Board-shareholder engagement plays an important role in corporate governance. In the last decade, investors have increasingly influenced business decisions, and their activities have extended beyond the formal submission of shareholder resolutions for voting at annual meetings. On their part, directors and managers have kept an open channel of communication. Yet, much of board-shareholder engagement consists of private interactions and, as a result, very few details about it are reported.
We seek to fill this gap in a new paper that sheds light on closed-door board-shareholder engagement with a survey of SEC-registered corporations. The survey was circulated among corporate secretaries, general … Read more
On February 23, 2022, the European Commission issued its long-awaited proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (the Proposed Directive). Under the Proposed Directive, large companies operating in the EU market must identify, prevent, and mitigate any actual or potential adverse human rights and environmental impact in their own operations, in their subsidiaries, and at the level of their established direct or indirect business relationships in their value chain. Adverse human rights and environmental impacts are keyed to violations of a long list of human rights and environmental obligations laid out in international conventions and declarations, irrespective of … Read more
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
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
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