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Corporate governance

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Corporate Finance

Articles 1 - 17 of 17

Full-Text Articles in Law

Mutual Fund Stewardship And The Empty Voting Problem, Jill E. Fisch Oct 2021

Mutual Fund Stewardship And The Empty Voting Problem, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When Roberta Karmel wrote the articles that are the subject of this symposium, she was skeptical of both the potential value of shareholder voting and the emerging involvement of institutional investors in corporate governance. In the ensuing years, both the increased role and engagement of institutional investors and the heightened importance of shareholder voting offer new reasons to take Professor Karmel’s concerns seriously. Institutional investors have taken on a broader range of issues ranging from diversity and political spending to climate change and human capital management, and their ability to influence corporate policy on these issues has become more ...


Synthetic Governance, Byung Hyun Anh, Jill E. Fisch, Panos N. Patatoukas, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2021

Synthetic Governance, Byung Hyun Anh, Jill E. Fisch, Panos N. Patatoukas, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Although securities regulation is distinct from corporate governance, the two fields have considerable substantive overlap. By increasing the transparency and efficiency of the capital markets, securities regulation can also enhance the capacity of those markets to discipline governance decisions. The importance of market discipline is heightened by the increasingly vocal debate over what constitutes “good” corporate governance.

Securities product innovation offers new tools to address this debate. The rise of index-based investing provides a market-based mechanism for selecting among governance options and evaluating their effects. Through the creation of bespoke governance index funds, asset managers can create indexes that correspond ...


Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2020

Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Rule 10b-5’s antifraud catch-all is one of the most consequential pieces of American administrative law and most highly developed areas of judicially-created federal law. Although the rule broadly prohibits securities fraud in both public and private company stock, the vast majority of jurisprudence, and the voluminous academic literature that accompanies it, has developed through a public company lens.

This Article illuminates how the explosive growth of private markets has left huge portions of U.S. capital markets with relatively light securities fraud scrutiny and enforcement. Some of the largest private companies by valuation grow in an environment of extreme ...


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 ...


Startup Governance, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2019

Startup Governance, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Although previously considered rare, over three hundred startups have reached valuations over a billion dollars. Thousands of smaller startups aim to follow in their paths. Despite the enormous social and economic impact of venture-backed startups, their internal governance receives scant scholarly attention. Longstanding theories of corporate ownership and governance do not capture the special features of startups. They can grow large with ownership shared by diverse participants, and they face issues that do not fit the dominant principal-agent paradigm of public corporations or the classic narrative of controlling shareholders in closely held corporations.

This Article offers an original, comprehensive framework ...


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


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 ...


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 ...


Confronting The Peppercorn Settlement In Merger Litigation: An Empirical Analysis And A Proposal For Reform, Jill E. Fisch, Sean J. Griffith, Steven M. Davidoff Jan 2015

Confronting The Peppercorn Settlement In Merger Litigation: An Empirical Analysis And A Proposal For Reform, Jill E. Fisch, Sean J. Griffith, Steven M. Davidoff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Shareholder litigation challenging corporate mergers is ubiquitous, with the likelihood of a shareholder suit exceeding 90%. The value of this litigation, however, is questionable. The vast majority of merger cases settle for nothing more than supplemental disclosures in the merger proxy statement. The attorneys that bring these lawsuits are compensated for their efforts with a court-awarded fee. This leads critics to charge that merger litigation benefits only the lawyers who bring the claims, not the shareholders they represent. In response, defenders of merger litigation argue that the lawsuits serve a useful oversight function and that the improved disclosures that result ...


Adapting To The New Shareholder-Centric Reality, Edward B. Rock Jan 2013

Adapting To The New Shareholder-Centric Reality, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After more than eighty years of sustained attention, the master problem of U.S. corporate law—the separation of ownership and control—has mostly been brought under control. This resolution has occurred more through changes in market and corporate practices than through changes in the law. This Article explores how corporate law and practice are adapting to the new shareholder-centric reality that has emerged.

Because solving the shareholder–manager agency cost problem aggravates shareholder–creditor agency costs, I focus on implications for creditors. After considering how debt contracts, compensation arrangements, and governance structures can work together to limit shareholder–creditor ...


Shareholders And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Jan 2013

Shareholders And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article addresses the question whether (and how) the shareholders matter for social welfare. Answers to the question have changed over time. Observers in the mid-twentieth century believed that the socio-economic characteristics of real world shareholders were highly pertinent to social welfare inquiries. But they went on to conclude that there followed no justification for catering to shareholder interest, for shareholders occupied elite social strata. The answer changed during the twentieth century’s closing decades, when observers came to accord the shareholder interest a key structural role in the enhancement of economic efficiency even as they also deemed irrelevant the ...


Inside-Out Corporate Governance, David A. Skeel Jr., Vijit Chahar, Alexander Clark, Mia Howard, Bijun Huang, Federico Lasconi, A.G. Leventhal, Matthew Makover, Randi Milgrim, David Payne, Romy Rahme, Nikki Sachdeva, Zachary Scott Jan 2011

Inside-Out Corporate Governance, David A. Skeel Jr., Vijit Chahar, Alexander Clark, Mia Howard, Bijun Huang, Federico Lasconi, A.G. Leventhal, Matthew Makover, Randi Milgrim, David Payne, Romy Rahme, Nikki Sachdeva, Zachary Scott

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Until late in the twentieth century, internal corporate governance—that is, decision making by the principal constituencies of the firm—was clearly distinct from outside oversight by regulators, auditors and credit rating agencies, and markets. With the 1980s takeover wave and hedge funds’ and equity funds’ more recent involvement in corporate governance, the distinction between inside and outside governance has eroded. The tools of inside governance are now routinely employed by governance outsiders, intertwining the two traditional modes of governance. We argue in this Article that the shift has created a new governance paradigm, which we call inside-out corporate governance ...


The Model Business Corporation Act At Sixty: Shareholders And Their Influence, Lisa Fairfax Jan 2011

The Model Business Corporation Act At Sixty: Shareholders And Their Influence, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the sixty years since the Committee on Corporate Laws (Committee) promulgated the Model Business Corporation Act (MBCA), there have been significant changes in corporate law and corporate governance. One such change has been an increase in shareholder activism aimed at enhancing shareholders’ voting power and influence over corporate affairs. Such increased shareholder activism (along with its potential for increase in shareholder power) has sparked considerable debate. Advocates of increasing shareholder power insist that augmenting shareholders’ voting rights and influence over corporate affairs is vital not only for ensuring board and managerial accountability, but also for curbing fraud and other ...


The Uneasy Case For The Inside Director, Lisa Fairfax Nov 2010

The Uneasy Case For The Inside Director, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the wake of recent scandals and the economic meltdown, there is nearly universal support for the notion that corporations must have independent directors. Conventional wisdom insists that independent directors can more effectively monitor the corporation and prevent or otherwise better detect wrongdoing. As the movement to increase director independence has gained traction, inside directors have become an endangered species, relegated to holding a minimal number of seats on the corporate board. This Article questions the popular trend away from inside directors by critiquing the rationales in favor of director independence, and assessing the potential advantages of inside directors. This ...


Securities Intermediaries And The Separation Of Ownership From Control, Jill E. Fisch Jul 2010

Securities Intermediaries And The Separation Of Ownership From Control, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Modern Corporation and Private Property highlighted the evolving separation of ownership and control in the public corporation and the effects of that separation on the allocation of power within the corporation. This essay explores the implications of intermediation for those themes. The article observes that intermediation, by decoupling economic ownership and decision-making authority within the shareholder, creates a second layer of agency issues beyond those identified by Berle and Means. These agency issues are an important consideration in the current debate over shareholder empowerment. The article concludes by considering the hypothetical shareholder construct implicit in the Berle and Means ...


Governance In The Ruins, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2008

Governance In The Ruins, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

What gets an economy up and running after a catastrophic war or a period of oppressive rule? While there are nearly as many answers to these questions as experts, one of the most prominent for the past century has been law. Nearly every page of Law and Capitalism, a remarkable new book by Curtis Milhaupt and Katharina Pistor, stands in implicit or explicit dissent from the prevailing view. Milhaupt and Pistor’s countermodel begins a matrix consisting of two axes. The first contrasts a purely protective regime on one end, with a pervasively “coordinative” approach on the other. The second ...


Hedge Funds In Corporate Governance And Corporate Control, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock May 2007

Hedge Funds In Corporate Governance And Corporate Control, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Hedge funds have become critical players in both corporate governance and corporate control. In this article, we document and examine the nature of hedge fund activism, how and why it differs from activism by traditional institutional investors, and its implications for corporate governance and regulatory reform. We argue that hedge fund activism differs from activism by traditional institutions in several ways: it is directed at significant changes in individual companies (rather than small, systemic changes), it entails higher costs, and it is strategic and ex ante (rather than intermittent and ex post). The reasons for these differences may lie in ...