In its most recently completed session, the Delaware state legislature adopted amendments to various provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL). These amendments became effective August 1. While many of the amendments were technical in nature (e.g., amendments to the merger provisions of DGCL §§ 252, 253, 258 and 267 to consistently use the term “foreign corporation” when referring to corporations organized under the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Delaware), others are of more significance to practitioners.
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In a stark application of the adage that one should be careful what one wishes for—because one may get it—on May 30, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III of the Delaware Chancery Court issued an opinion in In re Appraisal of SWS Group, Inc. (C.A. No. 10554-VCG), a stockholder lawsuit seeking appraisal for the shares of SWS Group, Inc. (SWS), a financially struggling bank and broker-dealer firm. The appraisal claim arose out of the merger of SWS with Hilltop Holdings Inc. (Hilltop) in January 2015. The court’s decision on the fair value of the SWS shares reduced the price paid to dissenting stockholders from the merger price of $6.92 per share, payable in a mixture of cash and stock, to $6.38, payable in cash. This decision, and the resulting 7.8 percent reduction in consideration, demonstrates the risks inherent in “appraisal arbitrage.”
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