What You Need to Know About Mergers and Acquisitions Involving Government Contractors and Their Suppliers

Volume VI —Organizational Conflicts of Interest:  When the Whole Is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts

An organizational conflict of interest (“OCI”) arises when the performance of one contract undermines a contractor’s objectivity or creates an unfair competitive advantage with respect to another contract.  An agency cannot issue an award to a contractor that possesses an OCI unless that OCI has been avoided, mitigated, or waived.  Many government contracts include clauses that require contractors to avoid potential OCIs, to notify the Government of any OCIs that arise after award, and to work with the Government to mitigate any such OCIs.  Some contracts also avoid OCIs proactively by precluding the contractor from performing specific types of work.

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Delaware Chancery Court Rejects MBO Merger Price as Best Evidence of Fair Value in Appraisal Proceeding

In In re Appraisal of Dell Inc., No. 9322 VCL, 2016 Del. Ch. LEXIS 81 (Del. Ch. May 31, 2016) (Laster, V.C.), the Delaware Court of Chancery determined that the fair value of the common stock of Dell Inc. (“Dell” or the “Company”) as of the effective date of a 2012 management buyout (“MBO”) was $17.62 per share, or $3.74 per share more than the merger consideration of $13.75 per share plus a $0.13 special dividend.  Although Dell’s directors properly discharged their fiduciary duties, and the sale process included a go-shop period that triggered a bidding contest, according to the Court, the MBO underpriced the Company by more than $5 billion.  Notably, the factors responsible for this divergence included limitations inherent in any MBO-driven sale process.  The Court relied entirely on a discounted cash flow (“DCF”) analysis to determine fair value.  The decision likely will further increase the frequency in which stockholders of Delaware corporations pursue statutory appraisal rights, particularly in the MBO context.

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What You Need to Know About Mergers and Acquisitions Involving Government Contractors and Their Suppliers

Volume V —The Land Mines Strewn Throughout the Data Room

M&A transactions, like most transactions in life, involve a cost/benefit analysis.  Some cost/benefit analyses are relatively easy to perform.  For example, if I buy an energy efficient appliance, I can calculate the likely savings in energy costs over the useful life of the appliance (the benefit) and compare it with the acquisition cost of the appliance (the cost).  M&A transactions, of course, involve far more complex cost/benefit analyses.  But the key to any such analysis is the ability to identify and quantify the costs and benefits with some measure of confidence.  Every line of business has its own quirks and idiosyncrasies, and they need to be understood when evaluating the acquisition of a company that operates in that line.  More than most, the business of government contracting is replete with such quirks and idiosyncrasies, and they can have a dramatic effect on the “cost” side of the cost/benefit analysis.

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What You Need to Know About Mergers and Acquisitions Involving Government Contractors and Their Suppliers

Volume IV – Key Issues in Government Contracts Due Diligence

This posting is the fourth in our ten-part series on unique issues that arise in connection with mergers and acquisitions involving government contractors and subcontractors.  Parts 1 through 3 focused on the structure of the transaction and the implications of that structure on the transfer of pending contracts and proposals.  This posting, Part 4, introduces some of the most important issues that potential buyers should consider and address during the due diligence and negotiation process.  The posting is not intended to be a detailed “due diligence checklist,” but rather a high level overview of certain key factors that are likely to impact the “go/no go” decision and the buyer’s valuation of the target company.

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What You Need to Know About Mergers and Acquisitions Involving Government Contractors and Their Suppliers

Volume III—What Happens to Pending Proposals?

Thus far in this ten-part series, we have discussed whether and how existing contracts with the Government can be transferred to the buyer or surviving entity when an acquisition, merger, or consolidation occurs. Today, we leave the world of existing contracts and turn to bids and proposals that are pending when the deal closes.  What happens to those as-yet-unaccepted offers?  Is there anything you can do to enhance the likelihood that the Government will be willing to accept such offers notwithstanding the organizational change?  And, if you are in second place when the award is made to a “reorganized” offeror, are there possible protest grounds lurking in the deal that you could assert to obtain the award? Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Reverses District Court for Ignoring Price-Impact Evidence That Rebutted the Fraud-on-the-Market Presumption and Defeated Class Certification

In IBEW Local 98 Pension Fund v. Best Buy Co., Inc., No. 14-3178 (8th Cir. Apr. 12, 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held, in a Rule 10b-5 securities fraud action, that the district court incorrectly analyzed the price-impact evidence submitted by defendants to rebut the fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance that plaintiffs had invoked to satisfy Rule 23(b)(3)’s predominance requirement.  Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Haliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2398, 2414-16 (2014) (Halliburton II), recognized a defendant’s right to rebut the presumption using price-impact evidence at the class-certification stage.  Based on Haliburton II, the majority panel determined that defendants had submitted “overwhelming” evidence that the alleged misstatement caused no stock price inflation.  The panel rejected plaintiffs’ theory that the misstatement could nevertheless have “maintained” the stock’s already-inflated price at the allegedly inflated level.  The decision importantly limits the fraud-on-the-market presumption to cases in which the alleged misstatement is the independent cause of new or additional stock price inflation. Continue Reading

In Wake of Panama Papers Scandal Obama Calls for Stricter Bank Regulations, Tax Rules

In a news conference today President Obama addressed rules and proposed regulations announced Thursday intended to help the U.S. fight tax evasion and other crimes connected to anonymous offshore companies and accounts.  The announcements come after a month of intense review by the administration following the first release of the so-called Panama Papers, millions of documents stolen or leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack, Fonseca.  The papers have revealed a who’s who of international politicians, business leaders, sports figures and celebrities involved with financial transactions accomplished through anonymous shell corporations.

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What You Need to Know About Mergers and Acquisitions Involving Government Contractors and Their Suppliers

Volume II – Obtaining Consent to Assign a Government Contract

This posting is the second in a ten-part series on unique issues that arise in the acquisition and disposition of a company that performs government contracts or subcontracts.  Part 1 focused on the types of deal structures that are subject to the anti-assignment statutes, and therefore require Government consent.  We explained that consent is not required for stock purchases, is required for asset sales, and may be required for other types of transactions, including mergers.  This posting, Part 2, addresses the consent process, including the who, what, when, and how of obtaining a novation agreement.  It also includes practical tips, based on our experience, for navigating the novation process efficiently and successfully. Continue Reading

Second Circuit Narrowly Applies Supreme Court’s Decision in Omnicare

In In re Sanofi Securities Litigation, No. 15-588-cv, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4107 (2d Cir. Mar. 4, 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of class action complaints alleging that the defendants had made materially false or misleading statements or omissions in their registration statement.  The Court examined the impact of the United States Supreme Court’s intervening decision in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund, 135 S.Ct. 1318 (2015) (previously covered here), which held that a statement of opinion which omits material facts about the issuer’s knowledge may be misleading if the omitted facts conflict with what a reasonable investor would infer from reading the statement in context.  The Second Circuit in Sanofi held that statements of opinion were not misleading under Omnicare where they omitted a fact that did not conflict with what a reasonable investor would take from the statement.  The court further noted that statements of opinion are not misleading simply because they omit facts cutting the other way.  Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Increases Scrutiny on Disclosure-Only M&A Class Action Settlements

As recently as 2014, nearly 95% of all mergers of public companies valued at $100 million or more triggered stockholder class action litigation. Historically, a large number of merger-related stockholder litigation settled solely on the basis of supplemental proxy disclosures coupled with the payment of the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees.  Such disclosure-based settlements have been criticized for providing little real benefit to stockholders and amounting to no more than a “deal tax” in favor of plaintiff’s lawyers, while at the same time threatening the loss of potentially valuable stockholder claims as a result of an overly broad release of defendants.  In In re Trulia Stockholder Litigation, 2016 Del. Ch. LEXIS 8 (Del. Ch. Jan. 22, 2016), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Bouchard C.) confirmed that the Court will be “increasingly vigilant in scrutinizing the ‘give’ and the ‘get’ of [disclosure based] settlements to ensure that they are genuinely fair and reasonable to the absent class members.” Continue Reading

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