Court of Chancery Reminds That Rifled Precision Is a Two-Way Street

On November 14, 2020, the Court of Chancery offered a practice pointer for any entity responding to a books and records request pursuant to Delaware law and underscored the “rifled precision” standard applicable to such inspection requests.

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Delaware Won’t Let Just Anybody In

Perhaps because it addresses the usually unexciting topic of forum non conveniens, a recent decision by Vice Chancellor Laster has flown largely under the radar. In Focus Financial Partners, LLC v. Holsopple, C.A. No. 2020-0188-JTL (Nov. 2, 2020), the Court issued a characteristically in-depth analysis of that sleepy doctrine in a case involving claims relating to the enforcement of a noncompete.

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Delaware Supreme Court Holds That Appraisal Actions Do Not Constitute “Securities Claims” Covered by D&O Policy

The Delaware Supreme Court reversed a decision of the state’s Superior Court, holding that an appraisal action arising from Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of Solera Holdings, Inc. (Solera) did not fall within the definition of a “Securities Claim” for the purposes of coverage under Solera’s primary and excess directors’ and officers’ insurance policies (D&O Policies). The decision cautions that such policies should be carefully reviewed on a periodic basis, and that would-be buyers should do the same during diligence.

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Delaware Supreme Court Reaffirms Import of Deal Value in Resolving Appraisal Petitions

The Delaware Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that, absent significant market or process concerns, deal price should be a significant (if not outcome-determinative) factor in the appraisal of Delaware corporations.

In 2017, Sibayne Gold, Ltd. (Sibayne) acquired Stillwater Mining Co. (Stillwater) in a reverse triangular merger that entitled the holder of each Stillwater share to $18 of merger consideration at closing. Petitioners, former Stillwater stockholders, perfected their appraisal rights — a judicial determination of the “fair value” of their holdings — and argued that a flawed deal process made the $18 per share deal price unreliable. This included an increase in commodity prices between signing and closing that increased Stillwater’s value by nine percent.

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Court of Chancery Invokes Rarely Successful “Fraud-on-the-Board” Theory, Permitting Duty of Loyalty Claims to Proceed

The Court of Chancery recently allowed to proceed post-closing claims that a merger was completed at an inadequate price, premised largely on allegations that the Company’s CEO and chairman was conflicted and tilted the process in favor of the buyer. This decision serves as a reminder for fiduciaries considering end stage transactions — including the Court’s reminder that “the sins of just one fiduciary can support a viable Revlon claim.”

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California Court Upholds Delaware Corporation’s Exclusive Federal Forum Charter Provision

The Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo, recently enforced a Delaware corporation’s charter provision mandating that claims brought under the Securities Act of 1933 be filed in a federal court. This marked the first decision outside of Delaware to enforce an exclusive federal forum provision since the Delaware Supreme Court decided in March 2020 that such provisions are valid under Delaware law.

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Vice Chancellor Laster Awards No Damages in Dispute Over Failed Anthem/Cigna Merger

On August 31, 2020, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Chancery Court issued his long-awaited resolution of the prolonged litigation involving the failed merger of Anthem, Inc. and Cigna Corporation — two of the nation’s largest health insurance companies. As Vice Chancellor Laster found and detailed in the 311-page opinion, no party won this protracted battle, no merger was consummated, and no damages were awarded to either side.1 See In re Anthem-Cigna Merger Litigation, Case No. 2017-0114-JTL, at 305-06 (Del. Ch. 2020).

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Meet the Team

<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/s/stern-andrew-w">Andrew W. Stern</a>

Andrew W. Stern

New York
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/n/newell-charlotte-k">Charlotte K. Newell</a>

Charlotte K. Newell

New York
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/a/austin-elizabeth-y">Elizabeth Y. Austin</a>

Elizabeth Y. Austin

Chicago
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/b/bartlett-jaime-a">Jaime A. Bartlett</a>

Jaime A. Bartlett

San Francisco
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/d/dolan-matthew-j">Matthew J. Dolan</a>

Matthew J. Dolan

Palo Alto
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/d/ducayet-james-w">Jim Ducayet</a>

Jim Ducayet

Chicago
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/g/garcia-yolanda-c">Yolanda C. Garcia</a>

Yolanda C. Garcia

Dallas
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/h/heyworth-james">James Heyworth</a>

James Heyworth

New York
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/k/kaplan-alex-j">Alex J. Kaplan</a>

Alex J. Kaplan

New York
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/m/muenz-jon">Jon Muenz</a>

Jon Muenz

New York
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/r/ross-ian-m">Ian M. Ross</a>

Ian M. Ross

Miami

<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/s/sheppard-hille-r">Hille R. Sheppard</a>

Hille R. Sheppard

Chicago
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/s/sultanian-heather">Heather Benzmiller Sultanian</a>

Heather Benzmiller Sultanian

Chicago
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/v/velevis-robert-s">Robert S. Velevis</a>

Robert S. Velevis

Dallas

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