Insights & News

Proposed Amendments to the Delaware General Corporation Law:
A Response to Moelis and Activision

May 08, 2024
Client Alert

A series of recent decisions from the Delaware Court of Chancery has muddied the waters for dealmakers and lawyers, raising questions about the legality of certain longstanding market practices relating to stockholders’ agreements and the approval process for mergers. In deciding these recent cases, the court made clear that in construing the language of the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL), the court will apply a strict reading of the express language of the statute.

In response to the uncertainties caused by the court’s recent decisions in Moelis and Activision, on March 28, the Council of the Corporation Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association proposed certain amendments to the DGCL. These proposals are intended to conform the statute with customary market practice.

Implications to Stockholder Agreements

In West Palm Beach Firefighters’ Pension Fund v. Moelis & Co.,1 the court cast a shadow over the enforceability of provisions in agreements between a corporation and its stockholders that provide such stockholders with veto powers or protective voting rights that could be viewed as impinging on the authority and discretion of the board to manage the corporation. These types of agreements are widely used, especially in private equity and venture capital deal structures. At issue in Moelis were certain “Pre-Approval Requirements” in the stockholders’ agreement requiring the board to obtain the prior written consent of a founder stockholder (the founder) prior to taking virtually any meaningful corporate action, including, among others: (1) the issuance of common and preferred stock; (2) the appointment or removal of certain officers, such as the CEO, which was an office held by the founder; (3) entering into or amending any material contract; (4) adoption of a stockholder rights plan; and (5) any equity or debt commitment in an amount greater than $20 million.

Read the full article here.

1 West Palm Beach Firefighters’ Pension Fund v. Moelis & Co., No. 2023-0309-JTL (Del. Ch. February 23, 2024).


Information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice or opinion or as a substitute for the advice of counsel. The articles by these authors may have first appeared in other publications. The content provided is for educational and informational purposes for the use of clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter. We recommend that readers seek specific advice from counsel about particular matters of interest.

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