Can a Broader Corporate Purpose Redress Inequality?

Well before the Covid-19 pandemic, policymakers and scholars were focused on the debate over corporate purpose and the fragility of an economic system marked by stagnation and runaway inequality.  As a solution, many urged a shift from shareholder primacy (the credo that the main duty of corporate directors is to maximize wealth for shareholders) to a stakeholder approach, under which directors must create value for all constituencies of the corporation, including employees, customers, suppliers, and local communities. Such an approach – which promotes a seemingly radical change in how boards of directors make decisions – has historically appealed to two … Read more

Can Companies and M&A Law in Europe Adapt to the Market for Corporate Control?

Takeover regimes in Europe have been under persistent scrutiny by the public, politicians, and market participants. Sometimes, that is just the nature of the game: Takeovers create winners and losers, and the latter (with the help of their champions and constituencies) often complain. But other times the discontent derives from the inadequacy of regimes in handling certain deals. The task of the law is not easy: Deals are complex and unique, while the law is general. In particular, target companies have a particular ownership structure that must fit the paradigm contemplated by the law, which in the EU consists almost … Read more

The Case for Speeding the Merger Process

Corporate planners and practitioners know well that it takes quite a long time to close a long-form merger, with the shareholder approval requirement accounting for the bulk of the delay in almost half of such mergers. But we have not yet identified mechanisms for shortening the delay, in part because we assume that shareholder approval and related procedures are necessary. In a forthcoming article, I question this assumption and find that shareholder approval in the context of long-form mergers is in fact not nearly as valuable as we might expect.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, merger votes are rarely close. … Read more