Category Archives: Mergers & Acquisitions

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What Are ‘Commercially Reasonable Efforts’ in M&A Transactions?

Two recent rulings out of the Delaware Court of Chancery have highlighted the importance of clearly defining the terms of pre-closing obligations. In an M&A transaction, it takes significant time to get from a signed letter of intent to a closed deal. Pre-closing obligations, and the level of effort a party is required to exert to meet those … Continue Reading

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

Volume X – Accounting for the Cost of Business Combinations Under Government Contracts Mergers and acquisitions create additional costs and complex accounting issues for government contractors.  There are fees for accounting, legal, and business consultants.  There may be restructuring costs associated with combining business operations.  Segments may be closed and retirement plans may be terminated.  … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Dismisses Post-Closing Disclosure Claims for Damages, Cautioning That Such Claims Are Best Pursued Pre-Closing

In Nguyen v. Barrett, C.A. No. 11511-VCG, 2016 WL 5404095 (Del. Ch. Sept. 28, 2016) (Glasscock, V.C.), the Delaware Court of Chancery dismissed an amended complaint seeking damages for alleged disclosure violations in connection with a tender offer that had already closed.  The Chancery Court’s opinion demonstrates the challenges plaintiffs face when they pursue non-exculpated … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Addresses the “Cleansing Effect” of Stockholder Approval In Post-Closing M&A Damages Actions

In two recent decisions, City of Miami General Employees’ & Sanitation Employees’ Retirement Trust v. Comstock, C.A. No. 9980-CB, 2016 Del. Ch. LEXIS 133 (Del. Ch. Aug. 24, 2016) (Bouchard, C.) (“Comstock”), and Larkin v. Shah, C.A. No. 10918-VCS, 2016 Del. Ch. LEXIS 134 (Del. Ch. Aug. 25, 2016) (Slights, V.C.), the Delaware Court of … Continue Reading

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

Volume IX – Unclassified Contracts?  Foreign Buyers Still Make a Difference Last month, we discussed the extent to which a foreign buyer can introduce an unacceptable level of foreign ownership, control, or influence (“FOCI”) that, absent mitigation, will render the target ineligible for the facility security clearances needed to perform classified work. This month, we … Continue Reading

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

Volume VIII – Foreign Buyers Do Make a Difference Not every potential buyer is a U.S. corporation controlled by U.S. interests.  It is important, both for the buyer and the seller, to understand the implications of foreign ownership, control, or influence (“FOCI”) on the feasibility of a sale to foreign interests and the processes that … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Criticizes Disclosure-Only M&A Litigation Settlements, Holding That Supplemental Proxy Disclosures Must Address and Correct a Plainly Material Misrepresentation or Omission

In In re Walgreen Co. Stockholder Litigation, No. 14 C 9786, 2016 WL 4207962 (7th Cir. Aug. 10, 2016) (Posner, J.), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a highly charged opinion critical of an unopposed settlement of a stockholder class action “strike suit” which provided “nonexistent” benefits to class members … Continue Reading

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

Volume VII—Investing in Small Businesses Numerous government contracts programs support small businesses.  There are prime contracts set aside for various categories of small business entities.  Agencies have small business contracting goals and take them very seriously.  Prime contractors often are incentivized, through evaluation factors, to propose significant small business participation.  They can also face liquidated … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … 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 … Continue Reading

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

Volume I – The Structure of the Deal and Government Consent With today’s posting, we begin a ten-part series on unique issues that arise in connection with the acquisition or disposition of a company that performs government contracts or subcontracts. These issues obviously come into play when the target company fits the bill as an … Continue Reading

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That a Stockholder Plaintiff Must Plead a Non-Exculpated Claim to Avoid Section 102(b)(7)-Based Dismissal When Seeking Damages From Independent and Disinterested Directors

In the consolidated appeal In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc., Stockholder Litigation and In re Zhongpin Stockholders Litigation, Nos. 564, 2014 and 706, 2014, 2015 Del. LEXIS 231 (Del. May 14, 2015), the Delaware Supreme Court considered for the first time the pleading burden a stockholder plaintiff must meet when seeking to recover monetary damages from … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Rejects Share-Tracing Standing Requirement for Appraisal Petitioners

The Delaware Court of Chancery issued companion opinions clarifying Delaware’s standing requirements for appraisal petitions under 8 Del. C. § 262.  In In re Appraisal of Ancestry.com, Inc., C.A. No. 8173-VGC, 2015 WL 66825 (Del. Ch. Jan. 5, 2015), and Merion Capital LP v. BMC Software, Inc., C.A. No. 8900-VCG, 2015 WL 67586 (Del. Ch. Jan. … Continue Reading

Fiduciary Duties in the Context of Dent v. Ramtron Int’l Corp.

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently addressed a number of claims commonly made in the “ubiquitous” stockholder litigation that follows announcement of a public merger or acquisition transaction.  In Dent v. Ramtron Int’l Corp., C.A. No. 7950-VCP (Del. Ch. June 30, 2014), a stockholder of Ramtron International Corp. filed suit after Ramtron was acquired by … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Underscores Heightened Pleading Standard Necessary to Support a Claim for Breach of Fiduciary Duty In Connection With a Merger

In Houseman v. Sagerman, C.A. No. 8898-VCG, 2014 WL 1478511 (Del. Ch. Apr. 16, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Glasscock, V.C.) granted, in part, a motion to dismiss filed by certain directors and the financial advisor of Universata, Inc. (“Universata” or the “Company”) arising out of the Company’s merger with HealthPort Technologies, LLC (“HealthPort”).  … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Grants Summary Judgment Dismissing Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims In Absence of Evidence of Directors’ “Conscious Disregard” of Fiduciary Duties

In In re Answers Corp. Shareholders Litigation, C.A. No. 6170-VCN, 2014 WL 463163 (Del. Ch. Feb. 3, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Noble, V.C.) granted summary judgment in favor of defendants in a stockholder class action for breach of fiduciary duty arising out of the merger of Answers Corporation (“Answers” or the “Company”) with … Continue Reading

Delaware Chancery Court Declines to Apply Offer-of-Judgment Rule in Appraisal Proceedings

In Huff Fund Investment Partnership v. CKx, Inc., Civil Action No. 6844-VCG, 2014 WL 545958 (Del. Ch. Feb. 12, 2014) (Glasscock, V.C.), the Delaware Court of Chancery denied a request by respondent CKx, Inc. (“CKx”) to compel the petitioning stockholder to accept the tender of an undisputed portion of the fair value of the petitioner’s … Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Applies Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing to Prohibit An Acquiring Entity From Diverting Revenues to Depress Payouts Under a Contingent Purchase Price Provision

In American Capital Acquisition Partners, LLC v. LPL Holdings, Inc., CA NO. 9490-VCG, 2014 WL 354496 (Del. Ch. Feb. 3, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery applied the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to a merger agreement’s contingent purchase price provision.  The court held that under the implied covenant an acquiring entity … Continue Reading

When Is a Non-Binding Term Sheet or Letter of Intent Enforced as a Binding Contract?

In almost all corporate transactions, the first piece of written documentation the parties exchange and execute (after a non-disclosure agreement) is a letter of intent or term sheet (“LOI”), which is intended to summarize the main deal points. And as many corporate transactions involve entities organized in Delaware, these documents often select Delaware as the … Continue Reading

Delaware General Corporation Law Amended to Speed Up the Consummation of Two-Step Merger Transactions

The Delaware General Corporation Law, 8 Del. Code (the “DGCL”), has been amended to add a new Section 251(h) providing for, subject to certain conditions, a more expeditious and less costly closing of a two-step transaction. This new section will simplify and streamline the going private process by eliminating the need for stockholder approval in … Continue Reading
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