Consideration of Evolving National Security Risks by CFIUS

On September 15, 2022, President Biden issued Executive Order 14083 (“EO 14083”) which the White House describes as a “first-ever presidential directive defining additional national security factors for CFIUS to consider in evaluating transactions.” Rumors of its publication have been circulating in Washington, D.C. for months, and for those that follow foreign investment activity in the United States, it is revealing any time the Executive Branch speaks publicly about CFIUS. Click here for a few insights into how EO 14083...

2022 Delaware Entity Statutory Amendments

On August 1, 2022, the 2022 amendments to Delaware’s entity statutes went into effect. These included amendments to the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”), the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act (the “LLC Act”), the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act (the “DRULPA”), the Delaware Revised Uniform Partnership Act (the “DRUPA” and together with the LLC Act and the DRULPA, the “Alt Entity Acts”) and the Delaware Statutory Trust Act (the “DSTA”). Descriptions of some of the more notable amendments...

Middle Market M&A Key Deal Terms

A major law firm has completed a survey on trends and deal points in the M&A industry. The survey contains data and trends on many key points the M&A legal practitioner should be aware of as they negotiate M&A transactions, and the findings in the summary mirror our own experience in the market. In general in more recent transactions we have seen a continuing trend lower escrowed indemnity amounts, higher usage of representation and warranty (“R&W”) insurance, and generally more...

Proposed Statutory Officer Exculpation in Delaware

As we transition into spring, the minds of many corporate attorneys return to the annual updates proposed to the Delaware General Corporate Law (DGCL). If the changes proposed by the Council of Corporation Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association are adopted (as they usually are), they will become effective on August 1, 2022. A few of this year’s proposed changes are of particular significance to officers of Delaware corporations. As currently enacted, Section 102(b)(7) of the DGCL allows...

Delaware is a “Pro-Sandbagging” State

While M&A practitioners have long taken the view that Delaware is a “pro-sandbagging” state, a recent case in the Delaware Court of Chancery has added concrete authority to that position. In Arwood v. AW Site Services (March 9, 2022), the Court found that a buyer was entitled to indemnification stemming from the breaches of certain representations, despite that buyer having effectively prepared the financials and other information that were covered by the reps. “Sandbagging” is the buyer-favorable concept that preserves...

“Everything zen? Everything zen? I don’t think so. . .”¹ – MAE Clauses in the Time of COVID

On March 1, 2022, the Delaware Court of Chancery delivered a memorandum opinion ordering a yoga franchisor to complete the acquisition of its franchisee’s chain of yoga studios. The case arose out of the parties’ pre-COVID asset purchase agreement (“APA”) through which the defendant, CorePower Yoga LLC, was set to acquire various yoga studios owned by the plaintiff, Level 4 Yoga, LLC, for nearly $30 million. Level 4 claimed that CorePower breached the parties’ APA in the early months of...

Trends in Chinese M&A

Companies involved in M&A and their deal professionals in China and Hong Kong have been navigating a very changed U.S.- China dynamics for the U.S. outbound M&A market in the last few years. Based on increased barriers to entry, including as a result of greater CFIUS scrutiny, there have been fewer outbound M&A transactions from China into America for the last three years. Instead of investments and acquisitions, deal professionals are seeing divestitures becoming the new trend in the U.S....

HSR Developments

In January 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made two important announcements for M&A practitioners. First, on January 24, the FTC announced the annual adjustment of the thresholds that trigger premerger reporting obligations under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act. The new thresholds will apply to transactions closing after February 23, 2022. Second, the FTC announced the annual adjustment for maximum daily civil penalties for noncompliance with the HSR Act’s requirements (failure to file, failure to observe the mandatory waiting period, or...

The UK National Security and Investment Act 2021: A New Regime For Acquisition and Investment Transactions: Update

There have been a number of key developments in the evolution of the UK’s national security regime since our e-bulletin earlier this year (UK to Adopt New Powers Over M&A Activity To Protect National Security). First and foremost, the National Security and Investment Bill has now taken its place on the UK Statute Book as the National Security and Investment Act 2021 (the “Act”). The new legislation is set to come into force on the 4th January 2022. The Act...

U.S. National Security Issues in Cross-Border Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Deals

On October 28, 2021, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced the Food Security is National Security Act of 2021 (the “Act”). Among other things, the Act would require the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) to consider the “potential effects of [certain foreign investment transactions] on the security of the food and agriculture systems of the United States, including any effects on the availability of, access to, or safety and quality of food.” In other words, certain foreign...

FTC Announces New Position on Debt and HSR Valuation

On August 26, the Federal Trade Commission announced a new position on an important factor in determining whether a transaction must be reported under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act: whether debt repayment at closing counts in determining the value of a transaction. The FTC’s new position is that “the full or partial retirement of debt should be included in calculating the Acquisition Price in any instance where selling shareholder(s) benefit from the retirement of that debt.” An explanation of the FTC’s new...

Semi-Annual M&A Update

On August 11th , Dorsey presented a review of corporate, alternative entity, and securities law developments of interest to the M&A practitioner, including the latest Delaware decisions. Watch the presentation by Brian Burke, Amelia Messa, and Jonathon Van Horn here.

Reverse Veil Piercing

Under Delaware law, the doctrine of “piercing the corporate veil” has traditionally been used only in circumstances where there has been serious misconduct, and in such cases the Delaware courts have only applied this doctrine to put aside the limited liability of an entity in order to hold its equityholders or directors personally liable for the company’s actions or debts. Until recently, the Delaware Chancery Court has not taken on a case where a plaintiff sought to pierce the corporate...

2021 Delaware Entity Statutory Amendments

Consistent with Delaware’s practice of annually amending its entity statutes to meet the needs of the changing business community, the State of Delaware’s Governor recently signed into law the 2021 amendments to Delaware’s Limited Liability Company Act, Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, Revised Uniform Partnership Act (the “RUPA”) and General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”). There were no amendments this year to Delaware’s Statutory Trust Act, which is generally amended every other year. This year’s statutory amendments will go into effect...

UK to Adopt New Powers Over M&A Activity to Protect National Security

Draft legislation currently being debated in the UK Parliament will introduce a new regime similar to that of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) while maintaining the UK’s position as an attractive forum for business and an openness to foreign investment. While the National Security and Investment Act (“NSIA”) will not come into effect until later this year, it will have retroactive effect from November 12, 2020. It is therefore important that entities contemplating any transaction...

Mergers Involving Delaware LLCs Don’t Trigger Appraisal Rights – Except When They Do

When parties consider an M&A transaction involving a merger, a factor that is top of mind for counsel is complying with the statutory appraisal procedures afforded to holders of equity in the merging entity who do not consent to the transaction – particularly where it is expected that a portion of the shareholder base will not approve of the transaction. Section 262 of the Delaware General Corporation Law protects shareholders of Delaware corporations who do not consent to a merger...

Alaska Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Virtual Shareholder Meetings

Dorsey Assists Alaska Corporations to Hold Annual Virtual and Hybrid Meetings The Alaska Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 24, on March 22, 2021, allowing corporate shareholder meetings and nonprofit member meetings to be held via remote communications. The bill was signed into law by Governor Dunleavy on March 31, 2021. “This is a common-sense bill that makes Alaska an easier place to do business, and I expect it to have an immediate and positive impact,” said Alaska Representative Matt Claman....

FTC Temporarily Suspends Early Terminations

The FTC and DOJ announced today the temporary suspension of the practice of granting “early termination” of the HSR waiting period. In other words, for the time being, you should assume that any reportable transaction will require the full 30-day waiting period (shorter in all-cash tender offers). This is expected to be a short-duration suspension. See FTC press release here.

Decrease in HSR Reportability Thresholds and Other HSR Developments

On February 2, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the annual adjustment of the thresholds that trigger premerger reporting obligations (and the mandatory waiting period) under the Hart-Scott Rodino (HSR) Act. The new thresholds will apply to transactions closing on or after March 4, 2021 (that is, 30 days after publication of the announcement in the Federal Register). This year, for the first time in a decade, the thresholds decreased. Last month, the FTC also announced adjusted thresholds that trigger prohibitions...

How CFIUS Foreign Transaction Monitoring Broadened

2020 is a year we will not soon forget. 2020 was also a year full of dramatic changes for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The committee’s mandate remained the same — review foreign investments in U.S. businesses to protect national security. When necessary, the president can prohibit a proposed transaction, or require a foreign person to divest their interest in a U.S. business on national security grounds. However, important modifications to the CFIUS process were introduced...