disclosure only settlements

del1As I have noted in recent posts, several members of the Delaware Court of Chancery have made it clear that they are increasingly skeptical of disclosure-only settlements in merger objection lawsuits. It now appears that the Chancery Court rulings are starting to have an impact at the supply end of the food chain; according to a recent analysis by The Chancery Daily, the number of new merger objection lawsuit filings in the Delaware Chancery Court has begun to drop in response the Chancery Court’s rulings. The publication reported what it observed to be during October and November 2015 a “pronounced decline in the number of class action complaints filed compared to prior months in the year 2015.” The Chancery Daily’s November 13, 2015 blog post discussing its analysis can be found here. Alison Frankel’s November 16, 2015 post on her On the Case blog discussing the recent filing trends can be found here.
Continue Reading Delaware Merger Objection Lawsuit Filings Decline in Response to Chancery Court’s Rejection of Disclosure-Only Settlements

nystateDelaware’s courts have recently made it clear that the days where they would routinely approve disclosure-only settlements in merger objection lawsuits may be over (as discussed here). It now appears that other states also are no longer willing to approve these kinds of settlements. In a blistering October 23, 2015 opinion (here), New York (New York County) Supreme Court Judge Charles E. Ramos refused to approve the disclosure-only settlement proposed in the Allied Healthcare merger objection lawsuit, saying that courts’ willingness to approve these kinds of settlements “reflects poorly on the profession and on those courts that, from time to time, have approved these settlements.”
Continue Reading New York Court Pans Merger Objection Lawsuit Disclosure-Only Settlement

del1Stating his belief that the merger objection litigation dynamic represents a “systemic” problem that has resulted in a “misshapen legal system,” Delaware Chancery Court Vice Chancellor Travis Laster rejected the proposed disclosure-only settlement of litigation that had been filed objecting to Hewlett-Packard’s $2.7 billion acquisition of Aruba Networks. In an October 9, 2015 settlement hearing in the case, Laster cited the “inadequacy of the representation” of plaintiffs’ counsel for the shareholder class as the basis for his rejection of the settlement, as well as for the outright dismissal of the case. Liz Hoffman’s October 10, 2015 Wall Street Journal article about Laster’s ruling can be found here.
Continue Reading Game Over?: Del. Chancery Court Rejects Disclosure-Only Settlement in H-P/Aruba Networks Merger Objection Lawsuit

Delaware Court of Chancery

The fact that these days virtually every public company M&A transaction draws at least one merger objection lawsuit has provoked concern from many quarters. As I noted in a prior post, it recently became clear that among those concerned are the judges on the Delaware Court of Chancery. Based on developments last week, including in particular Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III’s September 17, 2015 opinion in the Riverbed Technology merger objection lawsuit (here), the days when merger objection suits in Delaware’s courts may be resolved through a disclosure-only settlement in which plaintiffs’ counsel gets their fees paid and the defendants get an “intergalactic” claim release may be over. As Alison Frankel put it in a September 18, 2015 post on her On the Case blog (here), last week’s Delaware Chancery Court developments may represent “a turning point in M&A shareholder litigation in Delaware Chancery Court.”
Continue Reading Delaware: Time’s Up for Disclosure-Only Settlements in Merger Objection Suits?

del1One of the great curses of the corporate litigation environment in recent years has been the proliferation of merger objection suits, the incidence of which has gotten to the point that now just about every large merger deal draws at least one lawsuit, and sometimes several. However, if recent developments in the Delaware Chancery Court are any indication, the courts are as appalled by this seemingly undifferentiated mass of litigation as are the parties to the transactions. Two recent decisions may suggest that the Delaware courts, at least, are no longer willing simply to accept the standard “disclosure only” settlements that typically resolve these kinds of cases, which in turn may mean that the cases could become less attractive to the plaintiffs’ lawyers that bring these cases.
Continue Reading The Beginning of the End of the Merger Objection Lawsuit Curse?