Category: Deal Terms

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]