Justia Securities Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Mergers & Acquisitions
Joy Global Inc. v. Columbia Casualty Co.
Joy Global and Komatsu agreed to merge. Joy sent its investors disclosures required under the Securities Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78n. Subsequent suits contended that Joy violated the Act by not disclosing some internal projections of Joy’s future growth that could have been used to negotiate a higher price, rendering the proxy statements fraudulent, and that Joy’s directors violated their state law duties by not maximizing the price for the shareholders. The suits settled for $21 million.The district court held that the $21 million loss is not covered by insurance. The policies do not require indemnification for “any amount of any judgment or settlement of any Inadequate Consideration Claim other than Defense Costs.” An “inadequate consideration claim” is that part of any Claim alleging that the price or consideration paid or proposed to be paid for the acquisition or completion of the acquisition of all or substantially all the ownership interest in or assets of an entity is inadequate.The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The suits assert the wrongful act of failing to disclose documents that could have been used to seek a higher price and are within the definition of “inadequate consideration claim.” The claims do not identify any false or deficient disclosures about anything other than the price. The only objection to this merger was that Joy should have held out for more money, and that revealing this would have induced the investors to vote “no.” View "Joy Global Inc. v. Columbia Casualty Co." on Justia Law
Bricklayers & Trowel Trades Int’l Pension Fund v. Credit Suisse Secs. (USA) LLC
A pension fund and other America Online (AOL) shareholders brought a class action against Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), former CSFB analysts, and other related defendants (collectively, Defendants), alleging violations of sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act and of SEC Rule 10b-5. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed (1) CSFB made material misstatements and fraudulently withheld relevant information from the market in its reporting on the AOL-Time Warner merger; and (2) the shareholders purchased stock in the new company at artificially inflated prices as a result of the alleged misstatements and omissions. The district court awarded summary judgment to Defendants. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in excluding the shareholders’ expert testimony for lack of reliability; and (2) without the expert’s testimony, Plaintiffs were unable to establish loss causation. View "Bricklayers & Trowel Trades Int’l Pension Fund v. Credit Suisse Secs. (USA) LLC" on Justia Law
Belzberg v. Verus Invs. Holdings Inc.
Petitioner and Ajmal Khan, principal of Verus Investment Holdings, purchased securities in a company to arbitrage a merger between that company and another company (the trade). Petitioner and Khal used Verus' account at Jefferies & Co. and Winton Capital Holding to complete the purchase. After the merger, Jefferies wired to Verus the original investment and profits attributable to the Winton funds. Verus wired the investment money to Winton and the profits to Doris Lindbergh, a friend of Petitioner. Tax authorities later informed Jefferies it owed withholding tax on the trade. Pursuant to an arbitration clause in an agreement between Jefferies and Verus, Jefferies commenced an arbitration against Verus for the unpaid taxes. Verus, in turn, asserted thirty-party arbitration claims against Petitioner, Lindbergh, and others for their share of the taxes. After a hearing, Supreme Court determined that nonsignatories Petitioner and Lindbergh could not be compelled to arbitrate. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that Petitioner should be estopped from avoiding arbitration because he knowingly exploited and received direct benefits from the agreement between Jefferies and Verus. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Petitioner did not receive a direct benefit from the arbitration agreement and could not be compelled to arbitrate.View "Belzberg v. Verus Invs. Holdings Inc." on Justia Law
JPMorgan Chase & Co. v. American Century Co.
Plaintiffs brought their Verified Complaint asserting claims for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against defendant. J.P.Morgan also asserted a claim for attorneys' fees and costs under an option agreement that J.P. Morgan and defendant entered into, which was the contract central to the dispute. Defendant moved to dismiss pursuant to Court of Chancery Rule 12(b)(6). The court held that J.P. Morgan has failed to state a claim that defendant breached the express terms of the Option Agreement and therefore, defendant's motion to dismiss was granted as to Count I. Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied as to Count II because J.P. Morgan's allegations, taken together, were sufficient to state a claim of the implied covenant. Finally, defendant's motion to dismiss was denied as to Count III where J.P. Morgan could eventually be the prevailing party in this action.View "JPMorgan Chase & Co. v. American Century Co." on Justia Law
Steinhardt, et al. v. Howard-Anderson, et al.
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on behalf of a class of stockholders of Occam. Defendants moved for sanctions against all plaintiffs other than Derek Sheeler for trading on the basis of confidential information obtained in this litigation. With respect to Michael Steinhardt and the funds, the motion was granted. Consistent with prior rulings by this court when confronted with representative plaintiffs who have traded while serving in a fiduciary capacity, Steinhardt and the funds were dismissed from the case with prejudice, barred from receiving any recovery from the litigation, required to self-report to the SEC, directed to disclose their improper trading in any future application to serve as lead plaintiff, and ordered to disgorge profits. With respect to Herbert Chen, the motion was denied.View "Steinhardt, et al. v. Howard-Anderson, et al." on Justia Law
Winshall v. Viacom Int’l, Inc., et al.
This case involved a dispute over earn-out payments related to a merger between Viacom and Harmonix where plaintiff was one of the selling stockholders of Harmonix. Plaintiff sued on behalf of the selling stockholders, alleging that Viacom and Harmonix purposefully renegotiated the distribution contract with EA so as to reduce the earn-out payments payable to the Harmonix stockholders, and thus breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implied in the Merger Agreement. The court dismissed plaintiff's claim and held that it would be inequitable for the court to imply a duty on Viacom and Harmonix's part to share with the selling stockholders the benefits of a renegotiated contract addressing EA's right to distribute Harmonix products after the expiration of the earn-out period. View "Winshall v. Viacom Int'l, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Coughlan v. NXP B.V.
This case involved the interpretation of two provisions in a merger agreement between defendant corporation and a company whose former stockholders were represented by plaintiff. The two provisions at issue dealt with contingent payments due in certain circumstances from defendant to those stockholders. The court found that the language of the merger agreement was unambiguous, and that per its provisions, defendant's obligations under the merger agreement were assumed by the acquiring company, thus avoiding the acceleration of the remaining revenue contingent payments. Therefore, the court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and granted summary judgment in favor of defendant.View "Coughlan v. NXP B.V." on Justia Law
Krieger v. Wesco Financial Corp., et al.
Plaintiff contended that holders of common stock of Wesco were entitled to appraisal rights under Section 262 of the General Corporation Law, 8 Del. 262, in connection with a forward triangular merger among Wesco, its parent, and an acquisition subsidiary. The parties cross-moved for partial summary judgment on the availability of appraisal rights. The court held that because Wesco common stockholders were not required to accept consideration other than stock listed on a national securities exchange and cash in lieu of fractional shares, they were not entitled to appraisal rights. Accordingly, summary judgment on this issue was entered in favor of defendants.View "Krieger v. Wesco Financial Corp., et al." on Justia Law
The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co. v. Liberty Media Corp.
Liberty commenced this action against the Trustee under the Indenture, seeking injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that the proposed Capital Splitoff would not constitute a disposition of "substantially all" of Liberty's assets in violation of the Indenture. The Court of Chancery concluded, after a trial, that the four transactions at issue should not be aggregated, and entered judgment for Liberty. The Court of Chancery concluded that the proposed splitoff was not "sufficiently connected" to the prior transactions to warrant aggregation for purposes of the Successor Obligor Provision. The court agreed with the judgment of the Court of Chancery and affirmed.View "The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co. v. Liberty Media Corp." on Justia Law
The Bank of New York Mellon v. Commerzbank Capital Funding Trust II, et al.
This case arose when Commerzbank agreed to acquire Dresdner Bank in September 2008. As part of the deal, Commerzbank also acquired Dresdner Bank's trust preferred structures, and holders of Dresdner's trust preferred securities received distributions in both 2009 and 2010. Plaintiff claimed that paying those distributions "pushed," or required Commerzbank to make distributions on, a class of its owned preferred securities in which plaintiff had an interest, and, by the complaint, plaintiff asked the court to enforce that alleged obligation. Plaintiff also sought specific performance of a support agreement that was argued to require the elevation of the liquidation preference of Commerzbank's trust preferred securities in response to a restructuring of one class of the Dresdner securities. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The court held, among other things, that because the DresCap Trust Certificates did not qualify as either Parity Securities, defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law regarding plaintiff's claim under the Pusher Provision. The court also held that because DresCap Trust Certificates did not qualify as either Parity Securities or Junior Securities, Section 6 of the Support Undertaking was not triggered by amendment of the DresCap Trust IV Certificates. Accordingly, defendants were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law regarding plaintiff's claim that the amendment of the DresCap Trust IV Certificates required defendants to amend the Trusted Preferred Securities.View "The Bank of New York Mellon v. Commerzbank Capital Funding Trust II, et al." on Justia Law