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Full-Text Articles in Law

Initiation Payments, Scott Hirst Jul 2023

Initiation Payments, Scott Hirst

Faculty Scholarship

Many of the central discussions in corporate governance, including those regarding proxy contests, shareholder proposals, and other activism or stewardship, can be understood as a single question: Is there under-initiation of corporate changes that investors would collectively prefer?

This Article sheds light on this question in three ways. First, the Article proposes a theory of investor initiation, which explains the hypothesis that there is under-initiation of collectively-preferred corporate change by investors. Even though investors collectively prefer that certain corporate changes take place, the costs to any individual investor from initiating such changes through high-cost proxy contests, or even low-cost shareholder …


Corporate Governance And The Audit Function In Jordan And The Uk: A Comparative Perspective, Bashar Malkawi May 2023

Corporate Governance And The Audit Function In Jordan And The Uk: A Comparative Perspective, Bashar Malkawi

The Global Business Law Review

Superior corporate governance forms the bedrock of a prosperous economy. An integral component of outstanding corporate governance is the role of transparent, accurate and freely available information with respect to a company’s books and records. Numerous stakeholders including current and potential investors, business partners, employees, regulators and the public, rely on the integrity of the financial reporting. The law on external auditors in Jordan has undergone significant improvement, yet substantial gaps exist between current law and best practices. The Article focuses on the role of the auditor in ensuring superior corporate governance. The goal of this Article is to assess …


The Meme Stock Frenzy: Origins And Implications, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Yoon-Ho Alex Lee Apr 2023

The Meme Stock Frenzy: Origins And Implications, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Yoon-Ho Alex Lee

Law & Economics Working Papers

In 2021, several publicly traded companies, such as GameStop and AMC, became “meme stocks,” experiencing a sharp rise in their stock prices through a dramatic influx of retail investors into their shareholder base. Analyses of the meme stock surge and its implications for corporate governance have focused on the idiosyncratic creation of online communities around particular stocks during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Article, we argue that the emergence of meme stocks is part of longer-running digital transformations in trading, investing, and governance. On the trading front, the sudden abolition of commissions by major online brokerages in 2019 reduced entry …


Initial Public Offering And Optimal Corporate Governance, Albert H. Choi Feb 2022

Initial Public Offering And Optimal Corporate Governance, Albert H. Choi

Law & Economics Working Papers

This paper examines the long-standing debate over whether firms have a market-based incentive to adopt optimal governance provisions at their initial public offering (IPO). Various scholars and practitioners have argued that firms that offer stock to the public with suboptimal governance structure will be penalized by the market through a lower IPO price. At the same time, others have documented empirical evidence that many IPO firms have putatively suboptimal governance provisions, such as anti-takeover provisions and dual class structure, and many, especially those with dual-class structure, enjoy a market premium at their IPO. This paper attempts to bridge this gap. …


Enabling Esg Accountability: Focusing On The Corporate Enterprise, Rachel Brewster Jan 2022

Enabling Esg Accountability: Focusing On The Corporate Enterprise, Rachel Brewster

Faculty Scholarship

Environmental, social, and governance accountability for companies has become an important topic in popular and academic debate in modern society. The idea that corporations should have ESG goals has been embraced by major investment companies, employees, and many corporations themselves. Yet, less attention has been focused on how corporate enterprise law—which governs how corporations structure their relationships between parent corporations and their subsidiaries—creates or contributes to the ESG concerns that the public has with corporations in the first place. Modern enterprise law allows corporations, particularly those operating across national borders, to use their subsidiaries to avoid responsibility for their public …


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

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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 significant. …


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Cleaning Corporate Governance, Jens Frankenreiter, Cathy Hwang, Yaron Nili, Eric L. Talley Jan 2021

Cleaning Corporate Governance, Jens Frankenreiter, Cathy Hwang, Yaron Nili, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Although empirical scholarship dominates the field of law and finance, much of it shares a common vulnerability: an abiding faith in the accuracy and integrity of a small, specialized collection of corporate governance data. In this paper, we unveil a novel collection of three decades’ worth of corporate charters for thousands of public companies, which shows that this faith is misplaced.

We make three principal contributions to the literature. First, we label our corpus for a variety of firm- and state-level governance features. Doing so reveals significant infirmities within the most well-known corporate governance datasets, including an error rate exceeding …


The Sec's Shareholder Proposal Rule: Creating A Corporate Public Square, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2021

The Sec's Shareholder Proposal Rule: Creating A Corporate Public Square, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship

In this Article, we take advantage of this Symposium’s goals to think broadly about the future of Rule 14a-8 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the shareholder proposal rule. We set forth a vision for the rule to address boardroom insularity by likening the shareholder proposal rule as the public square for shareholders. The existence of such a forum would redound to the benefit of investors, officers, and boards of directors as a fount of current and useful information about their investors’ and stakeholders’ concerns.


Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2020

Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman

All Faculty Scholarship

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 information asymmetry …


A One-Size-Fits-All Approach To Corporate Governance Codes And Compliance By Smaller Listed Firms: An Examination Of Companies Listed In Hong Kong And Singapore, Christopher C. H. Chen Feb 2019

A One-Size-Fits-All Approach To Corporate Governance Codes And Compliance By Smaller Listed Firms: An Examination Of Companies Listed In Hong Kong And Singapore, Christopher C. H. Chen

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

This article examines the impact of a one-size-fits-all corporate governance code on smaller listed firms, which should have fewer resources to hire more qualified independent directors for their boards and board committees. After examining data from a sample of companies listed in Hong Kong and Singapore, we find some limited support for these resources-based arguments. While smaller firms do not necessarily have a lower proportion of board members who are independent directors, some evidence suggests that smaller firms do pay less to independent directors and that these directors have to serve on multiple board committees. Although many larger firms also …


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

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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Private Equity's Governance Advantage: A Requiem, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2019

Private Equity's Governance Advantage: A Requiem, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

Private equity’s original purpose was to optimize companies’ governance and operations. Reuniting ownership and control in corporate America, the leveraged buyout (or the mere threat thereof) undoubtedly helped reform management practices in a broad swath of U.S. companies. Due to mounting competitive pressures, however, private equity is finding relatively fewer underperforming companies to fix. This is particularly true of U.S. public companies, which are continuously dogged by activist hedge funds and other empowered shareholders looking for any sign of slack.

In response, private equity is shifting its center of gravity away from governance reform, towards a dizzying array of new …


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Startup Governance, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2019

Startup Governance, Elizabeth Pollman

All Faculty Scholarship

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 Enduring Distinction Between Business Entities And Security Interests, Ofer Eldar, Andrew Verstein Jan 2019

The Enduring Distinction Between Business Entities And Security Interests, Ofer Eldar, Andrew Verstein

Faculty Scholarship

What are business entities for? What are security interests for? The prevailing answer in legal scholarship is that both bodies of law exist to partition assets for the benefit of designated creditors. But if both bodies of law partition assets, then what distinguishes them? In fact, these bodies of law appear to be converging as increasing flexibility irons out any differences. Indeed, many legal products, such as securitization vehicles, insurance products known as captive insurance, and mutual funds, employ entities to create distinct asset pools. Moreover, recent legal innovations, such as “protected cells,” which were created to facilitate such products, …


Dual-Class Shares In Singapore – Where Ideology Meets Pragmatism, Pey Woan Lee Dec 2018

Dual-Class Shares In Singapore – Where Ideology Meets Pragmatism, Pey Woan Lee

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

This article seeks to understand the rationale for and potential implications of the introduction of dual class shares (DCS) in Singapore. It does so by first considering the theoretical as well as evidential arguments for and against the use of DCS, followed by a survey on the reception (or otherwise) of such structures in four common law jurisdictions with vibrant capital markets, viz., Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. It observes that the chief argument cited by business founders to justify the use of DCS structures is the desire to enhance a firm’s long-term profitability by shielding …


Shareholder Litigation And Corporate Disclosure: Evidence From Derivative Lawsuits, Thomas Bourveau, Yun Lou, Rencheng Wang Jun 2018

Shareholder Litigation And Corporate Disclosure: Evidence From Derivative Lawsuits, Thomas Bourveau, Yun Lou, Rencheng Wang

Research Collection School Of Accountancy

Using the staggered adoption of universal demand (UD) laws in the United States, we study the effect of shareholder litigation risk on corporate disclosure. We find that disclosure significantly increases after UD laws make it more difficult to file derivative lawsuits. Specifically, firms issue more earnings forecasts and voluntary 8-K filings, and increase the length of management discussion and analysis (MD&A) in their 10-K filings. We further assess the direct and indirect channels through which UD laws affect firms' disclosure policies. We find that the effect of UD laws on corporate disclosure is driven by firms facing relatively higher ex …


Individual Autonomy In Corporate Law, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2018

Individual Autonomy In Corporate Law, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

The field of corporate law is riven with competing visions of the corporation. This Article seeks to identify points of broad agreement by negative implication. It examines two developments in corporate law that have drawn widespread criticism from corporate law scholars: the Supreme Court's recognition of corporate religious rights in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and the Nevada legislature's decision to eliminate mandatory fiduciary duties for corporate directors and officers. Despite their fundamental differences, both resulted in expanding individual rights or autonomy within the corporation-for shareholders and managers, respectively.

The visceral critiques aimed at these two developments suggest a broadly shared …


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.

All Faculty Scholarship

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. And because …


Too Big To Fool: Moral Hazard, Bailouts, And Corporate Responsibility, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2017

Too Big To Fool: Moral Hazard, Bailouts, And Corporate Responsibility, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Domestic and international regulatory efforts to prevent another financial crisis have been converging on the idea of trying to end the problem of “too big to fail”—that systemically important financial firms take excessive risks because they profit from success and are (or at least, expect to be) bailed out by government money to avoid failure. The legal solutions being advanced to control this morally hazardous behavior tend, however, to be inefficient, ineffective, or even dangerous—such as breaking up firms and limiting their size, which can reduce economies of scale and scope; or restricting central bank authority to bail out failing …


Controlling Systemic Risk Through Corporate Governance, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2017

Controlling Systemic Risk Through Corporate Governance, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Most of the regulatory measures to control excessive risk taking by systemically important firms are designed to reduce moral hazard and to align the interests of managers and investors. These measures may be flawed because they are based on questionable assumptions. Excessive corporate risk taking is, at its core, a corporate governance problem. Shareholder primacy requires managers to view the consequences of their firm’s risk taking only from the standpoint of the firm and its shareholders, ignoring harm to the public. In governing, managers of systemically important firms should also consider public harm. This proposal engages the long-standing debate whether …


Rethinking Corporate Governance For A Bondholder Financed, Systemically Risky World, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2017

Rethinking Corporate Governance For A Bondholder Financed, Systemically Risky World, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This Article makes two arguments that, combined, demonstrate an important synergy: first, including bondholders in corporate governance could help to reduce systemic risk because bondholders are more risk averse than shareholders; second, corporate governance should include bondholders because bonds now dwarf equity as a source of corporate financing and bond prices are increasingly tied to firm performance.


The Role Of Social Enterprise And Hybrid Organizations, Ofer Eldar Jan 2017

The Role Of Social Enterprise And Hybrid Organizations, Ofer Eldar

Faculty Scholarship

Recent years have brought remarkable growth in hybrid organizations that combine profit-seeking and social missions. Despite popular enthusiasm for such organizations, legal reforms to facilitate their formation and growth—particularly, legal forms for hybrid firms—have largely been ineffective. This shortcoming stems in large part from the lack of a theory that identifies the structural and functional elements that make some types of hybrid organizations more effective than others. In pursuit of such a theory, this Article focuses on a large class of hybrid organizations that has been effective in addressing development problems, such as increasing access to capital and improving employment …


Regulatory Competition And The Market For Corporate Law, Ofer Eldar, Lorenzo Magnolfi Jan 2017

Regulatory Competition And The Market For Corporate Law, Ofer Eldar, Lorenzo Magnolfi

Faculty Scholarship

This article develops an empirical model of firms’ choice of corporate laws under inertia. Delaware dominates the incorporation market, though recently Nevada, a state whose laws are highly protective of managers, has acquired a sizable market share. Using a novel database of incorporation decisions from 1995- 2013, we show that most firms dislike protectionist laws, such as anti-takeover statutes and liability protections for officers, and that Nevada’s rise is due to the preferences of small firms.Our estimates indicate that despite inertia, Delaware would lose significant market share and revenues if it adopted protectionist laws. Our findings support the hypothesis 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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 question …


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Confronting The Peppercorn Settlement In Merger Litigation: An Empirical Analysis And A Proposal For Reform, Jill E. Fisch, Sean J. Griffith, Steven M. Davidoff Jul 2014

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

Steven Davidoff Solomon

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 …


Stewardship In The Interests Of Systemic Stakeholders: Re-Conceptualizing The Means And Ends Of Anglo-American Corporate Governance In The Wake Of The Global Financial Crisis, Zhong Xing Tan Jan 2014

Stewardship In The Interests Of Systemic Stakeholders: Re-Conceptualizing The Means And Ends Of Anglo-American Corporate Governance In The Wake Of The Global Financial Crisis, Zhong Xing Tan

Journal of Business & Technology Law

No abstract provided.


Private Equity Firms As Gatekeepers, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2014

Private Equity Firms As Gatekeepers, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

Notwithstanding the considerable attention private equity receives, there continues to be substantial confusion about what private equity does and whether this creates value. Calls for more aggressive regulation of the industry reflect a skeptical view of private equity as—at best—a zero-sum game, in which profits are generated only at the expense of other constituencies. The standard defense of private equity points to its corporate governance advantages as a source of value. This Article identifies an overlooked and increasingly important way in which private equity creates value: private equity firms act as gatekeepers in the debt markets. As repeat players, private …