Farewell to Fairness: Towards Retiring Delaware's Entire Fairness Review

65 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2019 Last revised: 17 Mar 2019

See all articles by Amir N. Licht

Amir N. Licht

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: February 8, 2019

Abstract

This Essay entertains the idea that Delaware’s corporate law is set on a trajectory that would eventually lead to reforming its doctrine of entire fairness as we now know it by retiring the doctrine’s substantive fairness review prong and insisting on fully-informed consent as the only way for validating tainted transactions. A growing array of cases, in which the centerpiece is Kahn v. M&F Worldwide Corp. (MFW), creates a legal sphere within which traditional entire fairness analysis has no application. Within this sphere, things rise or fall depending solely on the existence or absence of an uncoerced fully-informed ratification, in line with fundamental principles of fiduciary law in Delaware and in other common law jurisdictions. The critical move, which may take time to materialize, will take place when the courts deal the traditional doctrine the coup de grâce and abolish substantive fairness review entirely, if one may say so. Treating this development as highly desirable in principle, this Essay discusses practical and normative issues that call for attention in order to ensure its successful functionality, including the use of technology to ensure the integrity of informed consent through shareholder voting and the rise of institutional cross ownership, which may call for special attention in MFW-relevant settings.

Keywords: corporate governance, entire fairness, fiduciary duties

JEL Classification: K22

Suggested Citation

Licht, Amir N., Farewell to Fairness: Towards Retiring Delaware's Entire Fairness Review (February 8, 2019). European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Law Working Paper No. 439/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3331097 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3331097

Amir N. Licht (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel
972-9-952-7332 (Phone)
952-9-9513323 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium
952-9-9513323 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http:/www.ecgi.org

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