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Enhanced Scrutiny Contributors

02 September 2021

Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosures in Proxy Statements: Benchmarking the Fortune 50

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It is no secret that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently ramped up its focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures. In February 2021, Acting Chair of the SEC Allison Herren Lee directed the Division of Corporation Finance to enhance focus on climate-related disclosure in public company filings, including reviewing the extent to which public companies address the topics identified in the SEC’s 2010 Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change. Then, in March 2021, she requested public comment on climate change disclosures (which has generated over 600 comment letters, the vast majority of which are supportive of mandatory climate disclosure rules), and new SEC rules on climate risk and human capital disclosures are expected to be proposed yet this year. In addition, holding true to its “all-of-SEC” approach to ESG, the SEC has formed a Climate and ESG Task Force (composed of 22 members and led by the Acting Deputy Director of Enforcement), which will use data analytics to look for material gaps and misstatements in climate risk disclosures under existing rules.

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09 July 2021

“How to Be ESG” — A Registered Fund Board’s Guide to ESG Compliance

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How can directors of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing prepare for the increased regulatory scrutiny by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)? The SEC, which is primarily concerned with “greenwashing,” the practice of conveying a false image to investors that a product is ESG-friendly, is focused on registered funds’ disclosures, controls, and policies and procedures.

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02 June 2021

Shareholder Activism and ESG: What Comes Next, and How to Prepare

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The recent successes of shareholder activists against Big Oil are one of many signs of mounting and effective pressure from investors on public companies to enhance their performance and disclosures on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. This article provides background on the potential for increased integration of ESG in shareholder activism campaigns and offers practical guidance for companies to preempt ESG-themed shareholder activism.

Please click here to read the full posting.

12 April 2021

Delaware Governor Announces Two Court of Chancery Nominations to Fill Retiring Chancellor Bouchard’s Seat

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On April 9, 2021, Delaware Governor John Carney announced a number of judicial nominations, including two nominations to the Court of Chancery:

  • Vice Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick has been nominated to become the next Chancellor of the Court of Chancery, replacing Andre Bouchard who previously announced his retirement, effective April 30, 2021. She will be the first woman to serve in that role.
  • Lori W. Will, a partner at Wilson Sonsini in Delaware, has been nominated to fill McCormick’s seat as a Vice Chancellor.

We wish Chancellor Bouchard well in his retirement and thank him for his service on the Court, and look forward to the tenures of Chancellor McCormick and Vice Chancellor Will.

18 March 2021

Creative Deal Structures: Energizing the M&A Market Post-Crisis

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Sidley and Mergermarket are pleased to present Creative Deal Structures: Energizing the M&A Market Post-Crisis.

Creative structures have become increasingly important in bridging the gap between sellers’ expectations and buyers’ willingness to pay. Based on interviews with 150 respondents from U.S. corporates and private equity firms, this report analyzes the ways in which M&A is moving forward in spite of the pandemic.

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01 March 2021

Shareholder Activism, Hostile M&A, and Related Issues for the 2021 Proxy Season

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It’s proxy season, and for most companies, the time for annual meetings is just around the bend. Publicly traded companies are coming off a tumultuous year. The link between corporation and community has never been more at the forefront — from COVID-19 to racial justice to worker treatment. And businesses are facing activist pressure. How should they navigate this complex environment?

Our latest episode of The Sidley Podcast addresses the interplay between shareholder activism and hostile M&A, including as to how ESG may impact activism. It also offers practical advice on what you can do as you prepare for a potential attack by an activist or hostile bidders. Join host and Sidley partner, Sam Gandhi, as he speaks with three of the firm’s thought leaders on proxy season — Beth BergKai Liekefett, and Derek Zaba.

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07 January 2021

Webinar: Hostile Takeovers and Shareholder Activism in a COVID-19 World

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Please join us for an exclusive discussion on the current state of hostile M&A and shareholder activism. The leaders of Sidley’s Shareholder Activism practice will discuss the evolution of hostile M&A and shareholder activism in the COVID era, what to expect in the 2021 proxy season, and how to stay on the front foot in the current environment.

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04 January 2021

SPACs Are Booming — So What Does the Future Hold?

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In 2020, a new acronym burst into the mainstream business lexicon: SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies.

In the simplest sense, SPACs offer a faster, cheaper way of taking a company public. By sidestepping the expensive underwriting fees, arduous road shows, and unpredictable market pricing associated with initial public offerings (IPOs), SPACs have emerged as an attractive alternative strategy for investors and business owners alike.

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