Topic: Governance and directors’ liability

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Shareholder responsibility over auditor tenure

Concerns about the term or length of auditor tenure have returned to relevance following the recent fall of industry giants, providing good reason for Canadian companies to reconsider their audit and governance practices. In 2016, the European Union implemented mandatory rotations of audit firms for public companies, which was similarly considered, though rejected, in the United … Continue reading

Look to the future: a tip for analyzing corporate culture in an era of evolving shareholder activism

2018 promises to be a year in which corporate culture will likely become an even more important focal point for investors and activists. There’s no denying that social media has drastically altered the dynamic for public companies. Today, shareholders are increasingly calling upon corporations to take public stances on various social (and sometimes political) issues, … Continue reading

Canadian Securities Administrators are seeking comments on soliciting dealer arrangements

The Canadian Securities Administrators (the “CSA”) have issued CSA Staff Notice 61-303 and Request for Comment – Soliciting Dealer Arrangements (the “Notice”) on the use of soliciting dealer arrangements. “Soliciting dealer arrangements” generally refer to agreements entered into between issuers and investment dealers under which the issuer agrees to pay to the dealers a fee … Continue reading

Making change management a post-closing priority

As we have previously discussed, successfully directing the integration of two businesses following the closing of an M&A transaction is vital to realizing the value of a merger. The process by which post-closing change within a business is overseen – often referred to as “change management” – plays a key role in determining whether or … Continue reading

Shareholders’ agreements: right of first refusal versus right of first offer

It is common for shareholders of a closely held corporation to set out the rules that govern their relationship vis-à-vis one another in the form of a shareholder agreement. One key concern for shareholders when negotiating a shareholder agreement is controlling the transfer of shares to unknown or undesirable persons, while still maintaining liquidity in … Continue reading

Shareholder activism in M&A

As noted by Kingsdale Advisors in a recently published report, corporate directors and their legal advisors continue to pay insufficient attention to shareholder activism in M&A. The authors of the 2017 special report caution that not only have shareholder activists been emboldened by post-financial crisis legislative changes that afford shareholders greater say, but that these investors … Continue reading

Socially responsible investing: considerations for private companies

Certain consumers seeking out companies that have socially responsible products and services or that have a focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) is nothing new. Recently, however, evidence has emerged suggesting that investors, both retail and institutional, are increasingly taking these social factors into account when making decisions about how to allocate their … Continue reading

The InterOil decision: robust and independent fairness opinion required

A recent decision of the Yukon Court of Appeal, InterOil Corporation v Mulacek, has potentially significant consequences for corporate governance practices in the context of plans of arrangement. Fairness opinions in plans of arrangement When a corporation proposes a plan of arrangement to its shareholders, it is generally considered a best practice of corporate governance … Continue reading

Power and utilities: ongoing attraction for investors

EY’s review of Q3 2016 deal activity within the power and utilities (P&U) sector shows ongoing stability to be expected into 2017. Highlights from the quarter include ongoing premiums on prices for regulated assets, increased investment in renewables and diversification into disruptive technologies. Regulated network assets (i.e., transmission and distribution assets) are described as “safe … Continue reading

Impact of parent-subsidiary liability and policy developments on M&A in the extractive sector

Until recently, Canadian parent companies in the extractive sector could be relatively confident that any risks created by the actions of their overseas subsidiaries would be reputational in nature. Between the doctrine of separate corporate personality and the tendency of Canadian courts to be unwilling to accept jurisdiction over tort claims based overseas, Canadian parent … Continue reading

Cultural compatibility: predictor of a transaction’s potential success

We have previously reported on human capital considerations in M&A transactions; in this post we consider how corporate culture affects a deal’s possibility of success. While qualitative considerations often sit on the backburner in the lead up to a deal, compatibility of corporate cultures can be an important factor in determining whether a merger or … Continue reading

Boards with women, M&A activity and social identity theory: a call for more diversity on boards

In an earlier post we commented on the importance of improving a company’s risk profile and performance by implementing methods and practices to ensure the success of gender diversification policies. Citing an academic study on management diversity entitled “Do Women Stay Out of Trouble,” we pointed out that gender diversification has a financial benefit because, … Continue reading

The role of the strategic board in value creation

It is not in dispute that the role of the board of directors is to provide oversight of management and advise on the strategic direction of the corporation. However, the delineation of roles and responsibilities between management and directors in setting corporate strategy can often become blurred. In collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group and … Continue reading

Management diversity: do women in management lower a firm’s risk profile?

This blog post originally appeared in Norton Rose Fulbright’s Special Situations blog. In an earlier post, we commented on the formal amendments to National Instrument 58-101 – Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices and Form 58-101F1 – Corporate Governance Disclosure imposing enhanced disclosure requirements with respect to female representation on the boards and in executive officer positions of … Continue reading

Female representation on boards: how does your company stack up?

Last year, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) began an initiative to increase transparency regarding female representation on boards and in executive officer positions. This was done by way of proposing amendments to the existing National Instrument 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices (NI 58-101). In the proposal stage, these amendments faced the typical gamut of … Continue reading

Assessing corruption risks in M&A transactions

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of considering anti-corruption and bribery risks when engaging in international transactions. In connection with the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, Canada, the US and the UK, as well as an increasing number of legislatures around the world have implemented … Continue reading

The role of boards in M&A transactions

In a recent article from the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Alexandra R. Lajoux, chief knowledge officer at the National Association of Corporate Directors, discusses the role of boards of directors in M&A deals. Emphasis is made on readiness and oversight. According to Dealogic, the value of M&A activity is … Continue reading

Private equity investments and common governance rights in investee companies

Private equity investors (PEIs) are often a good source of capital for companies looking to start, maintain, or grow their operations and can also provide significant operational and transactional expertise. Like other investors, PEIs operate with a primary goal in mind; that is, to receive a favourable return on their investment. However, PEIs generally seek … Continue reading

The impact of financial reporting periods on M&A success

While the success of a merger or acquisition may be best determined over a long time horizon of several years, investors tend to have a shorter-term view of what constitutes success or failure in M&A. Corporations are held to be only as successful as their latest quarterly results and many investors base their opinions off … Continue reading

Changes of note to the Yukon Business Corporations Act

On May 1, 2015, a significant number of changes to the Yukon’s Business Corporations Act and Business Corporations Regulation were proclaimed in force. This was the culmination of an almost seven-year process undertaken to modernize the Yukon’s corporations and securities legislation. While many of these changes simply bring the Yukon’s corporations and securities legislation in … Continue reading

A guide to change-in-control arrangements

Conducting thorough due diligence with respect to a target company’s compensation plans, employment agreements, employee benefit plans and employee policies is an integral component in evaluating a potential merger or acquisition. For an acquiror, another significant piece of the overall picture with respect to compensation, however, is the impact of a merger or acquisition on … Continue reading
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