In CBS Corporation, et al. v. National Amusements, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 2018-0342-AGB, the Court of Chancery denied a motion for temporary retraining order brought by CBS Corporation (“CBS”) and five independent directors of CBS (the “Plaintiffs”) to restrain controlling shareholders, Shari Redstone, her father Sumner Redstone, National Amusements, Inc. (“NAI”), NAI Entertainment Holdings LLC, and the Sumner M. Redstone National Amusements Trust (the “Defendants”) from taking certain actions that would interfere with the governance of CBS or other proposed actions of the board of directors of CBS. The Court found that there was no precedent for the type of relief requested by Plaintiff and that no extraordinary circumstances existed to warrant the grant of such relief. Read More
By Michelle Repp and Lauren Garraux
Ruling of Chancellor Andre Bouchard suggests that partial written stockholder consents between annual meetings may be sufficient to fill board vacancies and calls into question stockholder written consents not dated by hand.
Elite Horse Investments Ltd. (“Elite”) is a stockholder of T3 Motion, Inc. (“T3”), a Delaware corporation. T3’s bylaws provide for a seven-member Board of Directors. As of December 26, 2014, T3’s board had four vacancies, with the other three directorships occupied by T3’s CEO, William Tsumpes (“Tsumpes”), and two other individuals (collectively, the “Existing Directors”). On December 26, 2014 and January 20, 2015, Elite and other stockholders of T3 delivered to T3 two written consents relating to the composition of T3’s board, as follows: (i) on December 26, 2014, Elite and seven other stockholders holding more than 65% of the outstanding shares delivered a signed stockholder written consent dated December 17, 2014 (the “First Consent”) pursuant to which they filled the four vacancies with new directors (the “New Directors”); and (iii) on January 20, 2015, Elite and six other stockholders holding no less than 58% of the outstanding shares delivered a signed stockholder written consent dated January 15, 2015 that ratified and retook the actions reflected in the First Consent and removed Tsumpes and one of the other Existing Directors from T3’s Board (the “Second Consent”) (collectively, the “Consents”).
Can an activist shareholder avoid compliance with advance notice bylaw provisions to run a dissident slate of directors at a fast-approaching annual meeting? The answer, which is discussed in our summary of AB Value Partners, often hinges on the actions of the board.
In AB Value Partners, LP v. Kreisler Manufacturing Corp., Vice Chancellor Parsons denied AB Value’s request for a temporary restraining order to enjoin enforcement of Kreisler’s advance notice bylaw provisions. AB Value, a hedge fund that owned approximately 11% of Kreisler’s shares, sought to run a competing slate of director’s at Kreisler’s annual meeting. The bylaws of Kreisler required that stockholders provide advance notice within a 60-90 day window prior to the anniversary date of the preceding annual meeting of any business that the stockholders wanted to address at Kreisler’s annual meeting. AB Value failed to propose its slate of directors within this required timeframe.