Unlike most other countries, the U.S. taxes corporations on earnings generated anywhere in the world. This means that U.S. corporations have a strong tax incentive to renounce their U.S. incorporation and redomicile in a foreign country. Enter the inversion, a legal maneuver that has become increasingly popular and politicized in recent years, most notably with the announcement of Pfizer’s plan to move to Ireland as part of its acquisition of Allergan. Although recent rule changes by the Treasury has caused Pfizer to abandon this plan for the moment, inversions will continue to occur because of the tax benefits to the … Read more
|Rank||Name||School||Citations||Age in 2016|
|1||John Coffee, Jr.||Columbia University||1470||72|
|2||Lucian Bebchuk||Harvard University||1130||61|
|3||Stephen Bainbridge||University of California, Los Angeles||1010||58|
|4||Reinier Kraakman||Harvard University||820||67|
|5||Stephen Choi||New York University||780||50|
|6||Donald Langevoort||Georgetown University||770||65|
|7||Ronald Gilson||Columbia University||760||70|
|8||Lynn Stout||Cornell University||750||59|
|9||Roberta Romano||Yale University||730||64|
|10||Henry Hansmann||Yale University||720||71|
|11||Bernard Black||Northwestern University||630||63|
|12||James Cox||Duke University||620||73|
U.S. capital market has long been an attractive destination to foreign companies. Cross-listing by foreign firms on U.S. exchanges has been associated with major benefits such as increase in value, easier access to external finance, and lower cost of capital. A recent deregulation by SEC in 2007, Rule 12h-6, may have significant impact on the benefits of cross-listing and the attractiveness of U.S. capital market to foreign firms. Our study explores the long-term consequences of this deregulation and its implication for U.S. capital market.
The main drivers of the benefits enjoyed by cross-listed foreign firms is a subject of passionate … Read more
The rise of shareholder activism has become a global phenomenon. Shareholder activists are not only present–as they started–in the US, but also in European and Asian Markets. This situation has generated a vast literature about the desirability (or not) of shareholder activism.  In essence, there are two main positions: (i) those who argue that shareholder activists improve the corporate governance of the firm, and therefore they help increase the value of the firm; and (ii) those who claim that shareholder activists only improve the value of the firm in the short-term, and they encourage managers to cut … Read more
The work of Columbia Law School Professor Kate Judge appears in the list of twelve best corporate and securities law articles in 2015, based on a poll conducted by the Corporate Practice Commentator. Teachers in corporate and securities law were asked to select the best corporate and securities articles from a list of articles published and indexed in legal journals during 2015. More than 540 articles were on the list. Professor Judge was selected for her article Intermediary Influence appearing in the University of Chicago Law Review.… Read more
Intra-corporate dispute (ICD) arbitration may cover a wide range of disputes between shareholders, between shareholders and the company, and between shareholders and third parties such as the company directors. ICD arbitration has been practiced in the US for many years for resolving disputes both in non-listed and listed companies. It has also been used for shareholder claims for breach of fiduciary duty against the company’s directors in a takeover bid (tender offer). In my paper, I argue for the UK to facilitate ICD arbitration more widely and, in particular, for UK listed companies. However, I also discuss that although the … Read more
A corporate inversion involves the relocation of a corporation’s legal domicile to a lower-tax nation (host country) while retaining its material operations in its higher-tax country of origin (home country). Corporations have been engaging in inversions for over three decades. The first inversion in 1982 occurred when Louisiana-based construction firm McDermott International converted one of its cash-rich Panama-based subsidiaries into the new parent firm, thereby paying much lower income taxes.
Corporate inversions have become headline news again in the US. Last year, US-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced a merger with Ireland-based Allergan. Pfizer expected to reduce its effective tax rate … Read more
Global business puts pressure on geographically limited courts. U.S. courts, for instance, can reach only defendants with contacts with the forum territory, usually the specific U.S. state in which the court is located. But litigation may be brought against part of a multinational business that has separately organized entities in different countries. Often the local subsidiary has direct contacts, but the plaintiffs want to sue the absent parent as well. Can they? The somewhat unsatisfactory answer is that it depends. Often it depends on whether the local subsidiary’s contacts with the forum territory “count” as those of the parent company. … Read more
Corporate governance scholarship has long considered the problems that arise in public companies with dispersed ownership. But the automaker Volkswagen does not suffer from a dispersed ownership structure. In fact, it has several strong and highly active owners. The Porsche and Piëch families have been involved with the company for many years and own 31.5% of Volkswagen’s equity. The German state where the company is headquartered, Lower Saxony, holds 12.4%, and an outside investor, Qatar Holding, owns 15.4%. With such powerful economic incentives in not one but three actors, management should have been subject to the kind of exacting oversight … Read more
The ‘Twin Peaks’ method of financial system regulation is widely regarded as the leading model for the regulation of a country’s financial system. Australia was the first to adopt the model in 1997, has been using it the longest, and fared the best among the G20 during the global financial crisis. As a result, Australia’s Twin Peaks model is being exported around the globe.
The model was first proposed by an Englishman, Dr Michael Taylor, in 1994. So-called because it proposes two, specialist, mega-regulators: one charged with the maintenance of financial system stability (ensuring banks don’t end-up bankrupt), and … Read more
Columbia Law School is looking for an Editor-at-Large to oversee and administer the Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog. The Blog, now completing its third year, has grown rapidly and become one of the most read sources of current information and opinion on corporate law, securities law, and financial regulatory issues, including white collar crime, enforcement, antitrust, restructuring and kindred topics. The Blog’s content presents legal developments and insights from a range of sources, including practitioners, academics and regulatory bodies. A new post is generally published at least once every weekday and the Blog also highlights important news developments in … Read more
Herd behavior is a widely used notion met in different contexts and disciplines, from neurology and zoology to sociology, psychology, economics and finance. In economics and finance the term herd behavior usually suggests the process where agents tend to imitate each other’s actions and/or base their decisions upon the actions of others. This behavior may not always indicate irrational agents. For instance, market participants may infer information from actions of previous participants, investors may react to the arrival of fundamental information or analysts and institutional investors may herd in order to protect their reputation. For example, Bikhchandani and Sharma (2001) … Read more
In § 1502 of Dodd-Frank, Congress instructed the SEC to draft rules requiring public companies to disclose their use of “conflict minerals” originating in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Coined the Conflict Minerals Rule, the statute is based on the notion that investor accountability paves the way for socially conscious corporate behavior. The suspicion was that money from U.S. companies was flowing to warlord-controlled mines in the region and thereby fueling human rights abuses by such groups. The hope was that improved transparency ushered in by the Rule would cause companies to turn off the spigot.… Read more
A core focus of the activities of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) is to develop and work towards implementing consistent standards of securities regulation throughout the world. Another of its important goals is to enhance the enforcement capabilities of its members. To this end in 2002 IOSCO formulated its Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information (MMoU). This MMoU simplifies the process by which securities regulators can obtain information from each other for enforcement purposes. IOSCO has 124 members comprising the securities regulators from countries representing almost all of the world’s capital … Read more
Many large firms – Google, Alibaba and Fitbit to name a few — have multiple voting share structures (MVS) in which the firm issues two or more classes of shares, one to the public and the other to insiders (typically founders, promoters, management, private investors or board members). The shares that are issued publicly have limited voting rights while the class issued to insiders carries more voting rights, allowing them to control the company. The one-to-one ratio of votes per share prevalent in non-MVS firms does not exist.
MVS undermine corporate governance standards because outside shareholders carry a disproportionate share … Read more
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an interagency organization charged with identifying potential national security risks posed by foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses and mitigating those risks as necessary. If CFIUS determines that the national security risks cannot be mitigated adequately, it recommends that the U.S. president block the transaction. CFIUS’s authority extends both to proposed transactions and to transactions that have already been completed.
On February 19, 2016, CFIUS issued the unclassified version of its annual report to Congress. The report, which focuses on CFIUS activity during calendar year 2014, identifies key developments relating … Read more
In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-09 there was a widespread perception that the opacity of derivatives exposures held by major financial institutions contributed to the build-up of systemic risk. As a result, the G-20 leaders convened in 2009 in Pittsburgh and decided to reform derivatives markets, with a key ingredient of these reforms being the improvement of pre-trade transparency in these markets. The essence of this particular reform was that whoever wished to trade a derivative contract should be able to more easily observe and trade at the best available price. The United States implemented this reform … Read more
The recent market turmoil has forced VC firms and other private company investors to examine closely the real possibility of seeking financing at a lower valuation – what is often referred to as a “down round.” More recently, the New York Times observed in January, “The unicorn1 wars are coming, as the downturn in the market will force these onetime highfliers to seek money at valuations below their earlier billion-dollar-plus levels[.]”
While down-round financings impact all private company stakeholders, one demographic that can become particularly disaffected are employees – often, the one group of stakeholders that start-ups cannot afford … Read more
One of the most remarkable features of US corporate law–at least, from the perspective of a foreign scholar–is the power given to the board of directors. Under current US corporate law (especially, in Delaware), the authority of the board of directors is not in significant question. Several arguments have been given to explain this reality; and various policy justifications may even support the lack of substantive checks on board discretion.
From the shareholders’ perspective, this authority of the board of directors means that they will virtually have no powers to intervene in the business affairs of the corporation, even with … Read more