Voting Commitments Matter and Will Be Enforced: Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Chancery Decision Holding Activist Stockholders to Their Bargain

When companies settle proxy contests with activist stockholders, the activists generally give up stockholder-level influence in exchange for board-level influence.  In a typical agreement in this setting, activists gain board seats in exchange for a commitment to vote their shares with the board’s recommendation on proposals put to stockholders.  Activists also agree to standstill periods in which they refrain from taking actions opposed to the board, and from increasing their holdings above a specified cap.

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Sidley Perspectives on M&A and Corporate Governance

Sidley is pleased to share the June 2022 issue of Sidley Perspectives on M&A and Corporate Governance, a quarterly newsletter designed to keep you current on what we consider to be the most important legal developments involving M&A and corporate governance matters. (more…)

Governance Challenges 2022: Legal Considerations For Oversight of Climate-Related Risks

In the past few years, we have seen a remarkable acceleration in appreciation of the importance of ESG to corporate decision-making, enterprise risk management, and the ability for a corporation to withstand crisis. Companies face a growing set of expectations from employees, customers, investors, and regulators with respect to how they incorporate ESG considerations into business decisions and how they mitigate and disclose risks related to ESG. The thesis is that companies that appropriately manage ESG risks and capitalize on opportunities are more resilient to adversity and perform better financially over the long term. (more…)

Board Oversight: Key Focus Areas for 2022

In her regular column on corporate governance issues, Holly Gregory explores issues that are likely to require board attention in 2022 in an environment of heightened scrutiny of the board’s oversight role. (more…)

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

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

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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Sidley Perspectives on M&A and Corporate Governance

Sidley is pleased to share the June 2021 issue of Sidley Perspectives on M&A and Corporate Governance, a quarterly newsletter designed to keep you current on what we consider to be the most important legal developments involving M&A and corporate governance matters.

(more…)