Helping Clients Access the Capital Markets and Stay Apprised of Regulatory Developments

SEC Proposes Climate-Related Disclosure Requirements

Earlier this week, the SEC announced proposed rules (Release No. 33-11042) for new, climate-related disclosures. The proposals dramatically expand the requirements of the SEC’s 2010 guidance on climate-related disclosures.  While most large companies have been providing some climate-related information as part of ESG reporting in CSR or Sustainability Reports outside of their SEC filings, these rules, if adopted, will necessitate a significant overhaul of companies’ climate-related analysis, procedures, and reporting and will subject any climate-related disclosure to stricter securities law liability standards.

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Delaware Court Addresses De-SPAC Merger Claims

In an important decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery, in In re Multiplan Corp. Stockholders Litigation, 2022 WL 24060 (Del. Ch. Jan. 3, 2022), in denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss, addressed claims against the sponsor and other insiders of a special purpose acquisition company or “SPAC” for breach of fiduciary duties in connection with a de-SPAC merger. As we mentioned in our QuickStudy, “SPACs and the Implications for D&O Insurance, the Multiplan decision was highly anticipated and is significant because it was the first time the Delaware courts had to grapple with the unique structure of SPACs and determine how to apply fundamental principles of Delaware fiduciary duty law to them.

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Delaware Clarifies That Statutory Appraisal Rights Can Be Waived

Controlling stockholders sometimes seek to limit the ability of new investors in their company to ‎interfere with future exit transactions. They may do this by requiring the new investors to agree ‎to vote in favor of a transaction proposed by the controlling stockholder (a “drag-along ‎agreement”) or to expressly waive any appraisal rights because those rights can create uncertainty ‎for an exit transaction.

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Delaware Clarifies Its Rules Governing Stockholder Derivative Actions

Derivative actions play an important role in policing corporate insider conduct and compliance by directors and controlling stockholders with their fiduciary duties. A derivative action enables a stockholder, upon satisfaction of applicable requirements, to bring litigation on behalf of the corporation challenging, for example, conflict of interest transactions, the adequacy of consideration in a merger or the board’s attention to the corporation’s legal compliance.

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Locke Lord QuickStudy: SEC Signals Heightened ESG Focus

On September 22, 2021, the SEC released its Sample Letter to Companies Regarding Climate Change Disclosure (“Letter”). The Letter is not only important for what it will seek, but for what it portends. The Letter invokes the 2010 Climate Change Guidance[1] (“Guidance”) which provided an overview of potential disclosure obligations related to climate change, including the impact of climate change legislation and rulemaking, business trends, and physical impacts.

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Nasdaq Introduces Board Diversity Requirements

On August 6, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved Nasdaq’s proposed rule regarding diversity of boards of directors.[1] The approved rule requires that most companies listed on Nasdaq (i) “[p]ublicly disclose board-level diversity statistics using a standardized template,” and (ii) “[h]ave or explain why they do not have at least two diverse directors.”[2]

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