Advisory Board

  • Cai Hongbin
  • Peking University Guanghua School of Management
  • Peter Clarke
  • Barry Diller
  • IAC/InterActiveCorp
  • Fu Chengyu
  • China National Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group)
  • Richard J. Gnodde
  • Goldman Sachs International
  • Lodewijk Hijmans van den Bergh
  • De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V.
  • Jiang Jianqing
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Ltd. (ICBC)
  • Handel Lee
  • King & Wood Mallesons
  • Richard Li
  • PCCW Limited
  • Pacific Century Group
  • Liew Mun Leong
  • Changi Airport Group
  • Martin Lipton
  • New York University
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Liu Mingkang
  • China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)
  • Dinesh C. Paliwal
  • Harman International Industries
  • Leon Pasternak
  • BCC Partners
  • Tim Payne
  • Brunswick Group
  • Joseph R. Perella
  • Perella Weinberg Partners
  • Baron David de Rothschild
  • N M Rothschild & Sons Limited
  • Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara
  • Temasek International Pte. Ltd.
  • Shao Ning
  • State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of China (SASAC)
  • John W. Snow
  • Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.
  • Former U.S. Secretary of Treasury
  • Bharat Vasani
  • Tata Group
  • Wang Junfeng
  • King & Wood Mallesons
  • Wang Kejin
  • China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)
  • Wei Jiafu
  • Kazakhstan Potash Corporation Limited
  • Yang Chao
  • China Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • Zhu Min
  • International Monetary Fund

Legal Roundtable

  • Dimitry Afanasiev
  • Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev and Partners (Moscow)
  • William T. Allen
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (New York)
  • Johan Aalto
  • Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd (Finland)
  • Nigel P. G. Boardman
  • Slaughter and May (London)
  • Willem J.L. Calkoen
  • NautaDutilh N.V. (Rotterdam)
  • Peter Callens
  • Loyens & Loeff (Brussels)
  • Bertrand Cardi
  • Darrois Villey Maillot & Brochier (Paris)
  • Santiago Carregal
  • Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal (Buenos Aires)
  • Martín Carrizosa
  • Philippi Prietocarrizosa & Uría (Bogotá)
  • Carlos G. Cordero G.
  • Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Panama)
  • Ewen Crouch
  • Allens (Sydney)
  • Adam O. Emmerich
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (New York)
  • Rachel Eng
  • WongPartnership (Singapore)
  • Sergio Erede
  • BonelliErede (Milan)
  • Kenichi Fujinawa
  • Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (Tokyo)
  • Manuel Galicia Romero
  • Galicia Abogados (Mexico City)
  • Danny Gilbert
  • Gilbert + Tobin (Sydney)
  • Vladimíra Glatzová
  • Glatzová & Co. (Prague)
  • Juan Miguel Goenechea
  • Uría Menéndez (Madrid)
  • Andrey A. Goltsblat
  • Goltsblat BLP (Moscow)
  • Juan Francisco Gutiérrez I.
  • Philippi Prietocarrizosa & Uría (Santiago)
  • Fang He
  • Jun He Law Offices (Beijing)
  • Christian Herbst
  • Schönherr (Vienna)
  • Lodewijk Hijmans van den Bergh
  • De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V. (Amsterdam)
  • Hein Hooghoudt
  • NautaDutilh N.V. (Amsterdam)
  • Sameer Huda
  • Hadef & Partners (Dubai)
  • Masakazu Iwakura
  • TMI Associates (Tokyo)
  • Christof Jäckle
  • Hengeler Mueller (Frankfurt)
  • Michael Mervyn Katz
  • Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (Johannesburg)
  • Handel Lee
  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
  • Martin Lipton
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (New York)
  • Alain Maillot
  • Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier (Paris)
  • Antônio Corrêa Meyer
  • Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice (São Paulo)
  • Sergio Michelsen Jaramillo
  • Brigard & Urrutia (Bogotá)
  • Zia Mody
  • AZB & Partners (Mumbai)
  • Christopher Murray
  • Osler (Toronto)
  • Francisco Antunes Maciel Müssnich
  • Barbosa, Müssnich & Aragão (Rio de Janeiro)
  • I. Berl Nadler
  • Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (Toronto)
  • Umberto Nicodano
  • BonelliErede (Milan)
  • Brian O'Gorman
  • Arthur Cox (Dublin)
  • Robin Panovka
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (New York)
  • Sang-Yeol Park
  • Park & Partners (Seoul)
  • José Antonio Payet Puccio
  • Payet Rey Cauvi (Lima)
  • Kees Peijster
  • COFRA Holding AG (Zug)
  • Juan Martín Perrotto
  • Uría & Menéndez (Madrid/Beijing)
  • Philip Podzebenko
  • Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
  • Geert Potjewijd
  • De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek (Amsterdam/Beijing)
  • Qi Adam Li
  • Jun He Law Offices (Shanghai)
  • Biörn Riese
  • Jurie Advokat AB (Sweden)
  • Mark Rigotti
  • Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
  • Rafael Robles Miaja
  • Robles Miaja (Mexico City)
  • Alberto Saravalle
  • BonelliErede (Milan)
  • Maximilian Schiessl
  • Hengeler Mueller (Düsseldorf)
  • Cyril S. Shroff
  • Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
  • Shardul S. Shroff
  • Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.(New Delhi)
  • Klaus Søgaard
  • Gorrissen Federspiel (Denmark)
  • Ezekiel Solomon
  • Allens (Sydney)
  • Emanuel P. Strehle
  • Hengeler Mueller (Munich)
  • David E. Tadmor
  • Tadmor & Co. (Tel Aviv)
  • Kevin J. Thomson
  • Barrick Gold Corporation (Toronto)
  • Yu Wakae
  • Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (Tokyo)
  • Wang Junfeng
  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
  • Tomasz Wardynski
  • Wardynski & Partners (Warsaw)
  • Rolf Watter
  • Bär & Karrer AG (Zürich)
  • Xiao Wei
  • Jun He Law Offices (Beijing)
  • Xu Ping
  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
  • Shuji Yanase
  • OK Corporation (Tokyo)
  • Alvin Yeo
  • WongPartnership LLP (Singapore)

Founding Directors

  • William T. Allen
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Nigel P.G. Boardman
  • Slaughter and May
  • Cai Hongbin
  • Peking University Guanghua School of Management
  • Adam O. Emmerich
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Robin Panovka
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Peter Williamson
  • Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Franny Yao
  • Ernst & Young

UK UPDATE – A New Takeover Panel Consultation

Editors’ Note: Contributed by Nigel Boardman, a partner at Slaughter and May and a founding director of XBMA.  Mr. Boardman is one of the leading M&A lawyers in the UK with broad experience in a wide range of cross-border transactions.

The Panel has today (19 September 2017) published its consultation paper PCP 2017/2 on statements of intention. The Panel has been concerned for some time that the disclosures by a bidder in relation to its intentions for the target business (required to be made in the offer document) have been bland and generic, and therefore do not really provide the target board and other stakeholders (particularly employees and pension scheme trustees) with sufficient specific information to make a meaningful assessment of the bid. This is an area of the Code that has now been consulted on a number of times, firstly following Kraft’s takeover of Cadbury, and subsequently following Pfizer’s possible bid for AstraZeneca (which did not proceed).  The consultation paper sets out certain proposals to address this issue and other related matters.

In summary, the proposals would, if implemented: 

widen the scope of “social/employment disclosures” by bidders from the current regime (impact on employees and places of business)

In particular, the Panel is requiring specific disclosures to cover:

o   the impact on the target’s R&D function

o   the “balance of skills and functions of [the target’s] employees and management”

o   location of the target’s HQ and HQ functions

The changes are presumably intended to make generic disclosures harder. Notably, the Panel has expressed the view that statements of intention should not be qualified by reference to a bidder’s “current” or “present” intentions.

require that the same “social disclosures” regarding the target business, employees and location be made at an earlier point in the offer timetable

This would be at the time of the Rule 2.7 firm offer announcement rather than just in the offer document. This front-loads the disclosures so that a bidder must disclose intentions for the target business by the time it makes the announcement of its actual offer (i.e. up to a 28 days’ acceleration of the information).

prohibit the bidder from publishing the offer document within 14 days of the Rule 2.7 announcement except with the consent of the target

The main impact of this proposal is on hostile offers since the bidder cannot launch a hostile offer and immediately publish the offer document. Currently a target has 14 days after publication of the offer document to publish its defence document. Further, in a situation where the target may need accountants and other advisers to produce profit forecasts and other reports to mount a proper defence, it was thought that the current 14 day period puts too much pressure on the target. This new requirement gives the target at least 28 days to respond to a hostile offer.

In a recommended offer, the target is normally involved in the production of the (combined) offer document and can, of course, consent to earlier publication.

impose additional requirements on the party which has made any post-offer undertakings or post-offer intention statements

This would require that party:

o   in relation to any post-offer undertakings, to publish the reports that it is currently required to submit to the Panel in relation to its compliance with those undertakings. Currently publication is only required at the Panel’s discretion. The reports must be produced and published at least on an annual basis (where the undertaking is for a period longer than a year)

o   in relation to post-offer intention statements, to confirm in writing to the Panel whether it has taken, or not taken the course of action described in the statement at the end of the 12 months following the end of the offer period (or such other period specified in the statement) and the confirmation must be published/announced via an RIS. Current practice only requires a private confirmation to be made to the Panel at the end of the period.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and have not been endorsed, confirmed, or approved by XBMA or any of the editors of XBMA Forum, nor by XBMA’s founders, members, contributors, academic partners, advisory board members, or others. No inference to the contrary should be drawn.

U.S. / U.K. UPDATE: Corporate Governance — the New Paradigm

Editor’s Note: This article was authored by Martin Lipton and Sabastian V. Niles of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

Main Article:

This week witnessed two very significant developments in the new paradigm for corporate governance, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. Both will have cross-border impact. Both have the purpose of promoting investment to achieve sustainable long-term investment and growth.

In the U.K., government proposals for corporate governance reform center on (1) better aligning executive pay with performance and with explaining, if not actually improving, worker wages by publicizing and focusing the attention of corporate directors on the ratio of average worker wages to executive compensation, and (2) improving governance by emphasizing that Section 172 of the Company Law, a constituency statute, provides that directors owe fiduciary duties not just to shareholders, but to customers, suppliers, workers and the community and economy. There is a provision for worker-board engagement by a designated independent director, a formal worker advisory council or a director from the workforce. The report directly relates improving stakeholder governance to mitigating inequality in the U.K. society.

In the U.S., Vanguard sent a letter to the boards and CEOs of all of the corporations in the Vanguard portfolios worldwide setting forth its views on governance, engagement and stewardship. It also issued its 2017 investment stewardship report. The report sets forth Vanguard’s policy for dealing with activist pressure and contains illustrations of how Vanguard dealt with several actual activist campaigns. (See our memo on the Vanguard letter.)

The U.K. government report and the Vanguard letter and report, together with the effort by the World Economic Forum to promote acceptance of The New Paradigm: A Roadmap for an Implicit Corporate Governance Partnership Between Corporations and Investors to Achieve Sustainable Long-Term Investment and Growth issued last year by its International Business Council, gives hope that they will spark additional efforts that together will alleviate the pressure, by asset managers for short-term performance and by activist hedge funds for quick gains from financial engineering, against long-term investment in R&D; capex and reinvestment in the business; building strong employee relations, employment stability and employee training; and sustainability and good corporate citizenship.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and have not been endorsed, confirmed, or approved by XBMA or any of the editors of XBMA Forum, nor by XBMA’s founders, members, contributors, academic partners, advisory board members, or others. No inference to the contrary should be drawn.

GLOBAL STATISTICAL UPDATE – XBMA Quarterly Review for Second Quarter 2017

Editors’ Note: The XBMA Review is published on a quarterly basis in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of trends and developments. In order to facilitate meaningful comparisons, the Review has utilized generally consistent metrics and sources of data since inception. We welcome feedback and suggestions for improving the XBMA Review or for interpreting the data.

Executive Summary/Highlights:

  • Global M&A volume in Q2 was ~US$823 billion, ~6% higher than Q1.
  • European M&A continued its strong trend in Q2, accounting for ~30% of deal volume, up substantially from prior years.
  • Aggregate inbound M&A volume into all BRIC countries reached nearly US$33 billion, marking the strongest Q2 in recent years, contributing to the strongest H1 in recent years, and more than doubling from H1 2016.
  • The Real Estate sector had the strongest Q2, with US$131 billion in total deal volume, posting its strongest quarter of the last four quarters, and jumping 90% relative to Q1.
  • The Industrials sector accounted for the most cross-border M&A volume in Q2, at almost US$75 billion and accounting for nearly 25% of all cross-border deal activity in Q2.

Click here to see the Review.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and have not been endorsed, confirmed, or approved by XBMA or any of the editors of XBMA Forum, nor by XBMA’s founders, members, contributors, academic partners, advisory board members, or others. No inference to the contrary should be drawn.

EUROPEAN UPDATE – Guide to Public Takeovers in Europe 2016-2017

Editors’ Note: This guide summarises the main characteristics of the French, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish and UK laws and regulations applying to public takeover offers as they stood at June 2016.

Executive Summary: The guide has been updated to reflect legal and regulatory changes made to the national takeover regimes since it was last published in April 2013. The Takeover Directive has been implemented in all of the countries which are covered. Its aim is to provide equivalent protection throughout the EU for minority shareholders of companies listed on an EU regulated stock exchange in the event of a change of control, and to provide for minimum guidelines on the conduct of takeover bids.

However, the Takeover Directive makes some of its provisions – relating to defensive measures and voting rights/restrictions – optional, which means that, even after implementation, different regimes exist in different countries.

Against this background, the intention is that this guide will not only be of practical use for users, but also that an understanding of how particular jurisdictions have changed their legal/regulatory systems and practices will be of additional help to users of this guide in understanding the ongoing implications of the Takeover Directive.

Click here to read the full report.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and have not been endorsed, confirmed, or approved by XBMA or any of the editors of XBMA Forum, nor by XBMA’s founders, members, contributors, academic partners, advisory board members, or others. No inference to the contrary should be drawn.

DUTCH UPDATE – AkzoNobel v. Elliott: landmark case on board conduct in takeover situations

Editors’ Note: Contributed by Geert Potjewijd, managing partner at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, and a member of XBMA’s Legal Roundtable, and Arne Grimme and Reinier Kleipool, partners at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek. De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek is a leading Dutch law firm with broad expertise in M&A and governance matters.

The Enterprise Chamber has ruled that a company’s response to an unsolicited takeover proposal falls within the board’s authority to determine the company’s strategy. The board does not have to consult with shareholders first, but remains accountable to shareholders for the company’s actions. The ruling sets out important viewpoints for board conduct and other aspects of corporate governance in takeover situations.

Background

Akzo Nobel N.V. recently received three unsolicited takeover proposals from PPG Industries, Inc. The AkzoNobel management and supervisory boards have unanimously rejected these proposals, in each case after an extensive and careful decision-making process. On 1 June 2017 PPG announced the withdrawal of its takeover proposal for AkzoNobel.

In response to the proposals by PPG, activist hedge fund Elliott International, L.P. demanded from AkzoNobel that it enter into discussions with PPG. After AkzoNobel rejected PPG’s third proposal, Elliott filed a petition with the Enterprise Chamber in Amsterdam requesting a corporate inquiry into AkzoNobel’s conduct and policies, and certain interim measures, including an extraordinary general meeting to vote on the dismissal of the chairman of AkzoNobel’s supervisory board.

Corporate governance in takeover situations

In its judgment of 29 May 2017, the Enterprise Chamber denied the requests by Elliott and others to order interim measures, as it did not see sufficient reason to order any such measures. The Enterprise Chamber will rule on the request for a corporate inquiry at a later date.

The ruling by the Enterprise Chamber sets out important viewpoints for corporate governance in takeover situations.

Authority and accountability of the board

  • A company’s response to an unsolicited takeover proposal falls under the authority of the management board to determine the company’s strategy, under supervision of the supervisory board.
  • Shareholders do not have to be consulted prior to the company’s response to an unsolicited takeover proposal, but the management and supervisory boards remain accountable to shareholders for the company’s actions.
  • In assessing an unsolicited takeover proposal, the board must be guided by the interests of the company and its stakeholders with a view to long term value creation. As a logical consequence, an unsolicited proposal could be reasonably rejected even against the will of (a majority of) shareholders.
  • While the Enterprise Chamber does not test the validity of the grounds for rejecting an unsolicited takeover proposal, it is important that the company show it has seriously considered the proposal by following a careful decision-making process. Relevant factors are:
    • the intensity and frequency of management and supervisory board meetings;
    • the assistance from respected external financial and legal advisers;
    • the range of topics considered when rejecting the proposal (e.g. value, timing, certainty and stakeholder considerations).

Duty to negotiate

  • There is no general obligation for a target company to enter into substantive discussions or negotiations with a bidder that has made an unsolicited takeover proposal, not even in the case of a serious bidder making a serious bid.
  • The obligation of managing and supervising directors to properly perform their duties may lead to a requirement to enter into discussions or negotiations with a bidder. Whether substantive discussions or negotiations with a bidder are required depends on the actual circumstances, which may include:
    • whether the company has decided to abandon its standalone strategy;
    • the bidder’s strategic intentions;
    • to what extent the company can assess the proposal without substantive discussions;
    • other interactions between the company and the bidder, including whether the company has given the bidder sufficient insight into the reasons for its rejection as to enable the bidder to improve on its proposal;
    • whether the company can realistically withdraw from such discussions or negotiations, especially if there are reasons to anticipate a breach of confidentiality, which could impact the company’s share price and shareholder base.

Relationship with shareholders

  • Shareholders are entitled to adequate information about the considerations underpinning those policies, not only with a view to exercising their rights as a shareholder, but also to determine their own investment policies.
  • A continued lack of confidence of a substantial number of shareholders in the company’s strategy as determined by the management and supervisory boards is harmful to the company and its stakeholders. It is in principle up to the boards of the company to consider how the company can normalise its relationship with shareholders.

With this ruling, the Enterprise Chamber confirmed that it is the exclusive authority of the boards of a Dutch company to determine the response to an unsolicited takeover proposal. The boards do not have a duty to consult with shareholders prior to responding to an unsolicited takeover proposal. In such a situation, the boards need to carefully take into account the interests of all stakeholders of the company and they remain accountable to shareholders on the position taken in response to an unsolicited takeover proposal.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and have not been endorsed, confirmed, or approved by XBMA or any of the editors of XBMA Forum, nor by XBMA’s founders, members, contributors, academic partners, advisory board members, or others. No inference to the contrary should be drawn.

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