United States: The Ropes Recap: Mergers & Acquisition Law News

Guidance from Delaware Chancery Court for Notice Provisions and Survival Periods

In ENI Holdings, LLC v. KBR Group Holdings, LLC, the Delaware Court of Chancery (the "Court") provided important guidance with respect to the use of survival clauses to shorten by agreement the three-year statute of limitations for breach of contract claims, as well as procedural aspects of contractual indemnification.

In December 2010, ENI Holdings, LLC sold Roberts & Shafer Co. to KBR Group Holdings, LLC pursuant to a Stock Purchase Agreement. The seller filed suit against the buyer alleging breach of contract and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing with respect to the seller's request for a release of certain escrowed funds under the terms of the Stock Purchase Agreement. The buyer responded with counterclaims alleging fraud and breach of various representations, warranties and covenants. The seller moved to dismiss the counterclaims asserting that the buyer had not satisfied the contractual prerequisites for indemnification and that the buyer's counterclaims were time-barred.

Indemnification Procedures - Notice Deficiency and Lack of Good Faith. The Court found that absent clear contractual language to the contrary, an indemnified party's failure to provide a notice called for by the contract did not relieve the indemnifying party of any obligation except to the extent the indemnified party was prejudiced by such failure. The Court also found that the buyer satisfied the Stock Purchase Agreement's good faith negotiation requirement when it communicated with the seller prior to filing counterclaims, particularly in circumstances where the seller initially filed the complaint, thereby limiting the amount of good faith negotiation that could occur between the parties.

The Court's holding on this point emphasizes the need for contracting parties to make clear any contractual prerequisite for litigating an indemnification claim.

Survival Clause. The seller argued that the buyer's counterclaims relating to non-fundamental representations and warranties should be dismissed because the Stock Purchase Agreement's survival clause acted as a contractual statute of limitations (effectively shortening the otherwise applicable Delaware statute of limitations) and barred such counterclaims.

The survival clause stated that the representations and warranties of the seller would survive closing and "terminate on" the "Termination Date", except in the case of certain specified fundamental representations which had a different termination date (the "Survival Clause"). The buyer did not commence litigation before the Termination Date, but it argued that only notice to the seller was required. The seller asserted that failure to commence litigation before the Termination Date meant that the claims were time-barred under the Stock Purchase Agreement.

The Court found that "it is not a reasonable interpretation of the [Stock Purchase Agreement] that [the buyer] can preserve a lawsuit based on an expired representation or warranty merely by providing notice before the applicable Termination Date." Accordingly, the Court dismissed the counterclaims involving the non-fundamental reps as time-barred under the Stock Purchase Agreement's Survival Clause.

The Court's decision serves as a reminder that, absent language in the contract to the contrary, a contractual survival clause for indemnification will operate as a contractual statute of limitations under Delaware law and not merely as a "notice period."

Fraud Claims. The Court separately analyzed whether the buyer's fraud claims were subject to the Survival Clause. The Survival Clause was silent with respect to fraud claims, and other sections in the Stock Purchase Agreement (e.g., the exclusive remedy provision) specifically carved out fraud claims, resulting in what the Court determined was an ambiguous contract. As such, the Court denied the seller's motion to dismiss with respect to the fraud-based claims. However, the Court left unresolved whether fraud claims can be subject to a shortened contractual limitations period as a matter of public policy.

ENI Holdings, LLC v. KBR Group Holdings, LLC, CA 8075-VCG (Del. Ch. Nov. 27, 2013)

Privileged Pre-Merger Attorney-Client Communications Belong to Surviving Corporation

A recent decision by the Delaware Court of Chancery highlights the need to explicitly address by contract which party or parties will control attorney-client privilege with respect to pre-closing communications in the context of a sale structured as a merger where legal counsel jointly represents both the seller(s) and the target company acquired in the merger. In this case, Great Hill Equity Partners v. SIG Growth Equity Fund, a single law firm had represented both the sellers and the target company in connection with the sale of Plimus, Inc. to a buyer group led by Great Hill Equity Partners. The deal was structured as a reverse triangular merger in which the target, Plimus, was the surviving corporation. Post-closing, the buyer filed suit in Delaware alleging fraudulent inducement by the selling shareholder group. During that lawsuit, a year after the merger closed, the buyer notified the seller that the Plimus computer system (which the buyer acquired in the merger) contained files with communications between the sellers and their legal counsel regarding the transaction. The merger agreement did not exclude attorney-client communications from the assets to be acquired, nor did it specify who would control privilege with respect to such communications. When notified that the buyer had found these communications, the sellers asserted attorney-client privilege. The buyer disputed that assertion and, in the alternative, argued that the sellers had waived any privilege that might otherwise apply.

Chancellor Strine ruled in in favor of the buyer, affirming that under the Delaware merger statute (DGCL Section 259), unless otherwise agreed, the surviving corporation in a merger succeeds to all rights and privileges (including attorney-client privileges) of the constituent corporations. The Delaware Chancery Court declined to adopt the approach of an earlier New York decision involving the merger of a Delaware corporation that had relied upon policy-based considerations to distinguish attorney-client communications related to general business operations of the target (which the NY court held did pass to the surviving corporation) from communications related to the sale transaction (which the NY court held did not pass to the surviving corporation). Chancellor Strine relied on the clear language of Section 259 to hold that "all privileges" pass to the surviving corporation absent specific agreement of the parties. The decision noted that parties are free to contract around that default rule by (for example) providing for the seller to retain the attorney-client privilege with respect to pre-merger attorney-client communications relating to the transaction.

The Great Hill decision demonstrates the importance of addressing issues of attorney-client privilege, confidentiality obligations, and waiver of conflicts in connection with the sale of a company, particularly in circumstances where a law firm represents both the sellers and the company with respect to pre-closing communications relating to the deal. It also suggests that sellers may want to consider taking steps to avoid turning over privileged material to the buyer, for example by taking action to scrub sensitive attorney-client communications that relate to the sale transaction from the target company computer systems prior to closing or at least including in the agreement specific language to address the ownership of such material in situations where the parties wish to contract around default rules.

Great Hill Equity Partners IV, L.P. et al. v. SIG Growth Equity Fund I, LLLP et al., C.A. No. 7906-CS, 2013 Del. Ch. LEXIS 280 (Del. Ch. Nov. 15, 2013)

Court of Chancery Relies on Deal Price to Assess Fair Value in Appraisal Action

In a recent appraisal action arising out of Apollo Global Management LLC's 2011 acquisition of CKx, Inc., the Delaware Court of Chancery found that the $5.50/share deal price was the best measure of CKx's fair value at the time of the transaction, a departure from the typical practice of relying on DCF valuations.

After the CKx transaction closed Huff Fund Investment Partnership, a 15% stockholder of CKx, sought appraisal for its shares. Both Huff and CKx submitted expert valuations regarding the fair value of CKx shares at the time of the transaction. Huff's expert claimed that CKx's shares were worth twice the deal price ($11.02), while CKx's expert argued that they were worth only $4.41 per share. Both of the valuation experts relied upon a set of CKx five-year management projections prepared in connection with the transaction, even though there was substantial evidence that those projections were "optimistic" and not the best estimate of CKx's future performance. More specifically, the management projections included a substantial assumption about whether CKx's primary asset – the television show American Idol – would receive a $20 million increase in licensing fees from 20th Century Fox in its next broadcasting contract.

Huff's expert also prepared comparable companies and comparable transactions valuations, which were based on a variety of inapposite companies and transactions.

Following a three-day trial, Vice Chancellor Glasscock concluded that none of the expert valuations were accurate assessments of CKx's fair value. He concluded that because CKx is a holding company that includes an assortment of otherwise unrelated entertainment properties (including American Idol, as well as rights to the name and likeness of Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley), the companies and transactions identified in Huff's expert's comparables valuation were not appropriate comparables. He also found that both experts' DCF valuations were flawed because they relied on the flawed management projections. Given those findings, and the fact that CKx was sold after a "full market canvas and auction", Vice Chancellor Glasscock found that the deal price was a "reliable indicator of value" and used it to determine CKx's fair value. In so doing, Vice Chancellor Glasscock stated that in most other legal contexts market value is the best evidence of actual value, and after-the-fact valuations are merely "educated guesses as to what price could be achieved" in a sale.

Vice Chancellor Glasscock's adoption of the deal price as the appropriate measure of fair value runs contrary to the Court's traditional emphasis on DCF valuations and recent opinions from the Delaware Supreme Court and the Court in Golden Telecom and Merion Capital that have expressly declined to adopt deal price as an appropriate measure of fair value. However, unless there are additional cases in Delaware that follow CKx, the unique assets at issue may limit the influence of the case.

Huff Fund Inv. P'Ship v. CKx, Inc., C.A. No. 6844-VCG (Del. Ch. Nov. 1, 2013)

Delaware Court Declines to Issue Anti-Suit Injunction Despite Forum Selection Clause in Certificate of Incorporation

In a transcript ruling, Vice Chancellor Laster of the Delaware Court of Chancery refused to issue an anti-suit injunction barring a Louisiana state stockholder litigation challenging Sumitomo Corporation of America's acquisition of Edgen Group, Inc., despite the fact that Edgen has a Delaware forum selection clause in its certificate of incorporation. On October 16, 2013, Edgen announced that it would be sold to Sumitomo for $12 per share, which was a 55% premium over its undisturbed market price.

Stockholder plaintiffs ignored Edgen's forum selection clause and filed suit in Louisiana, where Edgen is headquartered, to enjoin the transaction. Another plaintiff filed a parallel Delaware action, but voluntarily dismissed it shortly thereafter. Edgen moved to dismiss the Louisiana action based on the forum selection clause, but the Louisiana Court set the hearing date for this motion shortly before the transaction was scheduled to close. Edgen responded by suing the lead plaintiff in Delaware, seeking to prevent further pursuit of the Louisiana case (i.e., an anti-suit injunction). Vice Chancellor Laster denied this motion, even though he found that Edgen had shown a probability of success on the merits and irreparable harm. In so doing, Vice Chancellor Laster disparaged the strength of the stockholder plaintiff's claims, stating that they "would likely not survive a motion to dismiss", and decried the existence of multi-forum M&A cases, stating that "[t]his case really exemplifies the inter-forum dynamics that have allowed plaintiffs' counsel to extract settlements in M&A litigation and that have generated truly absurdly high rates of litigation challenging transactions."

However, Vice Chancellor Laster refused to issue the anti-suit injunction, stating that it was "preferable" for the Edgen defendants to first seek dismissal of the Louisiana action based on the forum selection clause, as that approach would maximize judicial comity. Vice Chancellor Laster noted his reluctance to issue an anti-suit injunction based on a corporate governance document (as opposed to a bilateral contract), stating that "it's not at all clear to me that forum selection provisions are as yet sufficiently understood and accepted such that the Delaware Supreme Court would want the same approach taken for a forum selection clause that appears in the charter and bylaws."

Edgen Group, Inc. v. Genoud, C.A. No. 9055-VCL (Del. Ch. Nov. 5, 2013)

Weak Fairness Opinion not an Independent Violation of Revlon Duties

The Delaware Court of Chancery's recent decision in In Re Bioclinica made clear that a target board's reliance on a "weak" fairness opinion is not an independent violation of a board's Revlon duties and will not be evaluated by the Delaware courts in isolation from the sale process generally. In his ruling earlier this year in Koehler v. NetSpend, in the context of a single-bidder sale process, Vice Chancellor Glasscock found that the NetSpend board's reliance on a "weak" fairness opinion was insufficient to show that the NetSpend board fulfilled its fiduciary duties to be knowledgeable about NetSpend's value. Citing NetSpend, the plaintiffs in Bioclinica alleged that the Bioclinica board violated its fiduciary duties in the Bioclinica sale by relying on a fairness opinion alleged to be weak because it was based on allegedly inflated capital expenditure estimates. Vice Chancellor Glasscock granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that the Bioclinica sale process, taken as a whole, was entirely reasonable because of the following:

  • the bankers conducted a thorough market check;
  • the sale process was administered by an independent committee and was backed up by a fairness opinion;
  • the directors were informed of their fiduciary duties;
  • the sale process resulted in a 25% premium over the stock price;
  • 88% of stockholders tendered their shares to the winning bidder;
  • there was no evidence that the board had left itself in the dark about potential bidders by unnecessarily failing to waive "don't ask don't waive" standstills;
  • there were no well-pled facts indicating that management controlled the board;
  • there were no well-pled facts indicating that the board favored the winning bidder; and
  • the deal-protection devices put in place (for example, a poison pill) are ones that the Court has regularly upheld.

In distinguishing NetSpend, Vice Chancellor Glasscock noted that the NetSpend defendant directors were found to have conducted an insufficient single-bidder process while relying on a fairness opinion analysis in which the DCF analysis implied values much higher than the sales price. Vice Chancellor Glasscock clarified in Bioclinica that a board's reliance on a "weak" fairness opinion is relevant where the fairness opinion provides the only equivalent of a market check, as was the case in NetSpend, but not in Bioclinica.

In re Bioclinica, Inc. S'holders Litig., C.A. No. 8272-VCG (Del. Ch. Oct. 16, 2013)

Delaware's Closed-Door Arbitration Program Enjoined

The Third Circuit has upheld a federal district court ruling enjoining Delaware's closed-door arbitration program on the grounds that the program was inconsistent with the First Amendment right of public access to judicial proceedings. Delaware's program allowed litigants to elect to proceed in a binding arbitration closed to the public, with a Delaware judge acting as arbitrator. The program was only available if the amount in controversy was one million dollars or more and if one of the parties was a Delaware business entity. The cost of the proceedings to the parties was six thousand dollars per day. Proponents of the program highlighted several advantages that the program would have offered commercial litigants, including expert adjudication by a Delaware judge well-versed in business law acting as the arbitrator, swift and efficient case management, and secrecy. The Third Circuit found that proceedings that, like the Delaware arbitrations, have much in common with civil trials have been traditionally conducted in an open forum, and that the benefits to shareholders and the public of allowing access to such proceedings outweigh the disadvantages to the litigants. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the case or the Third Circuit grants an en banc rehearing, this decision will end Delaware's private arbitration proceedings.

Delaware Coalition for Open Government, Inc. v. Strine et al., No. 12-3859 (3rd Cir. Oct. 23, 2013)

Board's Duties to an Individual Shareholder

In a recent case involving a proxy fight between a dissident hedge fund shareholder and management, the Delaware Court of Chancery clarified that boards owe a duty of disclosure to the corporation's shareholders in general but not to any individual shareholder. Red Oak Fund, a hedge fund with a six percent stake in Digirad Corporation, decided to run its own slate of director candidates against Digirad's slate. During the proxy fight, a Digirad employee accidentally voted some of Digirad's treasury stock in favor of management's slate of directors. The treasury stock votes were eventually caught and not counted in the final election results, but were reflected in preliminary proxy reports that went to both Red Oak and management, making it appear to both sides that management would win the vote comfortably. When management learned that the treasury stock had been voted, it did not disclose this to Red Oak. Ruling on Red Oak's suit to invalidate the election, Vice Chancellor Noble found that Digirad had no duty to disclose the voting of the treasury stock to Red Oak because the contents of the preliminary proxy reports would not be material to shareholders in general. The Court explained that the duty to disclose material information relating to contested elections is owed to the shareholders as a group, where materiality is assessed according to what a reasonable shareholder would want to know to inform its vote. The Court's decision illustrates that, absent bad faith, there is no general duty of disclosure to a dissident shareholder, even if the information would be material to that shareholder.

Red Oak Fund, L.P. v. Digirad Corp. et al., C.A. No. 8559-VCN (Del. Ch. Oct. 23, 2013)

Earn-Out Obligations and Defense Costs

In upholding a decision by the Delaware Court of Chancery, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that, without provisions in an agreement specifying the actions that a buyer must take to maximize earn-out payments, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing does not require a buyer to run their business, in this case to renegotiate a distribution agreement with a third party, in order to maximize earn-out payments to the sellers. The Supreme Court also rejected an argument that the sellers were required to pay the legal defense costs of the buyer for certain third-party lawsuits independently of any obligation by the sellers to indemnify the buyer for the underlying claims. The Supreme Court reiterated that an obligation to advance defense costs is distinct from an obligation to indemnify, and if the parties intended for the sellers to undertake both obligations, it should have been explicitly stated in the agreement.

Winshall v. Viacom Int'l, Inc., No. 39, 2013 (Del. Oct. 8, 2013)

Delaware Supreme Court Unanimously Reverses Chancery Court Decision, Allowing Vivendi-Activision Repurchase to Proceed

The Delaware Supreme Court unanimously reversed Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster's decision to halt Activision Blizzard, Inc's plan to buy back its own shares from majority owner Vivendi. The Court's decision centered around whether the proposed repurchase constituted a "merger, business combination, or similar transaction" under Activision's Certificate of Incorporation, which provided that any transaction rising to the level of a "business combination" would require a majority vote of its minority shareholders. The Chancery Court had issued an injunction against the proposed repurchase, as it was a "business combination" and such a vote had not taken place. The Delaware Supreme Court reversed the Chancery Court's decision, allowing the repurchase to proceed.

The Delaware Supreme Court held that although the proposed repurchase reduced Vivendi's stake from 61% to 12%, and involved Activision agreeing to pay Vivendi $5.83 billion, this was insufficient to elevate it to the level of a "business combination." According to the Court, the proposed repurchase did not "involve any combination or intermingling" of Vivendi's and Activision's businesses, and instead involved the two companies "separating their business connection, leaving Vivendi as a minority stockholder without voting or board control over Activision."

Going forward, the Court suggests that the plain language of "business combination or similar transaction" does not necessarily include transactions that involve "a large transfer of funds or other assets," but rather should encompass situations where a company ends up "having a greater connection with and/or control" over another's business.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. v. Hayes, No. 497, 2013 (Del. Nov. 15, 2013)

Allstream Acquisition Rejected by Canadian Minister of Industry for National Security Reasons

On October 7, 2013, the Canadian Minister of Industry rejected, due to unspecified national security concerns, the acquisition of Allstream, which operates a fiber optic network throughout Canada, by Accelero Capital Holdings, which is owned primarily by Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian telecom magnate. This was the first known rejection of a transaction under the Investment Canada Act's national security review regime, which was introduced in 2009. The Investment Canada Act requires the Minister to approve the acquisition of Canadian businesses by non-Canadians after reviewing such transactions under the national security provisions of the Act. The scope of the national security review is quite broad and can apply to any transaction in which the buyer is controlled outside of Canada. Additionally the criteria for evaluating a particular transaction are ambiguous, since the government can block a pending transaction if it has "reasonable grounds to believe that an investment by a non-Canadian could be injurious to national security." In rejecting the acquisition by Accelero, the Minister stated only that Allstream's fiber optic network "provided critical telecommunications services to business and governments, including the Government of Canada," leaving both the parties to the transaction and observers to speculate about the Minister's rationale for rejecting the deal. This event highlights the need for non-Canadian companies to carefully evaluate the potential national security aspects of a transaction involving the acquisition of a business with significant assets or operations in Canada in the course of diligence.

Rival Clothing Retailers Jos A. Bank and Men's Wearhouse Launch Competing Merger Proposals and Defensive Maneuvers

In October 2013, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. made an unsolicited $2.3 billion offer to acquire The Men's Wearhouse, Inc. which precipitated a flurry of competing acquisition offers and takeover defenses by the competing clothing retailers. Men's Wearhouse ultimately rejected Jos. A. Bank's offer as undervaluing Men's Wearhouse, and instituted a shareholder rights plan with a 10% trigger. On November 15, 2013, Jos. A. Bank formally withdrew its offer to acquire Men's Wearhouse. After Jos. A. Bank withdrew its offer, Men's Wearhouse's largest stockholder, Eminence Capital, stated publicly that it was in favor of a transaction between the two companies, and that it would seek to vote out certain incumbent Men's Wearhouse directors if no deal occurred. Shortly after Jos. A. Bank withdrew its offer, Men's Wearhouse dusted off the so-called Pac-Man defense, which was a popular takeover defense tactic in the 1980s that had fallen into disuse, and offered to acquire Jos. A. Bank for $1.5 billion, or $55 per share. Mirroring Men's Wearhouse's prior response, Jos. A. Bank rejected that offer as insufficient and lowered the trigger on its shareholder rights plan from 20% to 10%. Men's Wearhouse subsequently raised its unsolicited offer to $57.50, and commenced a hostile tender offer for Jos.

A. Bank shares at that price, with the tender offer set to expire on March 28, 2014. Eminence Capital has publicly supported Men's Wearhouse's renewed offer, and has stated its intention to nominate two directors to the Jos. A. Bank's board. As of this writing, Jos. A. Bank's board is considering this new proposal and has requested that its stockholders not participate in the hostile offer until the board determines how to proceed.

Cooper Terminates Apollo Deal

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company terminated its merger agreement with affiliates of Apollo Tyres Ltd. on December 30, 2013, one day prior to the agreement's "drop dead" date, after it became clear that Apollo's financing sources would not renew their commitments past December 31st. The merger agreement, signed June 12, 2013, provided that Apollo, an India-based tire manufacturer, would acquire Cooper for $35 per share in cash. The announcement of the deal met with negative market reactions, as well as, serious labor disputes. In September, an arbitrator ruled that the merger could not close unless Apollo reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the United Steelworkers ("USW"). When Apollo did not reach an agreement with USW in the several weeks following the arbitrator's decision, Cooper sued in the Delaware Court of Chancery, arguing that, based on the terms of the merger agreement, the Court should order Apollo to make an agreement with USW "in the most expeditious manner possible." Vice Chancellor Glasscock disagreed, ruling that Apollo's obligation to negotiate with USW was governed by a "reasonable best efforts" standard, and that Apollo had met this standard.

Following the termination, the parties are expected to continue litigating the issue of damages, in addition to whether the circumstances of the termination entitle one party to receive a termination or reverse termination fee.

A New Wave of Shareholder Activism

There has been a significant uptick in shareholder activism in 2013. While once thought of as solely for brave-hearted activist hedge funds, the activist shareholder space experienced a wide variety of developments this past year. The types of actors are becoming more diverse and the means of shareholder engagement range from more frequent letters from key shareholders, to campaigns to derail transactions or threaten wide-scale appraisal, to full-on proxy battles and hostile takeovers.

Wider Range of Actors

One of the biggest trends in shareholder activism is the greater variety of players. Rather than being limited to a few well-known activists, more institutional investors are joining the fray – particularly pension funds, mutual funds, sovereign wealth funds and others. In addition to increasing investments in hedge funds known for activism, many institutional investors have also increased support for activist campaigns. Even corporations themselves have started making waves, such as when Jos. A. Bank offered to purchase Men's Wearhouse earlier this year, which was subsequently rejected by Men's Wearhouse. Men's Wearhouse then responded with a Pac-Man defense (as described in more detail above) of going after Jos. A. Bank with a hostile bid which, as of the date of this publication, is currently still in play.

Various Means of Engagement

While the term "shareholder activism" is often associated with heated proxy wars, there are many other ways that shareholders can effectively communicate concerns and suggestions to a company's management team. A common approach is sending a letter, which for significant investors, if filed pursuant to the securities rules, becomes publicly available to all shareholders and the market at large. For example, Engaged Capital LLC, led by Glenn Welling, opted for this approach in a nine-page letter sent to Abercrombie & Fitch Co. calling for a change in leadership and a sale to private equity investors. Since 2010, publicly filed letters to management from activist shareholders have increased by almost 18%.

To read the full text of this article please click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

    Disclaimer

    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

    Registration

    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

    Cookies

    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

    Links

    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

    Mail-A-Friend

    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

    Emails

    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

    Security

    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions