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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


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 ...


Does Shareholder Voting Matter? Evidence From The Takeover Market, Paul Mason, Usha Rodrigues, Mike Stegemoller, Steven Utke Jan 2018

Does Shareholder Voting Matter? Evidence From The Takeover Market, Paul Mason, Usha Rodrigues, Mike Stegemoller, Steven Utke

Scholarly Works

Voting rights are a basic shareholder-protection mechanism. Outside of the core voting requirements state law imposes (election of directors and votes on fundamental changes), federal law grants shareholders additional voting rights. But these rights introduce concomitant costs into corporate governance. Each grant of a voting right thus invites the question: is the benefit achieved worth the cost the vote imposes?

The question is not merely a theoretical one. Recently the SEC, concerned about Nasdaq’s potential weakening of shareholder voting protections, has lamented that little evidence exists on the value of the shareholder vote. This Article provides that evidence. It ...


Supreme Court Amicus Brief Of 19 Corporate Law Professors, Friedrichs V. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, John C. Coates, Iv, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Bernard S. Black, John C. Coffee Jr., James D. Cox, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Henry Hansmann, Robert J. Jackson Jr., Marcel Kahan, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, Michael Klausner, Reinier Kraakman, Donald C. Langevoort, Edward B. Rock, Mark J. Roe, Helen S. Scott Jan 2015

Supreme Court Amicus Brief Of 19 Corporate Law Professors, Friedrichs V. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, John C. Coates, Iv, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Bernard S. Black, John C. Coffee Jr., James D. Cox, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Henry Hansmann, Robert J. Jackson Jr., Marcel Kahan, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, Michael Klausner, Reinier Kraakman, Donald C. Langevoort, Edward B. Rock, Mark J. Roe, Helen S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court has looked to the rights of corporate shareholders in determining the rights of union members and non-members to control political spending, and vice versa. The Court sometimes assumes that if shareholders disapprove of corporate political expression, they can easily sell their shares or exercise control over corporate spending. This assumption is mistaken. Because of how capital is saved and invested, most individual shareholders cannot obtain full information about corporate political activities, even after the fact, nor can they prevent their savings from being used to speak in ways with which they disagree. Individual shareholders have no “opt ...


A Canadian Model Of Corporate Governance, Carol Liao Jan 2014

A Canadian Model Of Corporate Governance, Carol Liao

Faculty Publications

What is Canada’s actual legal model to govern its corporations? Recent landmark judicial decisions indicate Canada is shifting away from an Anglo-American definition of shareholder primacy. Yet the Canadian securities commissions have become increasingly influential in the governance sphere, and by nature are shareholder-focused. Shareholders’ rights have increased well beyond what was ever contemplated by Canadian corporate laws, and the issue of greater shareholder vs. board control has now become the topic of live debate. The future of Canada's overall model seems to rest on what will be more compelling: the constancy of the corporate statutes and trajectory ...


A Canadian Model Of Corporate Governance: Where Do Shareholders Really Stand?, Carol Liao Jan 2014

A Canadian Model Of Corporate Governance: Where Do Shareholders Really Stand?, Carol Liao

Faculty Publications

This feature article in the Director Journal summarizes the findings from the report, "A Canadian Model of Corporate Governance: Insights from Canada's Leading Legal Practitioners," produced for the Canadian Foundation for Governance Research and the Institute of Corporate Directors (also available on SSRN).

In the report, interviews were conducted with 32 leading senior legal practitioners across Canada to opine on the fundamental principles that are driving the development of Canadian corporate governance. The report found that Canadian common law has made the process of considering stakeholders in the "best interests of the corporation" more overt, well beyond what is ...


Corporate Governance And Social Welfare In The Common Law World, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2014

Corporate Governance And Social Welfare In The Common Law World, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The newest addition to the spate of recent theories of comparative corporate governance is Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World: The Political Foundations of Shareholder Power, an important new book by Christopher Bruner. Focusing on the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia, Bruner argues that the robustness of the country’s social welfare system is the key determinant of the extent to which its corporate governance is shareholder-centered. This explains why corporate governance is so shareholder-oriented in the United Kingdom, which has universal healthcare and generous unemployment benefits, while shareholders’ powers are more attenuated in the United States ...


The Destructive Ambiguity Of Federal Proxy Access, Jill E. Fisch May 2012

The Destructive Ambiguity Of Federal Proxy Access, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After almost seventy years of debate, on August 25, 2010, the SEC adopted a federal proxy access rule. This Article examines the new rule and concludes that, despite the prolonged rule-making effort, the new rule is ambiguous in its application and unlikely to increase shareholder input into the composition of corporate boards. More troubling is the SEC’s ambiguous justification for its rule which is neither grounded in state law nor premised on a normative vision of the appropriate role of shareholder nominations in corporate governance. Although the federal proxy access rule drew an unprecedented number of comment letters and ...


Shareholder Ownership And Primacy, Julian Velasco Jan 2010

Shareholder Ownership And Primacy, Julian Velasco

Journal Articles

According to the traditional view, the shareholders own the corporation. Until relatively recently, this view enjoyed general acceptance. Today, however, there seems to be substantial agreement among legal scholars and others in the academy that shareholders do not own corporations. In fact, the claim that shareholders do own corporations often is dismissed as merely a “theory,” a “naked assertion,” or even a “myth.” And yet, outside of the academy, views on the corporation remain quite traditional. Most people - not just the public and the media, but also politicians, and even bureaucrats and the courts - seem to believe that the shareholders ...


When 'Good' Corporate Governance Makes 'Bad' (Financial) Firms: The Global Crisis And The Limits Of Private Law, Nicholas C. Howson Jan 2009

When 'Good' Corporate Governance Makes 'Bad' (Financial) Firms: The Global Crisis And The Limits Of Private Law, Nicholas C. Howson

Articles

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, investors, analysts, legislators, and pundits have spotlighted “good” or “improved” corporate governance as a remedy for all that presently ails us. It is one remedy in a long wish list that includes tougher requirements for risk capital, liquidity, and leverage; compensation and bonus reform; reimposition ofthe Glass-Steagall-like separation of bank “utility” and “casino” functions; the downsizing or breakup of institutions deemed “too big to fail;” enhanced consumer protection; securities law liability for secondary violators (like credit rating agencies); direct taxation of proprietary trading; “macroprudential” regulation; and new transparency requirements ...


Taking Shareholder Rights Seriously, Julian Velasco Jan 2007

Taking Shareholder Rights Seriously, Julian Velasco

Journal Articles

The great corporate scandals of the recent past and the resulting push for legal reform have revived the role of the shareholder in the corporation as a subject of great debate. Those who favor an expanded role for shareholders in corporate governance tend to focus on developing new legal rights for shareholders, and their critics respond with reasons why such rights are unnecessary and inappropriate. While these issues certainly are worthy of consideration, issues concerning existing shareholder rights are more fundamental. If existing rights are adequate or could be improved, then new rights may not be necessary; but if existing ...


The Fundamental Rights Of The Shareholder, Julian Velasco Jan 2006

The Fundamental Rights Of The Shareholder, Julian Velasco

Journal Articles

Shareholders have many legal rights, but they are not all of equal significance. This article will argue that two rights — the right to elect directors and the right to sell shares — are more important than any others, that these rights should be considered the fundamental rights of the shareholder, and that, as such, they deserve a great deal of respect and protection by law.

The history of corporate law has been one of increasing flexibility for directors and decreasing rights for shareholders. Although the law seems to have coalesced around the norm of shareholder primacy, this is not necessarily reflected ...