In Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. v. Moab Partners, No. 22-1165, 2024 WL 1588706 (U.S. Apr. 12, 2024) (“MIC”), the United States Supreme Court (Sotomayor, J.) held unanimously that “pure omissions” in a Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filing do not support liability under SEC Rule 10b-5(b). The Court ruled that the failure to make a required disclosure can give rise to a Rule 10b-5(b) claim only if the non-disclosure renders affirmative “statements made” misleading. Put differently, if a company elects to speak, it must tell the whole truth (or at least “information necessary to ensure that the [affirmative] statements made are clear and complete”); but a company’s silence on an issue is not securities fraud under Rule 10b-5(b), even if the company is otherwise duty-bound to disclose.Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds “Pure Omissions” Are Not Actionable Under Rule 10b-5(b)

Over the last several years, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has been laser-focused on the use of so-called “off-channel communications” in the financial services industry. On the theory that employees’ use of personal devices and platforms (such as WhatsApp) to communicate about business violates the “books and records” requirements applicable to financial institutions, the regulator has conducted intrusive and extensive investigations. To respond to the SEC, many companies have required employees to have their personal cell phones copied and reviewed. Continue Reading What Private Equity Firms Need to Know About the Ongoing SEC Investigation of “Off-Channel” Communications

Beginning on January 1, 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”) requires each domestic and foreign entity that qualifies as a “reporting company” to file a Beneficial Ownership Information Report (“BOIR”) with the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), which discloses information about the reporting company, the reporting company’s beneficial owners, and the individuals who prepared and filed the formation/registration documents of the reporting company with the Secretary of State (if formed/registered on or after January 1, 2024).Continue Reading The Corporate Transparency Act: Which Business Entities are Impacted and What is Required

In Ap-Fonden v. Activision Blizzard, Inc., C.A. No. 2022-1001-KSJM, 2024 WL 863290 (Del. Ch. Feb. 29, 2024), the Delaware Court of Chancery (McCormick, C.) declined to dismiss a claim alleging that the Board of Directors of defendant Activision Blizzard, Inc. (“Activision”) violated Section 251(b) of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) by approving a draft merger agreement between Activision and Microsoft, Inc. (“Microsoft”) that was not sufficiently final. The Court held that to comply with Section 251(b), the version of a merger agreement the board must consider and approve need not be “execution ready” but must be “essentially complete.” Practitioners should pay close attention to the Court’s holdings here as it may vary from what some consider customary market practice.Continue Reading Delaware Court of Chancery Puts Practitioners on Notice Regarding Voting Formalities Around Merger Agreements

In Palkon v. Maffei, C.A. No. 2023-0449-JTL, 2024 Del. Ch. LEXIS 48 (Del. Ch. Feb. 20, 2024) (Laster, V.C.) the Delaware Court of Chancery considered whether a controlling stockholder’s approval of transactions reincorporating two Delaware corporations in Nevada is subject to entire fairness review where there was a lack of procedural protections that would give the approval of the transactions the patina of arms-length bargaining. Because the stockholders’ derivative complaint contained allegations that (if true) established that the disputed transactions adversely affected investor protections, the Court of Chancery applied the inherently-factual “entire fairness” standard of review and denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss.Continue Reading Delaware Corporations Must Employ Procedural Safeguards When Approving a Reincorporation that Could Benefit a Controlling Stockholder to Avoid Entire Fairness Standard of Review

In Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, 601 U. S. ____, 2024 WL 478566 (2024), the United States Supreme Court (Sotomayor, J.) held that whistleblowers do not need to prove their employer acted with “retaliatory intent” to be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Instead, all whistleblower plaintiffs need to prove is that their protected activity was a “contributing factor” in the employer’s unfavorable personnel action. The decision establishes a lower burden of proof for whistleblowers alleging retaliation and, conversely, reaffirms a greater burden on employers who must demonstrate the absence of retaliation under the heightened “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard in order to prevail.Continue Reading United States Supreme Court Endorses Low Burden of Proof for Whistleblowers

In Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. v. Ainslie, No. 162, 2023, 2024 WL 315193 (Del. Jan. 29, 2024), the Delaware Supreme Court held enforceable a “forfeiture for competition” provision in a limited partnership agreement, upholding “the freedom of contract” and enforcing “as a matter of fundamental public policy the voluntary agreements of sophisticated parties.” Given Delaware’s recent shift from its typically non-compete friendly stance, the Delaware Supreme Court’s ruling is beneficial for employers.Continue Reading Delaware Supreme Court Enforces Forfeiture for Competition Provision in Partnership Agreement

1. Higher Jurisdictional Thresholds For HSR Filings

On January 22, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, higher thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act). The jurisdictional thresholds are revised annually, based on the change in Gross National Product (GNP).Continue Reading Higher Jurisdictional and Filing Fees Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

The United States Department of the Treasury has announced that it is working to address what it perceives as money laundering risks associated with investment advisers. Specifically, the agency asserts that absent consistent and comprehensive anti-money laundering (“AML”) and countering the financing of terrorism (“CFT”) obligations, corrupt officials and other illicit actors may invest ill-gotten gains in the U.S. financial system through hedge funds and private equity firms. Treasury indicated its intention to issue a proposal in the first quarter of 2024 that would apply Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) AML/CFT requirements, including suspicious activity report obligations, to certain investment advisers.Continue Reading Treasury Announces Renewed Push for Investment Adviser AML Rules

In Segway Inc. v. Hong Cai, 2023 Del. Ch. LEXIS 643 (Del. Ch. Dec. 14, 2023), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Will, V.C.) dismissed a claim for breach of fiduciary duty brought by Segway Inc. (the “Company”) against its former President and Vice President of Finance (the “Officer”). The Company framed its claim as a claim for breach of the duty of oversight, commonly known as a Caremark claim (from the landmark case In re Caremark Int’l Inc. Derivative Litigation, 698 A.2d 959 (Del. Ch. 1996)). Continue Reading The Delaware Court of Chancery Confirms that Duty of Oversight Claims Against Corporate Officers Are Subject to the Same High Pleading Standards Applicable to Duty of Oversight Claims Against Corporate Directors

On December 18, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice (the “Agencies”) jointly issued Final Merger Guidelines, following a public comment period on the Proposed Merger Guidelines first issued in July. The Final Merger Guidelines update and replace the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines and the rescinded 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines. The Final Merger Guidelines kept important components from the Proposed Merger Guidelines (e.g., lower thresholds rendering certain transactions presumptively illegal, focus on cumulative effects of multiple acquisitions, etc.). Among the most significant developments from prior iterations of the merger guidelines are the adoption of a market share threshold in determining when a transaction is presumed to be illegal, expansion of the concept of vertical mergers to include mergers involving “related” products or services, and formal espousal of the current Administration’s focus on the impact of mergers on labor.Continue Reading The Wait is Over: DOJ and FTC Issue Final Merger Guidelines