Articles and updates affecting M&A transactions
Aware that parties to an acquisition need to share legal advice in connection with pre-closing activities, a New York appellate court permits the common-interest privilege to protect pre-closing communication, even without pending or anticipated litigation.
The Delaware Supreme Court rules that an integration clause in an acquisition agreement does not transform non-binding earnout provisions in a letter of intent into binding obligations under the definitive agreement.
Court reviews detailed allegations and potential scope of recovery for fraud alleged against pre-closing officers, directors and, notably, innocent selling stockholders in a private company acquisition.
Exclusive forum provisions (in a corporation’s bylaws or charter) designate a specific court(s) to serve as the exclusive venue(s) for intra-corporate litigation—e.g., derivative suits; actions (including class actions) asserting breach of fiduciary duty by a director, officer, or other employee to the corporation or its shareholders, and other disputes asserting […]
Antitrust enforcement in high-tech industries – those that employ the most advanced, cutting-edge technology – is a top priority for the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
SEC Issues Guidance on Proxy Voting and Proxy Advisory Firms – Will this Change Proxy Voting Behavior or the Role of Proxy Advisers?
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued regulatory guidance (see related Q&A) regarding proxy voting responsibilities, including the role of proxy advisory firms and use of advisory firm advice. Implicit in the staff’s guidance is the expectation that firms and advisers incorporate updates to their voting policies and processes […]
In a recent DC Circuit case, In re: Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., No. 14-5055 (June 27, 2014), the DC Court of Appeals clarified the scope of the attorney-client privilege in the context of a business’s internal investigation and described four aspects of an internal investigation that may vary while […]
A recent amendment to Delaware law clarifies certain statute of limitations rules, providing parties with increased flexibility to control survival periods for acquisition agreement indemnity provisions and related breach-of-contract claims. The amendment to the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) is described below, along with drafting tips for successfully incorporating […]
Recognizing the growing interest in using technologies such as social media to communicate with security holders and potential investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission released a new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretation addressing the use of hyperlinks in Tweets and other social media communications to satisfy the SEC’s legending requirements. Historically, […]
The Delaware Chancery Court recently reviewed the application of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in connection with “earnout” provisions in an acquisition agreement. In American Capital Acquisition Partners, LLC v. LPL Holdings, Inc., the court allowed a claim for a breach of the implied covenant to […]
Summarized below are the currently proposed changes to the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) that, if enacted, would become effective on August 1, 2014.
In re Third Point LLC v. Ruprecht, et al. (Del. Ch. May 2, 2014). In the much anticipated review of Sotheby’s two-tiered stockholder rights plan adopted in response to Third Point’s activist campaign and proxy contest, the Delaware Court of Chancery held that the Sotheby’s board did not breach its […]
The recently concluded Department of Justice enforcement action against Bazaarvoice, Inc.’s 2012 acquisition of rival PowerReviews, Inc. is a reminder of important principles for antitrust enforcement in high-tech industries.
The recent drumbeat of aggressive antitrust and regulatory merger enforcement has put a spotlight on the importance of understanding the antitrust and regulatory risks raised by a potential deal, and efficiently allocating that risk in the transaction agreement. While transactions in dynamic technology, healthcare/life sciences, new media and telecom industries […]
Shareholder activism gains momentum and publicity with each passing proxy season. Activist-focused funds increase capital and investor expectations, proxy contest tactics become more practiced and skillful, nominees for board positions are industry tailored and more sophisticated and social media increases the reach (and entertainment value) of activist communications. What comes […]
In a much anticipated judicial development, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the holding of In re MFW Shareholders Litigation (Del. Ch. 2013) that if certain procedural protections are in place from the outset of a transaction, a controlling stockholder buyout otherwise subject to the entire fairness standard could be subject […]
In Rural Metro, the Delaware Chancery Court held that RBC Capital Markets, LLC, as financial advisor to the Rural Metro (Target), had aided and abetted Target’s directors in breach of their fiduciary duties in connection with its sale to Warburg Pincus (Buyer). This is the latest in a string of […]
A new Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) rule, which became effective December 16, 2013, targets the pharmaceutical industry and requires Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR) notices for a broader array of licensing transactions, expanding the types of deals that have to be notified to the government to allow antitrust enforcement agencies to scrutinize […]
The Federal Trade Commission has completed its annual adjustments to the filing thresholds under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act. The new, higher thresholds will take effect on February 24, 2014 and apply to all transactions which close on or after this date but before the next round of adjustments takes effect in […]
Delaware law limits parties’ ability to contractually agree to lengthen the time period for making claims beyond the statute of limitations that would otherwise apply to the underlying claims. A line of Delaware cases (the most well known of which is GRT, Inc. v. Marathon GTF Technology, Ltd.) have held […]
As we turn the page on a new year, many of us reflect upon the noteworthy events of the past as we look forward to the future. Deal lawyers are not exempt from this phenomenon. We present herewith our choices for the 10 Most Influential M&A Developments of this Millennium […]
Developments Under Delaware Law in the Enforceability of Non-Reliance Provisions Against Fraud Claims
A series of cases in 2013 refined the law in Delaware relating to the enforceability of non-reliance clauses. Non-Reliance clauses are generally intended to limit a buyer’s ability to make fraud claims based upon representations made outside of the acquisition agreement (e.g., in diligence materials in the data room, spoken […]
In Great Hill, the court held that the right to assert the privilege over attorney-client communications and ownership of such communications passes to the acquirer in acquisitions structured as mergers under Delaware law. This case clarifies the law in Delaware mergers by expressly refusing to follow prior New York case […]
The FTC recently announced a settlement with a specialty software developer, requiring it to divest a business that it had acquired more than a year earlier for $8.7 million. The challenge to an acquisition that was so small that it did not have to be reported under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act […]
Cooley partner Craig Menden coauthored the memo, Fraud and Non-Reliance and Exclusive Remedy Clauses in Acquisition Agreements, to the Subcommittee on M&A Jurisprudence.
In a case involving a common fact pattern, Trados “Part 2” provides a very helpful analysis of a board’s fiduciary obligations when common stockholders receive no consideration in an acquisition. Trados was acquired in 2005 for $60 million in cash and stock. The preferred stockholders received $52.2 million of the […]
The amendments to Delaware law streamlining the back-end merger process in transactions structured as two-step tender offers went into effect August 1. DGCL 251(h) and the related changes to the DGCL permit acquirers to complete the back-end merger after receiving 50% plus one share tendered without being required to obtain […]
Amendments to California Corporations Code (“CCC”) §603(b) were signed into law on August 16, 2013 and will become effective January 1, 2014. CCC §603(b) relates to written consents of shareholders in certain reorganization transactions. CCC §603(b) currently requires that a corporation approving a reorganization by shareholder written consent either (1) solicit […]