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Full-Text Articles in Law

Uncovering Elon's Data Empire, Carliss Chatman, Carla L. Reyes Jan 2024

Uncovering Elon's Data Empire, Carliss Chatman, Carla L. Reyes

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

In 2022, Elon Musk publicly announced that he would purchase Twitter after acquiring a five percent stake in the company. His failure to report this acquisition—and the company’s failure to notice—allowed Musk to continue purchasing stock at a deflated price, costing the company more than $156 million. After the signing of a merger agreement, the details of the transaction caused wild fluctuations in Tesla’s stock price. Musk’s complaints about the management of Twitter and the existence of bots on the platform led Twitter’s stock to also drop in value, as did Musk’s attempts to withdraw from the transaction. Even after …


Pricing Corporate Governance, Albert Choi Dec 2023

Pricing Corporate Governance, Albert Choi

Articles

Scholars and practitioners have long theorized that by penalizing firms with unattractive governance features, the stock market incentivizes firms to adopt the optimal governance structure at their initial public offerings (IPOs). This theory, however, does not seem to match with practice. Not only do many IPO firms offer putatively suboptimal governance arrangements, such as staggered boards and dual-class structures, but these arrangements have been gaining popularity among IPO firms. This Article argues that the IPO market is unlikely to provide the necessary discipline to incentivize companies to adopt the optimal governance package. In particular, when the optimal governance package differs …


Wireless Investors & Apathy Obsolescence, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter Aug 2023

Wireless Investors & Apathy Obsolescence, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter

Faculty Works

This Article discusses how a subgenre of retail investors makes investors’ apathy obsolete. In prior work, we dub retail investors who rely on technology and online communications in their investing and corporate governance endeavors “wireless investors.” By applying game theory, this Article discusses how wireless investors’ global-scale online interactions allow them to circulate information and coordinate, obliterating collective action problems.


Is "Public Company" Still A Viable Regulatory Category?, George S. Georgiev Jan 2023

Is "Public Company" Still A Viable Regulatory Category?, George S. Georgiev

Faculty Articles

This Article suggests that the ubiquitous “public company” regulatory category, as currently constructed, has outlived its effectiveness in fulfilling core goals of the modern administrative state. An ever-expanding array of federal economic regulation hinges on public company status, but “public company” differs from most other regulatory categories in that it requires an affirmative opt-in by the subject entity. In practice, firms today become subject to public company regulation only if they need access to the public capital markets, which is much less of a business imperative than it once was due to the proliferation of private financing options. Paradoxically, then, …


Systematic Stewardship: It's Up To The Shareholders – A Response To Profs. Kahan And Rock, Jeffrey N. Gordon Jan 2023

Systematic Stewardship: It's Up To The Shareholders – A Response To Profs. Kahan And Rock, Jeffrey N. Gordon

Faculty Scholarship

As the author of an article entitled “Systematic Stewardship,” I read Professors Kahan and Rock’s article “Systematic Stewardship with Tradeoffs” (K&R) with considerable interest. I acknowledge the limits on deep asset manager engagement with sources of systematic risk in light of present institutional arrangements and the politics of the moment. Yet I think the most important move in the K&R analysis — the privileging of a “single firm focus” in corporate law instead of a “portfolio firm focus” — simply doesn’t account for the evolution that has already occurred in law and practice.

Long before the development of index funds, …


Dynamic Disclosure: An Exposé On The Mythical Divide Between Voluntary And Mandatory Esg Disclosure, Lisa Fairfax Nov 2022

Dynamic Disclosure: An Exposé On The Mythical Divide Between Voluntary And Mandatory Esg Disclosure, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

In March 2022, for the first time in its history, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) proposed rules mandating disclosure related to climate change. The proposed rules are remarkable because heretofore many in the business community, including the SEC, vehemently resisted climate-related disclosure, based primarily on the argument that such disclosure is not material to investors. This resistance is exemplified by the current lack of any SEC disclosure mandates for climate change. The proposed rules have sparked considerable pushback including allegations that the rules violate the First Amendment, would be too costly, and focus on “social” or “political” issues …


A Proposed Sec Cyber Data Disclosure Advisory Commission, Lawrence J. Trautman, Neal Newman Oct 2022

A Proposed Sec Cyber Data Disclosure Advisory Commission, Lawrence J. Trautman, Neal Newman

Faculty Scholarship

Constant cyber threats result in: intellectual property loss; data disruption; ransomware attacks; theft of valuable company intellectual property and sensitive customer information. During March 2022, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a proposed rule addressing Cybersecurity Risk Management, Strategy, Governance, and Incident Disclosure, which requires: 1. Current reporting about material cybersecurity incidents; 2. Periodic disclosures about a registrant’s policies and procedures to identify and manage cybersecurity risks; 3. Management’s role in implementing cybersecurity policies and procedures; 4. Board of directors’ cybersecurity expertise, if any, and its oversight of cybersecurity risk; 5. Registrants to provide updates about previously reported cybersecurity …


The Corporate Forum, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter Oct 2022

The Corporate Forum, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter

Faculty Works

In this response to Professor Jill Fisch’s article "GameStop and the Reemergence of the Retail Investor," we focus on one of the risks associated with the growth of retail investing that Fisch surveys, uncontrolled information sourcing. Drawing on our work on retail investors, we revisit an instrument dear to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, whose potential has not been unleashed so far, the corporate forum. Our response succinctly discusses the main mechanics of the corporate forum, the benefits the corporate forum could provide, and the feasibility hurdles that might undermine the success of corporate forums.


Purpose Proposals, Jill E. Fisch Sep 2022

Purpose Proposals, Jill E. Fisch

All Faculty Scholarship

Repurposing the corporation is the hot issue in corporate governance. Commentators, investors and increasingly issuers, maintain that corporations should shift their focus from maximizing profits for shareholders to generating value for a more expansive group of stakeholders. Corporations are also being called upon to address societal concerns – from climate change and voting rights to racial justice and wealth inequality.

The shareholder proposal rule, Rule 14a–8, offers one potential tool for repurposing the corporation. This Article describes the introduction of innovative proposals seeking to formalize corporate commitments to stakeholder governance. These “purpose proposals” reflect a new dynamic in the debate …


Board Committee Charters And Esg Accountability, Lisa Fairfax Sep 2022

Board Committee Charters And Esg Accountability, Lisa Fairfax

All Faculty Scholarship

We are currently witnessing a sharp increase in corporate attention on environmental, sustainability, and governance (“ESG”). The steep rise in corporate focus on ESG has prompted considerable criticism, not only from those concerned about how best to ensure that corporations are held accountable for their ESG commitments, but also from those who strenuously insist that corporate commitment to ESG is merely rhetorical or otherwise merely a passing fad. In an effort to shed light on the concerns around ESG accountability, and gain perspective about the potential illusory or short-term nature of ESG, I conducted my own survey of the committee …


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. …


The Educated Retail Investor: A Response To "Regulating Democratized Investing", Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter Jan 2022

The Educated Retail Investor: A Response To "Regulating Democratized Investing", Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter

Faculty Works

The diffusion of mobile-first investing apps, like Robinhood, has increased retail investor participation in financial markets, particularly from the Millennial and GenZ generations, and has increased the diversity of retail investors. However, mobile-first investing apps are not free from controversy. In Regulating Democratized Investing, Abraham Cable tackles the debate on regulating mobile-first investing apps and largely opposes paternalistic regulation, which would raise unsurmountable barriers at the entrance of the stock market for retail investors. But it concedes to a form of regulation that in Cable’s own words “serves ultra-retail investors a modest portion of what they really want.” We strongly …


The Wireless Investors Movement, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter Jan 2022

The Wireless Investors Movement, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter

Faculty Works

The inaugural guest academic article for the University of Chicago Business Law Review Blog discusses how Millennial and GenZ investors can set in motion a social movement with disruptive effects on the current corporate governance paradigm. It refers to Millennial and GenZ investors as “wireless investors” and their social movement as the “Wireless Investors Movement.” The Wireless Investors Movement, fueled by wireless investors’ vision of the world and technology savviness, will bring corporations to pursue social and environmental causes. This short contribution analyzes the characteristics of the Wireless Investors Movement and the effects it will have on corporate governance.


The Long-Term Effects Of Short Selling And Negative Activism, Peter Molk, Frank Partnoy Jan 2022

The Long-Term Effects Of Short Selling And Negative Activism, Peter Molk, Frank Partnoy

UF Law Faculty Publications

We investigate the long-term effects of short selling and “negative activism,” where activists seek to profit from declines in the share prices of targeted firms. We show that negative activism is associated with significant and declining long-term share returns and operating performance, as well as an increase in securities litigation and regulatory actions against targeted firms. We explore the policy implications of this new evidence, including ways that policy makers and market participants might take advantage of the potential benefits of short selling negative activism. Our message is straightforward: resist impulses to curb short selling, and instead embrace attempts to …


Asset Managers As Regulators, Dorothy S. Lund Jan 2022

Asset Managers As Regulators, Dorothy S. Lund

Faculty Scholarship

The conventional view of regulation is that it exists to constrain corporate activity that harms the public. But amid perceptions of government failure, many now call on corporations to tackle social problems themselves. And in this moment of dissatisfaction with government, powerful asset managers have stepped in to serve as regulators of last resort, adopting rules that bind corporate America on issues of great social importance, including climate change and workplace diversity. This Article describes this dynamic — where shareholders have become regulators — which has been made possible by the rise of institutional shareholding (and index investing in particular) …


Shifting Influences On Corporate Governance: Capital Market Completeness And Policy Channeling, Ronald J. Gilson, Curtis J. Milhaupt Jan 2022

Shifting Influences On Corporate Governance: Capital Market Completeness And Policy Channeling, Ronald J. Gilson, Curtis J. Milhaupt

Faculty Scholarship

Corporate governance scholarship is typically portrayed as driven by single factor models, for example, shareholder value maximization, director primacy or team production. These governance models are Copernican; one factor is or should be the center of the corporate governance solar system. In this essay, we argue that, as with binary stars, the shape of the governance system is at any time the result of the interaction of two central influences, which we refer to as capital market completeness and policy channeling. In contrast to single factor models, which reflect a stable normative statement of what should drive corporate governance, in …


Securities Law: Overview And Contemporary Issues, Neal Newman, Lawrence J. Trautman Dec 2021

Securities Law: Overview And Contemporary Issues, Neal Newman, Lawrence J. Trautman

Faculty Scholarship

This is not your grandfather’s SEC anymore. Rapid technological change has resulted in novel regulatory issues and challenges, as law and policy struggles to keep pace. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports that “the U.S. capital markets are the deepest, most dynamic, and most liquid in the world. They also have evolved to become increasingly fast and extraordinarily complex. It is our job to be responsive and innovative in the face of significant market developments and trends.” With global markets increasingly interdependent and interconnected and, “as technological advancements and commercial developments have changed how our securities markets operate, …


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. …


Corporate Governance Gaming: The Collective Power Of Retail Investors, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter Oct 2021

Corporate Governance Gaming: The Collective Power Of Retail Investors, Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci, Christina M. Sautter

Faculty Works

The GameStop saga and meme stock frenzy have shown the pathway to the most disruptive revolution in corporate governance of the millennium. New generations of retail investors use technologies, online forums, and gaming dynamics to coordinate their actions and obtain unprecedented results. Signals indicate that these investors, whom we can dub wireless investors, are currently expanding their actions to corporate governance. Wireless investors’ generational characteristics suggest that they will use corporate governance to pursue social and environmental causes. In fact, wireless investors can set in motion a social movement able to bring business corporations to serve their original partly-private-partly-public purpose. …


Delaware's Global Competitiveness, William J. Moon Jan 2021

Delaware's Global Competitiveness, William J. Moon

Faculty Scholarship

For about a hundred years, Delaware has been the leading jurisdiction for corporate law in the United States. The state, which deliberately embarked on a mission to build a haven for corporate law in the early twentieth century, now supplies corporate charters to over two thirds of Fortune 500 companies and a growing share of closely held companies. But Delaware’s domestic dominance masks the important and yet underexamined issue of whether Delaware maintains its competitive edge globally.

This Article examines Delaware’s global competitiveness, documenting Delaware’s surprising weakness competing in the emerging international market for corporate charters. It does so principally …


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 …


Common Ownership: Do Managers Really Compete Less?, Merritt B. Fox, Manesh S. Patel Jan 2021

Common Ownership: Do Managers Really Compete Less?, Merritt B. Fox, Manesh S. Patel

Faculty Scholarship

This Article addresses an important question in modern antitrust: when large investment funds have holdings across an industry, is competition depressed?

The question of the impact of common ownership on competition has gained much attention as the role of institutional shareholding has grown, with the funds of the three largest management companies holding in aggregate approximately 21% of the shares of a typical S&P 500 firm. It is a source of acute disagreement among scholars and policymakers, with some who believe common ownership does depress competition seeking antitrust law reforms that would significantly constrain how investment funds operate. Neglected in …


Shareholder Primacy And The Moral Obligation Of Directors, Mark J. Loewenstein, Jay Geyer Jan 2021

Shareholder Primacy And The Moral Obligation Of Directors, Mark J. Loewenstein, Jay Geyer

Publications

One of the most written-about and important topics in corporate law is the fiduciary obligations of corporate directors. Increasingly, critics of American capitalism have urged that corporations, and implicitly, corporate directors, act in a more socially responsible fashion and thus eschew the notion that shareholder primacy is the exclusive guide to a director’s fiduciary duty. Under this view, directors must consider the effect of their actions on “stakeholders” other than shareholders and be guided by morality—doing the right thing—when making business judgments.

When directors move away from shareholder primacy, however, decision-making becomes more difficult and problematic. This article analyzes the …


A Revised Monitoring Model Confronts Today's Movement Toward Managerialism, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2021

A Revised Monitoring Model Confronts Today's Movement Toward Managerialism, James D. Cox, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship

There are many lessons to be drawn from the sweep of history. In law, the compelling story repeatedly told is the observable co-movement of law on the one hand, and economic, social, and political changes on the other hand. Aberrations, however, do arise but generally do not persist in the long term. Contemporary corporate law seems to be on the cusp of such an abnormality as legal developments and proposed reforms for corporate law are currently conflicting with the direction in which the host environment is moving. This article identifies a series of contemporary judicial and regulatory corporate governance developments …


Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar Aug 2020

Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar

Articles

A key question at the intersection of state and federal law is whether corpo- rations can use their charters or bylaws to restrict securities litigation to federal court. In December 2018, the Delaware Chancery Court answered this question in the negative in the landmark decision Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg. The court invalidated “federal forum provisions” (“FFPs”) that allow companies to select federal district courts as the exclusive venue for claims brought under the Secur- ities Act of 1933 (“1933 Act”). The decision held that the internal affairs doc- trine, which is the bedrock of U.S. corporate law, does not permit charter …


Addressing The Auditor Independence Puzzle: Regulatory Models And Proposal For Reform, Martin Gelter, Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez Jan 2020

Addressing The Auditor Independence Puzzle: Regulatory Models And Proposal For Reform, Martin Gelter, Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Auditors play a major role in corporate governance and capital markets. Ex ante, auditors facilitate firms' access to finance by fostering trust among public investors. Ex post, auditors can prevent misbehavior and prevent financial fraud by corporate insiders. In order to fulfill these goals, however, in addition to having the adequate knowledge and expertise, auditors must perform their functions in an independent manner. Unfortunately, auditors are often subject to conflicts of interest, for example, resulting from the provision of nonaudit services but also because of the mere fact of being hired and paid by the audited company. Therefore, even if …


Delaware's New Competition, William J. Moon Jan 2020

Delaware's New Competition, William J. Moon

Faculty Scholarship

According to the standard account in American corporate law, states compete to supply corporate law to American corporations, with Delaware dominating the market. This “competition” metaphor in turn informs some of the most important policy debates in American corporate law.

This Article complicates the standard account, introducing foreign nations as emerging lawmakers that compete with American states in the increasingly globalized market for corporate law. In recent decades, entrepreneurial foreign nations in offshore islands have used permissive corporate governance rules and specialized business courts to attract publicly traded American corporations. Aided in part by a select group of private sector …


Boards In Information Governance, Faith Stevelman, Sarah C. Haan Jan 2020

Boards In Information Governance, Faith Stevelman, Sarah C. Haan

Scholarly Articles

This Article focuses on the evolving role of boards of directors. It charts the decline of the two leading, twentieth-century conceptual frameworks shaping corporate boards’ roles: agency cost theory, which produced the limited “monitoring board,” and “separate realms” theory, which ceded board responsibility for matters other than profit maximization to government regulation. Hedge fund activism and wild stock market swings have exposed the limits of the board’s role in agency cost theory. The 2020 pandemic, economic crises, investors’ demands for socially responsible stewardship, and corporations’ own political activism have rendered separate realms thinking untenable.

Although much theorizing in corporate law …


Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Venture-capital-backed startups are often crucibles of conflict between common and preferred shareholders, particularly around exit decisions. Such conflicts are so common, in fact, that they have catalyzed an emergent judicial precedent – the Trados doctrine – that requires boards to prioritize common shareholders' interest and to treat preferred shareholders as contractual claimants. We evaluate the Trados doctrine using a model of startup governance that interacts capital structure, corporate governance, and liability rules. The nature and degree of inter-shareholder conflict turns not only on the relative rights and options of equity participants, but also on a firm's intrinsic value as well …


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 …