United States: Herrick's November 2015 Corporate Alert Reports on Several Significant Delaware Court Rulings, Important Cybersecurity Changes That Are Likely To Come For Financial Institutions As Well As SEC Legal Developments

The Herrick Advantage

The SEC recently approved the final crowdfunding rules, which let small businesses raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period through an Internet-based campaign. Crowdfunding issuers will be able to raise capital from individual investors, without regard to their accredited status. Crowdfunding is set to go live in January 2016, following the end of the SEC's 90-day period for public comments. In an effort to prepare you, Herrick corporate partner Patrick Sweeney and associate Marc Shepsman have created this comprehensive primer on the new regulations, which addresses topics such as volume limitations, issuer compliance matters, intermediary requirements, "bad actor" disqualifications and other notable provisions.

On December 3, 2015, Herrick will host Fantasy Sports Outlook, "Rumors, Realities and Regulation," an event that will focus on the fast-changing fantasy sports industry. A lively discussion will be moderated by Matthew Futterman, author and Wall Street Journal senior special writer for sports. Distinguished speakers Don K. Cornwell, partner, PJT Partners; Joey Levy, co-founder and CEO, Draftpot; and Herrick corporate partners Irwin A. Kishner and Daniel A. Etna will discuss recent legal and legislative scrutiny, potential regulatory scenarios and near and long-term market and investment opportunities in fantasy sports, among other topics. To inquire about this event, please email rsvp@herrick.com.


Recent Senate Bill and New York State Guidelines Show Important Cybersecurity Changes to Come for Financial Institutions 

On October 27th, the U.S. Senate passed the much anticipated Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 ("CISA") by a bipartisan vote of 74-21. Under CISA, the Department of Homeland Security will share information received from victimized private entities in real-time with the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies in order to help other companies defend against similar cyber-attacks. It is a voluntary system under which private entities and the government can share and receive threat indicators, defensive strategies, and other technical information via an automated process. CISA provides private entity participants with significant legal liability protections - which, if not provided, would deter companies from participating due to various concerns such as antitrust violations, loss of trade secrets and proprietary information, and regulatory actions. The bill caused concern in the banking industry with an eleventh-hour addition of language which could prompt new rules for financial institutions. This language, known as "Section 407," would require the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") to assess the risk level of firms, including banks, designated as critical infrastructure entities, and develop a strategy for mitigating the risk of future attacks. Proponents against Section 407 say such oversight from the DHS makes reporting cyber-attacks seem mandatory, which is not the intention of CISA.

Additionally, States have recently taken matters into their own hands in response to the onslaught of financial sector cyberattacks. For example, the New York Department of Financial Services recently released its plans for new cybersecurity rules which would require firms to hold third-party vendors, such as law firms, data processors and auditors, to strict security contracts that stipulate the encryption of sensitive data. Two-factor authentication would also become mandatory under the new rules. The proposed plan also calls for financial institutions to designate a chief information security officer to oversee and enforce cybersecurity programs. The Department of Financial Services sent the potential new regulations in a letter dated November 9, 2015 to federal and state financial regulators for their feedback, calling cybersecurity "among the most critical issues facing the financial world today."

http://www.dfs.ny.gov/about/letters/pr151109_letter_cyber_security.pdf.


SEC Proposes Amendments to Rule 147 

The SEC recently proposed amendments to modernize Rule 147 promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933. Rule 147 is a non-exclusive safe harbor pursuant to Section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act that exempts from registration "any security which is a part of an issue offered and sold only to persons resident within a single state or territory, where the issuer of such security is a person resident and doing business within [or incorporated] within such state or territory." Both Section 3(a)(11) and Rule 147 limit both offers and sales to residents of the same state in which the issuer is a resident and doing business. In order to satisfy Rule 147's issuer eligibility requirements, an issuer must, among other things: (i) derive at least 80% of its consolidated gross revenues in-state; (ii) have at least 80% of its consolidated assets in-state; (iii) intend to use and use at least 80% of the net proceeds from an offering conducted pursuant to Rule 147 in connection with the operation of an in-state business or real property; and (iv) have its principal office located in-state.

In discussing the statutory limitation that both the offer and sale take place in-state, the SEC noted that, when combined with the prescriptive threshold requirements with respect to issuers, such limitation "unduly limit[ed] the availability of the exemption for local companies that would otherwise conduct intrastate offerings." More particularly, the SEC received feedback indicating that the current regulatory scheme made it difficult for issuers wishing to avail themselves of newly-enacted state crowdfunding statutes to conduct offerings over the internet, as contemplated by crowdfunding, in compliance with federal securities laws. Accordingly, the SEC is proposing to (i) eliminate the restriction on offers, while continuing to require that issuers sell securities only to residents of the issuer's state or territory, and (ii) amend the threshold tests for an issuer to ease some of the issuer eligibility requirementsSignificantly, the proposed amendments would permit an issuer to engage in any form of general solicitation or general advertising, including the use of the internet, to offer and sell securities so long as (i) all sales occur within the same state as the issuer's principal place of business and (ii) the offering is registered in the state where all of the purchasers reside, or is conducted pursuant to an exemption from state law registration in such state that limits the amount of securities an issuer may sell pursuant to such exemption to no more than $5 million in the aggregate in a twelve-month period and imposes an investment limitation on investors.

http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/2015/33-9973.pdf.


Financial Advisor's Liability for Aiding and Abetting Directors' Breach of the Fiduciary Duty of Care

In In re Tibco Software Inc. Stockholders Litigation, a stockholder of TIBCO Software Inc. challenged the per share consideration that a private fund agreed to pay to acquire TIBCO in a merger that closed in December 2014. Among other claims, the plaintiff argued that the directors breached their fiduciary duties and that the financial advisor of the company aided and abetted such breach. The defendants moved to dismiss all claims and, last month, the Delaware Court of Chancery granted defendants' motion to dismiss all claims other than the aiding and abetting claim against the financial advisor.

The plaintiff alleged that the directors breached their fiduciary duties to TIBCO by failing to correct, or even approach the buyer in an attempt to correct, the share count error that was discovered after the merger agreement was signed, which error resulted in a $100 million reduction in the purchase price for TIBCO. While the court found that the plaintiff's allegations were sufficient to sustain a claim for a breach of the duty of care against the directors, the court ruled that the directors were exculpated from liability under TIBCO's charter. As a result, the Court dismissed the breach of fiduciary claim. However, the court found that the breach of fiduciary duty by the directors formed the predicate for an aiding and abetting claim against the financial advisor.

In re Tibco Software Inc. Stockholders Litigation, C.A. No. 10319-CB (Del. Court of Chancery, October 20, 2015).


SEC Settles Private Equity Firm Conflict of Interest Charges 

On November 3, 2015, the SEC announced a settlement of charges brought against Fenway Partners, LLC, a private equity firm, and four of its current and former executives, for violations of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 in connection with their failure to disclose multiple conflicts of interests to Partners Capital Fund III, L.P. (the "Fund"), a private equity fund advised by Fenway Partners, and the Fund's portfolio companies.

First, under Fenway Partners' management services agreement, the portfolio companies were required to pay a management fee to Fenway Partners. However, pursuant to the Fund's organizational documents, these fees were offset against  advisory fees that the Fund paid to Fenway Partners. In late 2011, Fenway Partners and the former executives caused certain portfolio companies to terminate their payment obligations under the management services agreement and enter into new consulting agreements—similar to the terminated management service agreement—with Fenway Consulting Partners, LLC, an affiliate of Fenway Partners and owned by certain former executives. The consulting fees paid to Fenway Consulting were not offset against the advisory fees, resulting in Fenway Partners collecting a higher advisory fee from the portfolio companies. Fenway Partners and the executives never informed the portfolio companies of the conflict of interest from the termination of the management services agreement and their collection of fees pursuant to the consulting agreements. 

Second, in early 2012, Fenway Partners and the executives asked the Fund to provide $4 million in connection with a potential investment, but failed to disclose that $1 million would be used to pay Fenway Consulting.Third, in mid-2012, certain of the executives, including Fenway Consulting employees who were former employees of Fenway Partners, participated in a cash incentive program of a portfolio company and received $15 million in proceeds following the Fund's sale of its interest in the portfolio company, but failed to disclose that they received the payments as compensation for services provided in large part when they were employees of Fenway Partners.

In the SEC press release, Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC Enforcement Division, noted that "Private equity advisers must be particularly vigilant about conflicts of interest and disclosure when entering into arrangements with affiliates that benefit them at the expense of their fund clients or when receiving payments from portfolio companies."

In re: Fenway Partners, LLC, et al, Release No. 4253 (November 3, 2015), available at http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/2015/ia-4253.pdf.


Delaware Chancery Court Decision Sets Limits for the Indemnification of Former Directors and Officers

The Delaware Chancery Court recently held that while former directors and officers may be entitled to indemnification and advancement of legal expenses, they may do so only in connection with actions that have a causal nexus to their former position.

In June 2014, the board of directors of American Apparel unanimously voted to suspend Dov Charney as CEO, revoke his authority to act for or on behalf of the Company, and remove him from his position as Chairman of the board. One month later, Charney entered into a standstill agreement with the Company, which provided that Charney was prohibited from taking certain actions, acting to replace directors and disparaging the Company, among others. Following an investigation, the board terminated Charney's employment with American Apparel in December 2014. American Apparel filed suit six months later, alleging Charney's violation of several specific provisions of the standstill agreement, namely that Charney discussed a takeover of the company, disparaged the company and participated in a lawsuit seeking to replace directors.

In June 2015, Charney filed the suit discussed here, asserting claims for advancement for legal expenses.   The case turned on the court's interpretation of the phrases "related to the fact," and "by reason of," within the context of Charney's actions in relation to his former position. Charney contended that the language should be construed broadly, that the court should adopt the reasoning that but for his former position, he would not have been subject to the standstill agreement, and thus the violations thereof.

The court found Charney's interpretation to lead to "absurd results to which no reasonable person would have agreed." Instead, construing "related to the fact" and "by reason of" as functional equivalents, the court looked for a causal connection between Charney's actions and his former position as a director and officer of the company. Ultimately, the court held that Charney entered into the standstill agreement in his capacity as an individual, and as such, his actions in violation of the agreement were as an individual and did not have a causal connection to his former position as a director and officer.

Charney v. American Apparel, Inc., C.A. No. 11098-CB (Del. Ch. Sept. 11, 2015).

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 Topics
 
Related Articles
 
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 (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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