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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

“Cooked Dividends” Leads to Bloody Massacre

Cooking dividends is the practice of declaring a false or “cooked” dividend for the purpose of raising the value of a company’s shares.   Apparently, this was a serious problem in the early days of both California and Nevada.  The practice is still illegal under the California General Corporation Law.  Section 2254, among other things, makes…

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“Extracts from the SEC’s Proxy Access Amendments, With Some Remarks Upon Them”

James McRitchie at Corpgov.net recently made reference to a forthcoming law review article by J.W. Verret at George Mason University School of Law.  Professor Verret posits in various strategems for discouraging shareholder nominations.  He writes from a Delaware perspective (he was a law clerk to Vice Chancellor John W. Noble) and as someone who has worked under the…

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Proxy Access and Director Qualification Requirements

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted its final changes to the federal proxy rules.  These new rules will require public companies, under specified circumstances, to include in their proxy materials information about, and the ability to vote for, a shareholder’s (or shareholder group’s) nominee(s) for director.  In adopting these rule changes, the SEC expressly…

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State Shareholder Nomination Rights

The nice thing about being a corporate and securities lawyer is that I’m never at a loss for new reading material.  Just as I was beginning to despair about what to read after the Dodd-Frank Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued its adopting release on facilitating shareholder director nominations.  While no A La Recherche…

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CalPERS’ Focus List – Results and Prospects

The CalPERS Focus List has been around for almost a quarter century.  Each spring, CalPERS “names names” by listing from 4 to 11 companies that it believes have records of poor economic and corporate governance performance.  Here is a flow-chart of the current Focus List process. Interestingly, CalPERS did not issue a Focus List this year. …

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Compensation Committees – Whom Do You Represent?

Amongst the many, many, changes wrought by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act, is this requirement in Section 952(d)(1):   “The compensation committee of an issuer, in its capacity as a committee of the board of directors, may, in its sole discretion, retain and obtain the advice of independent legal counsel and other advisers”. …

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More on CalPERS’ Director Database Proposal

On Bastille Day, I posted this item about Gina Chon’s article in The Wall Street Journal about the plans of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (aka CalPERS) to create a director database.   Today, Broc Romanek has posted an excerpt of an interview on this topic with Anne Sheehan, Director of Corporate Governance at the…

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Section 2115: Beware of Double Counting

Many practitioners both in and outside of California struggle with Section 2115 of the California Corporations Code.  That statute purports to apply a laundry list of California statutes to out-of-state corporations to the exclusion of the law of their state of incorporation.  An out-of-state corporation is subject to Section 2115 if: (i) more than 1/2 of its outstanding voting…

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The Alter Ego Doctrine Yields Conflict of Interest

American journalist Ambrose Bierce defined a corporation in his The Devil’s Dictionary as “an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility”.  The alter ego doctrine is one tool that the courts use to address a perceived want of individual responsibility on the part of a corporate owner. In most cases, creditors try to use…

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Shareholder Approval of Political Contributions – Coming Soon?

On June 22, 2010, I posted an item concerning AB 919 (Nava), a California bill that would require corporations to report political contributions to shareholders and make refunds to those shareholders who don’t agree.  In today’s Proxy Season Blog, Therese Doucet writes about similar legislative efforts in New York, Massachusetts and even in Congress.  Broc…

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