The Annual Survey Working Group of the M&A Jurisprudence Subcommittee, Mergers and Acquisitions Committee, of the ABA Business Law Section reports annually on judicial decisions of significance to mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) practitioners. The topics covered in the 2023 survey include contractual interpretation, fiduciary duties, and statutory constructs.
The path to a mootness fee is well-worn. A stockholder plaintiff sues alleging that a company’s disclosures or other decisions were inadequate or improper. The company responds by issuing disclosures or taking actions that moot the plaintiff’s claims. This, laudably, avoids the expense and distraction of litigation.
In a recent decision, Vice Chancellor Will refused to award expectation damages based on a buyer’s “speculative” synergistic cash flow resulting from a merger. The opinion demonstrates the rigorous approach that the Delaware Court of Chancery takes to calculating damages related to M&A transactions even with strong evidence of fraud, and offers valuable insight to companies calculating damages from lost synergies in M&A transactions.
Three Sidley partners come together to discuss various issues surrounding a decision to release earnings earlier than scheduled, including the legal, investor relations, and practical considerations that should be considered in making such a decision.
A recent Delaware Court of Chancery decision offers an important lesson on the limits of court review of an arbitration award, particularly when parties forego a fully reasoned award. Even though Vice Chancellor Glasscock found that “[t]he arbitration proceeding and the resulting award [were] flawed,” the court refused to overturn the award that appeared to find a contractual nonparty jointly and severally liable for breaches of the representations and warranties in a purchase agreement. The risk parties sometimes take when they contract for arbitration, the court found, is “receiving an arbitral decision that is questionable under the law and facts, but that is nonetheless—not coming within the narrow window of judicial oversight—not reviewable.”
The Delaware Supreme Court recently held in In re Tesla Motors Stockholders’ Litigation, ___ A.3d ___, 2023 WL 3854008 (Del. Jun. 6, 2023) (“Tesla”), that an entire fairness analysis does not require perfection, so long as the acquisition itself was the result of fair dealing and fair price. Practitioners and boards engaging with a potentially conflicted transaction would be well served to study this opinion with care, particularly where the potential acquiror cannot (or chooses not to) employ a special committee of independent directors to handle negotiations.