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Mootness Fees, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Randall Thomas May 2019

Mootness Fees, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Randall Thomas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We examine the latest development in merger litigation: the mootness fee. Utilizing a hand-collected sample of 2,320 unique deals from 2003-2018, we find that Delaware’s crackdown on merger litigation substantially altered the merger litigation landscape. Although merger litigation rates remain high, and in 2018 83% of deals experienced litigation, plaintiffs’ lawyers have fled Delaware. In 2018 only 5% of completed deals experienced merger litigation in Delaware compared to 50%-60% in prior years. These cases have migrated to federal court where in 2018 92% of deals with litigation experienced a filing. We find that at least 65% of ...


Centros, California’S “Women On Boards” Statute And The Scope Of Regulatory Competition, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon May 2019

Centros, California’S “Women On Boards” Statute And The Scope Of Regulatory Competition, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We examine the Centros decision through the lens of SB 826 – the California statute mandating a minimum number of women on boards. SB 826, like the Centros decision, raises questions about the scope of the internal affairs doctrine and its role in encouraging regulatory competition. Despite the claim that US corporate law is characterized by regulatory competition, in the US, the internal affairs doctrine has led to less variation in corporate law than in Europe. We theorize that this is due to the shareholder primacy norm in US corporate law which results in the internal affairs doctrine focusing on matters ...


Toward A Horizontal Fiduciary Duty In Corporate Law, Asaf Eckstein, Gideon Parchomovsky May 2019

Toward A Horizontal Fiduciary Duty In Corporate Law, Asaf Eckstein, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Fiduciary duty is arguably the single most important aspect of our corporate law system. It consists of two distinct sub-duties—a duty of care and a duty of loyalty—and it applies to all directors and corporate officers. Yet, under extant law, the duty only applies vertically, in the relationship between directors and corporate officers and the firm. At present, there exists no horizontal fiduciary duty: directors and corporate officers owe no fiduciary duty to each other. Consequently, if one of them fails her peers, they cannot seek direct legal recourse against her even when they stand to suffer significant ...


Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch Apr 2019

Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Sustainability is receiving increasing attention from issuers, investors and regulators. The desire to understand issuer sustainability practices and their relationship to economic performance has resulted in a proliferation of sustainability disclosure regimes and standards. The range of approaches to disclosure, however, limit the comparability and reliability of the information disclosed. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has solicited comment on whether to require expanded sustainability disclosures in issuer’s periodic financial reporting, and investors have communicated broad-based support for such expanded disclosures, but, to date, the SEC has not required general sustainability disclosure.

This Article argues that claims about the relationship ...


Intermediated Securities Holding Systems Revisited: A View Through The Prism Of Transparency, Thomas Keijser, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Mar 2019

Intermediated Securities Holding Systems Revisited: A View Through The Prism Of Transparency, Thomas Keijser, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter explains several benefits of adopting transparent information technology systems for intermediated securities holding infrastructures. Such transparent systems could ameliorate various prevailing problems that confront existing tiered, intermediated holding systems, including those related to corporate actions (dividends, voting), claims against issuers and upper-tier intermediaries, loss sharing and set-off in insolvency proceedings, money laundering and terrorist financing, and privacy, data protection, and confidentiality. Moreover, transparent systems could improve the functions of intermediated holding systems even without changes in laws or regulations. They also could provide a catalyst for law reform and a roadmap for substantive content of reforms. Among potential ...


The New Titans Of Wall Street: A Theoretical Framework For Passive Investors, Jill E. Fisch, Asaf Hamdani, Steven Davidoff Solomon Mar 2019

The New Titans Of Wall Street: A Theoretical Framework For Passive Investors, Jill E. Fisch, Asaf Hamdani, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Passive investors — ETFs and index funds — are the most important development in modern day capital markets, dictating trillions of dollars in capital flows and increasingly owning much of corporate America. Neither the business model of passive funds, nor the way that they engage with their portfolio companies, however, is well understood, and misperceptions of both have led some commentators to call for passive investors to be subject to increased regulation and even disenfranchisement. Specifically, this literature takes a narrow view both of the market in which passive investors compete to manage customer funds and of passive investors’ participation in the ...


Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe Mar 2019

Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two models dominate the debate on the theory of the firm. Under the management-power model, decision-making power exclusively belongs to corporate insiders (officers and directors). The competing shareholder-power model contemplates increasing shareholder power to limit managerial authority. Both models are focused on managerial agency costs and address the appropriate allocation of power between insiders and shareholders to minimize these costs. Both models also assume that insiders and shareholders are engaged in a competitive struggle for corporate power.

Corporate practice has moved on, however. Increasingly, the insider-shareholder dynamic is collaborative, not competitive. This Article traces the development of insider-shareholder collaboration and ...


Corporate Law And The Myth Of Efficient Market Control, William W. Bratton, Simone Sepe Jan 2019

Corporate Law And The Myth Of Efficient Market Control, William W. Bratton, Simone Sepe

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In recent times, there has been an unprecedented shift in power from managers to shareholders, a shift that realizes the long-held theoretical aspiration of market control of the corporation. This Article subjects the market control paradigm to comprehensive economic examination and finds it wanting.

The market control paradigm relies on a narrow economic model that focuses on one problem only, management agency costs. With the rise of shareholder power, we need a wider lens that also takes in market prices, investor incentives, and information asymmetries. General equilibrium theory (GE) provides that lens. Several lessons follow from reference to this higher-order ...


The Problem Of Sunsets, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2019

The Problem Of Sunsets, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

An increasing percentage of corporations are going public with dual class stock in which the shares owned by the founders or other corporate insiders have greater voting rights than the shares sold to public investors. Some commentators have criticized the dual class structure as unfair to public investors by reducing the accountability of insiders; others have defended the value of dual class in encouraging innovation by providing founders with insulation from market pressure that enables them to pursue their idiosyncratic vision.

The debate over whether dual class structures increase or decrease corporate value is, to date, unresolved. Empirical studies have ...


Fiduciary Blind Spot: The Failure Of Institutional Investors To Prevent The Illegitimate Use Of Working Americans' Savings For Corporate Political Spending, Leo E. Strine Jr. Dec 2018

Fiduciary Blind Spot: The Failure Of Institutional Investors To Prevent The Illegitimate Use Of Working Americans' Savings For Corporate Political Spending, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For decades, American workers have been subjected to increasing pressure to become forced capitalists, in the sense that to provide for retirement for themselves, and to pay for college for their children, they must turn part of their income every month over to mutual funds who participate in 401(k) and 529 programs. These “Worker Investors” save for the long term, often hold portfolios that are a proxy for the entire economy, and depend on the economy’s ability to generate good jobs and sustainable growth in order for them to be able to have economic security. In recent years ...


Bankruptcy For Banks: A Tribute (And Little Plea) To Jay Westbrook, David A. Skeel Jr. Oct 2018

Bankruptcy For Banks: A Tribute (And Little Plea) To Jay Westbrook, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this brief essay, to be included in a book celebrating the work of Jay Westbrook, I begin by surveying Jay’s wide-ranging contributions to bankruptcy scholarship. Jay’s functional analysis has had a profound effect on scholars’ understanding of key issues in domestic bankruptcy law, and Jay has been the leading scholarly figure on cross-border insolvency. After surveying Jay’s influence, I turn to the topic at hand: a proposed reform that would facilitate the use of bankruptcy to resolve the financial distress of large financial institutions. Jay has been a strong critic of this legislation, arguing that financial ...


Citizens United As Bad Corporate Law, Leo E. Strine Jr., Jonathan Macey Aug 2018

Citizens United As Bad Corporate Law, Leo E. Strine Jr., Jonathan Macey

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Article we show that Citizens United v. FEC, arguably the most important First Amendment case of the new millennium, is predicated on a fundamental misconception about the nature of the corporation. Specifically, Citizens United v. FEC, which prohibited the government from restricting independent expenditures for corporate communications, and held that corporations enjoy the same free speech rights to engage in political spending as human citizens, is grounded on the erroneous theory that corporations are “associations of citizens” rather than what they actually are: independent legal entities distinct from those who own their stock. Our contribution to the literature ...


Bankruptcy’S Uneasy Shift To A Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr., George Triantis Jun 2018

Bankruptcy’S Uneasy Shift To A Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr., George Triantis

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The most dramatic development in twenty-first century bankruptcy practice has been the increasing use of contracts to shape the bankruptcy process. To explain the new contract paradigm—our principal objective in this Article-- we begin by examining the structure of current bankruptcy law. Although the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 has long been viewed as mandatory, its voting and cramdown rules, among others, invite considerable contracting. The emerging paradigm is asymmetric, however. While the Code and bankruptcy practice allow for ex post contracting, ex ante contracts are viewed with suspicion.

We next use contract theory to assess the two modes of ...


Finding The Right Balance In Appraisal Litigation: Deal Price, Deal Process, And Synergies, Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Michael L. Wachter Feb 2018

Finding The Right Balance In Appraisal Litigation: Deal Price, Deal Process, And Synergies, Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article examines the evolution of Delaware appraisal litigation and concludes that recent precedents have created a satisfactory framework in which the remedy is most effective in the case of transactions where there is the greatest reason to question the efficacy of the market for corporate control, and vice versa. We suggest that, in effect, the developing framework invites the courts to accept the deal price as the proper measure of fair value, not because of any presumption that would operate in the absence of proof, but where the proponent of the transaction affirmatively demonstrates that the transaction would survive ...


Foreword: Bankruptcy’S New And Old Frontiers, William W. Bratton, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2018

Foreword: Bankruptcy’S New And Old Frontiers, William W. Bratton, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Symposium marks the fortieth anniversary of the enactment of the 1978 Bankruptcy Code (the “1978 Code” or the “Code”) with an extended look at seismic changes that currently are reshaping Chapter 11 reorganization. Today’s typical Chapter 11 case looks radically different than did the typical case in the Code’s early years. In those days, Chapter 11 afforded debtors a cozy haven. Most everything that mattered occurred within the context of the formal proceeding, where the debtor enjoyed agenda control, a leisurely timetable, and judicial solicitude. The safe haven steadily disappeared over time, displaced by a range of ...


Governance By Contract: The Implications For Corporate Bylaws, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2018

Governance By Contract: The Implications For Corporate Bylaws, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Boards and shareholders are increasing using charter and bylaw provisions to customize their corporate governance. Recent examples include forum selection bylaws, majority voting bylaws and advance notice bylaws. Relying on the contractual conception of the corporation, Delaware courts have accorded substantial deference to board-adopted bylaw provisions, even those that limit shareholder rights.

This Article challenges the rationale for deference under the contractual approach. With respect to corporate bylaws, the Article demonstrates that shareholder power to adopt and amend the bylaws is, under Delaware law, more limited than the board’s power to do so. As a result, shareholders cannot effectively ...


The Shifting Tides Of Merger Litigation, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2018

The Shifting Tides Of Merger Litigation, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In 2015, Delaware made several important changes to its laws concerning merger litigation. These changes, which were made in response to a perception that levels of merger litigation were too high and that a substantial proportion of merger cases were not providing value, raised the bar, making it more difficult for plaintiffs to win a lawsuit challenging a merger and more difficult for plaintiffs’ counsel to collect a fee award.

We study what has happened in the courts in response to these changes. We find that the initial effect of the changes has been to decrease the volume of merger ...


The New Bond Workouts, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2018

The New Bond Workouts, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Bond workouts are a famously dysfunctional method of debt restructuring, ridden with opportunistic and coercive behavior by bondholders and bond issuers. Yet since 2008 bond workouts have quietly started to work. A cognizable portion of the restructuring market has shifted from bankruptcy court to out-of-court workouts by way of exchange offers made only to large institutional investors. The new workouts feature a battery of strong-arm tactics by bond issuers, and aggrieved bondholders have complained in court. The result has been a new, broad reading of the primary law governing workouts, section 316(b) of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 ...


The Modigliani-Miller Theorem At 60: The Long-Overlooked Legal Applications Of Finance’S Foundational Theorem, Michael S. Knoll Jan 2018

The Modigliani-Miller Theorem At 60: The Long-Overlooked Legal Applications Of Finance’S Foundational Theorem, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller’s The Cost of Capital, Corporation Finance, and the Theory of Investment. Widely hailed as the foundation of modern finance, their article, which purports to demonstrate that a firm’s value is independent of its capital structure, is little known by lawyers, including legal academics. That is unfortunate because the Modigliani-Miller capital structure irrelevancy proposition (when inverted) provides a framework that can be extremely useful to legal academics, practicing attorneys and judges.


Horizontal Shareholding And Antitrust Policy, Fiona M. Scott Morton, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Horizontal Shareholding And Antitrust Policy, Fiona M. Scott Morton, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

“Horizontal shareholding” occurs when one or more equity funds own shares of competitors operating in a concentrated product market. For example, the four largest mutual fund companies might be large shareholders of all the major United States air carriers. A growing body of empirical literature concludes that under these conditions market output in the product market is lower and prices higher than they would otherwise be.

Here we consider how the antitrust laws might be applied to this practice, identifying the issues that courts are likely to encounter and attempting to anticipate litigation problems. We assume that neither the mutual ...


Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min Aug 2017

Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recently, courts have embraced the contractarian theory that corporate charters and bylaws constitute a “contract” between the shareholders and the corporation and have been more willing to uphold bylaws unilaterally adopted by the directors. This paper examines the contractarian theory by drawing a parallel between amending charters and bylaws, on the one hand, and amending contracts, on the other. In particular, the paper compares the right to unilaterally amend corporate bylaws with the right to unilaterally modify contract terms, and highlights how contract law imposes various limitations on the modifying party’s discretion. More generally, when the relationship of contracting ...


Perfectly Frank: A Reflection On Quality Lawyering In Honor Of R. Franklin Balotti, Leo E. Strine Jr., James J. Hanks Jr., John F. Olson, A. Gilchrist Sparks, E. Norman Veasey, Gregory P. Williams Apr 2017

Perfectly Frank: A Reflection On Quality Lawyering In Honor Of R. Franklin Balotti, Leo E. Strine Jr., James J. Hanks Jr., John F. Olson, A. Gilchrist Sparks, E. Norman Veasey, Gregory P. Williams

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay honoring the late R. Franklin Balotti focuses upon certain of the key attributes necessary to practice business law effectively and ethically. Among these attributes are a strong work ethic, the integrity to stand behind your own advice and candidly admit when things do not go according to plan, empathy for how others will view your client’s actions and the ability to communicate that perception to your client, the confidence to change the pace of a transaction when a slow down or time out is warranted, and the ability to have some fun and laugh (even at yourself ...


Who Bleeds When The Wolves Bite? A Flesh-And-Blood Perspective On Hedge Fund Activism And Our Strange Corporate Governance System, Leo E. Strine Jr. Apr 2017

Who Bleeds When The Wolves Bite? A Flesh-And-Blood Perspective On Hedge Fund Activism And Our Strange Corporate Governance System, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper examines the effects of hedge fund activism and so-called wolf pack activity on the ordinary human beings—the human investors—who fund our capital markets but who, as indirect of owners of corporate equity, have only limited direct power to ensure that the capital they contribute is deployed to serve their welfare and in turn the broader social good.

Most human investors in fact depend much more on their labor than on their equity for their wealth and therefore care deeply about whether our corporate governance system creates incentives for corporations to create and sustain jobs for them ...


Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Mergers of business firms violate the antitrust laws when they threaten to lessen competition, which generally refers to a price increase resulting from a reduction in output. However, a merger that threatens competition may also enable the post-merger firm to reduce its costs or improve its product. Attitudes toward mergers are heavily driven by assumptions about efficiency gains. If mergers of competitors never produced efficiency gains but simply reduced the number of competitors, a strong presumption against them would be warranted. We tolerate most mergers because of a background, highly generalized belief that most or at least many produce cost ...


Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff Jan 2017

Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Top law firms are notoriously competitive, fighting for prime clients and matters. But some of the most elite firms are also deeply cooperative, willingly sharing key details about their finances and strategy with their rivals. More surprisingly, they pay handsomely to do so. Nearly half of the AmLaw 100 and 200 belong to mutual insurance organizations that require member firms to provide capital; partner time; and important information about their governance, balance sheets, risk management, strategic plans, and malpractice liability. To answer why these firms do so when there are commercial insurers willing to provide coverage with fewer burdens, we ...


The Bylaw Puzzle In Delaware Corporate Law, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2017

The Bylaw Puzzle In Delaware Corporate Law, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In less than a decade, Delaware’s legislature has overruled its courts and reshaped Delaware corporate law on two different occasions, with proxy access bylaws in 2009 and with shareholder litigation bylaws in 2015. Having two dramatic interventions in quick succession would be puzzling under any circumstances. The interventions are doubly puzzling because with proxy access, Delaware’s legislature authorized the use of bylaws or charter provisions that Delaware’s courts had banned; while with shareholder litigation, it banned bylaws or charter provisions that the courts had authorized. This Article attempts to unravel the puzzle.

I start with corporate law ...


The Separation Of Corporate Law And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton Jan 2017

The Separation Of Corporate Law And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A half century ago, corporate legal theory pursued an institutional vision in which corporations and the law that creates them protect people from the ravages of volatile free markets. That vision was challenged on the ground during the 1980s, when corporate legal institutions and market forces came to blows over questions concerning hostile takeovers. By 1990, it seemed like the institutions had won. But a different picture has emerged as the years have gone by. It is now clear that the market side really won the battle of the 1980s, succeeding in entering a wedge between corporate law and social ...


Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose I: Evidence From My Hometown, Leo E. Strine Jr. Dec 2016

Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose I: Evidence From My Hometown, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper is the first in a series considering a rather tired argument in corporate governance circles, that corporate laws that give only rights to stockholders somehow implicitly empower directors to regard other constituencies as equal ends in governance. By continuing to suggest that corporate boards themselves are empowered to treat the best interests of other corporate constituencies as ends in themselves, no less important than stockholders, scholars and commentators obscure the need for legal protections for other constituencies and for other legal reforms that give these constituencies the means to more effectively protect themselves.

Using recent events in the ...


Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose Ii: An Encouragement For Future Consideration From Professors Johnson And Millon, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2016

Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose Ii: An Encouragement For Future Consideration From Professors Johnson And Millon, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper is the second in a series considering the argument that corporate laws that give only rights to stockholders somehow implicitly empower directors to regard other constituencies as equal ends in governance. This piece was written as part of a symposium honoring the outstanding work of Professors Lyman Johnson and David Millon, and it seeks to encourage Professors Johnson and Millon, as proponents of the view that corporations have no duty to make stockholder welfare the end of corporate law, to focus on the reality that corporate power translates into corporate purpose.

Drawing on examples of controlled companies that ...


Hedge Fund Activism, Poison Pills, And The Jurisprudence Of Threat, William W. Bratton Aug 2016

Hedge Fund Activism, Poison Pills, And The Jurisprudence Of Threat, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter reviews the single high profile case in which twentieth century antitakeover law has come to bear on management defense against a twenty-first century activist challenge—the Delaware Court of Chancery’s decision to sustain a low-threshold poison pill deployed against an activist in Third Point LLC v. Ruprecht. The decision implicated an important policy question: whether a twentieth century doctrine keyed to hostile takeovers and control transfers appropriately can be brought to bear in a twenty-first century governance context in which the challenger eschews control transfer and instead makes aggressive use of the shareholder franchise. Resolution of the ...