Topic: Litigation

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Alberta Securities Commission declines to exercise public interest jurisdiction to terminate soliciting dealer arrangement in proxy fight

In its recent PointNorth Capital Inc. decision, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) was called upon to consider the appropriateness of a soliciting dealer arrangement that had been entered into by the issuer, Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd., in the context of a proxy fight. The arrangement was intended to address management’s constrained ability to solicit proxies … Continue reading

Litigation Flashpoints

Proxy contests spill over into court for many reasons, but there are certain flashpoints of which both activists and issuers should be mindful.  For activists, these are pitfalls to avoid, while for issuers they may represent opportunities to push back on sharp tactics and maintain a level playing field in the struggle for shareholders’ votes. … Continue reading

Demonstrated impropriety, not mere speculation, required to warrant appointment of independent chair: Ontario court

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) recently confirmed that “demonstrated impropriety” is required to warrant court intervention in the appointment of an independent chair of a shareholders’ meeting in a proxy contest. In Meson Capital Partners, LLC v Aberdeen International Inc. (Aberdeen),[1] Norton Rose Fulbright Canada’s Special Situations Team successfully represented the Special … Continue reading

Decision-making and Institutional Investors: Prevalent Factors and Key Market Distinctions

According to the recently published Global Institutional Investors Insight survey, shareholder activism is on the rise. The survey, which canvassed over 500 institutional investor and sell-side research analysts from across North American, European and Asian markets, reports that more than three quarters (77%) of those surveyed believe that activism levels will increase in the coming … Continue reading

Corporate Governance 2014: Corporate Governance in Special Situations

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and Lexpert will again be co-hosting two full-day seminar sessions entitled “Corporate Governance 2014: Corporate Governance in Special Situations” on December 4th (Toronto) and December 8th  (Calgary). These seminars will include discussions on corporate governance developments in special situations, with specific focus on the trends, tools and defences used during … Continue reading

2014 Q3 Proxy Update

The 2015 proxy season is fast approaching, PwC and Broadridge released a quarterly research report  which reviews proxy related data from 4,113 shareholder meetings held between January 1 and June 30, 2014 and  highlights several themes and trends that may inform how shareholders and companies will interact on four key issues: Director Elections: Director elections continue to attract widespread … Continue reading

Affirming Your Poison Pill To Keep It Alive

On May 2, 2014, the British Columbia Securities Commission (the Commission) extended the life of the shareholder rights plan of Augusta Resource Corporation (Augusta) until July 15, 2014, provided that Hudbay Minerals Inc. (Hudbay) held its bid for Augusta shares open until July 16, 2014 and agreed to a ten-day extension in the event any … Continue reading

Ontario Court Sheds New Light on Advance Notice Bylaws

In its recent decision in Orange Capital, LLC v Partners Real Estate Investment Trust, 2014 ONSC 3793, the Ontario Superior Court has offered new guidance on the interpretation of advance notice provisions used in the context of a proxy contest.  The decision is another victory for Norton Rose Fulbright’s Special Situations team, which represented Orange … Continue reading

Battles for Control of a Company: Practical Lessons from Wells v. Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.

In Wells v. Bioniche Life Sciences Inc., a group of dissident shareholders attempted to gain control of Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (the “Company”) by requisitioning a shareholders’ meeting to replace the Company’s management. Bioniche’s Board of Directors resisted the Dissidents, and the parties eventually came before Justice D. M. Brown of the Ontario Superior Court … Continue reading

Proactive Business Judgment in Proxy Contests

In a contest for shareholder support, control of the narrative is crucial, and the difference in perception between a board acting decisively to protect shareholders’ investments, and a board willing to do or say anything to hold onto control, can be one of timing.  A board that acts proactively, supported by expert advice and a … Continue reading

Exercising Appraisal Rights – An Effective Tool for Canadian Activists?

In the wake of Dole Food Co.’s $2.4 billion management buyout, the question of whether the exercise of shareholder appraisal rights is an effective tool in the Canadian shareholder activism scene emerges. In late 2013, management of Dole Foods offered to purchase the remaining 60% of shares not already owned by CEO and founder, David … Continue reading

Strategies for protecting companies in proxy contests

A recent trio of hotly contested proxy fights involving Norton Rose Fulbright’s Special Situations Team helped further clarify and define the rights of a board of directors to determine the timing of a shareholders’ meeting. Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. With the July 18, 2013, decision of Justice Brown of the Ontario Superior Court in Wells v … Continue reading
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