenda President-elect Donald Trump’s DOJ and FTC transition team appointments and public short list of candidates to run the agencies indicate that antitrust enforcement in the Trump Administration will most likely mirror recent Republican administrations, which have tended to be […]

Data Points from Recent Appraisal Decisions

As concerns over the potential exercise of appraisal rights are increasingly being factored into deal price, data points from recent Delaware appraisal decisions may help inform a party of its appraisal risks and, if an appraisal claim is filed, may also be useful in deciding whether to settle the claim […]

Why we Expect Private Equity to Invest More in Tech in 2017

With all the analysis on domestic and international political events and their potential impact on M&A trends, it’s easy to miss that 2016 represented the continuation of a meaningful paradigm shift in private equity. With increasing frequency, traditional private equity investors are focusing on tech. Even in the relatively slow […]

ISS and Glass Lewis Update 2017 Proxy Voting Policies

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis (GL), the two most influential proxy advisory firms to stockholders of public companies, recently released updates to their voting policies in 2017, including updates to their policies on “newly public” companies that have adopted anti-takeover protection measures considered “adverse to shareholder rights.” Our […]

Corp. Fin. Posts New Guidance on Banker Fee Disclosure of Alternative Fees for Tender Offers

On November 18, 2016, the Staff of the Division of Corporation Finance issued two new C&DIs that address banker fee disclosures for tender offers on Schedule 14D-9. The new C&DIs clarify that disclosure is required of “all” material terms for compensation including the types of fees payable to the financial […]

Treatment of M&A Non-solicits and Employee Comp Diligence Under New Antitrust Guidelines

Last month, the FTC and DOJ issued a set of antitrust guidelines addressing certain employment and compensation practices that are most likely to occur in the high-tech and healthcare industries where highly-skilled employees are in demand.  Specifically, the guidelines clarify that an agreement among competing employers to limit or fix […]

Cybersecurity Diligence in M&A Transactions

Recently, in the midst of an M&A transaction involving Verizon and Yahoo!, news broke of a Yahoo! cybersecurity breach that had occurred approximately two years earlier. This event raised a lot of speculation around what effect the breach may have on the deal, including by how much it might change […]

Federal Antitrust Authorities Step Up Merger Enforcement – Recent Victories Buoy Enforcers

Obama Administration antitrust enforcers have faced criticism over the last year for not being sufficiently aggressive, allegedly leading to concentrated industries to the detriment of consumers. The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission appear to have responded by stepping up enforcement.The agencies’ efforts are bearing fruit. In just the […]

Federal Court Gives Teeth to Operational Efforts Covenant in Sanofi/Genzyme Earn-Out Dispute

We keep a close eye on developing cases regarding earn-outs and contingent payment rights in light of the prevalent use of these arrangements in life sciences deals and their increasing use in non-life sciences deals. On September 8, 2016, a federal court in New York declined to dismiss a claim […]

Court Gives Energy Transfer the Right to Walk Based on its Counsel’s Inability to Deliver the Required Tax Opinion

In a rare decision involving unusual facts, the Delaware Court of Chancery held that a buyer (Energy Transfer Equity, L.P.) had the right to terminate a signed merger agreement with its target (The Williams Companies, Inc.) that Energy Transfer no longer wished to close due to the unexpected decline in […]

Federal Appeals Court Rejects “Disclosure-Only” Settlement

Yesterday, in In re: Walgreen Co., the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a “disclosure-only settlement” involving Walgreen Co.’s 2014 purchase of Alliance Boots and the combined company’s subsequent reorganization. In a strongly-worded but divided opinion, the Court reversed the district court’s ruling, which approved (albeit reluctantly) the disclosure settlement […]