Theory and Practice in Takeover Law - Further Reflections on Pinnacle No. 8

Company and Securities Law Journal, Vol. 19, pp. 391-396, 2001

13 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2006  

Jennifer G. Hill

The University of Sydney Law School ; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Jeremy Kriewaldt

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

One of the perennial questions in corporate law is how much deference should be given to directors' judgments. The introduction of a statutory business judgment rule in Australia in 2000 was designed to bolster the autonomy and discretion of the board. At the same time, however, an intriguing departure from this policy position emerged in the context of takeovers.

The courts traditionally acted as umpire in determining whether directors had breached their duty to act for proper purposes in the face of a hostile takeover. The problem of how much deference to accord to directors' judgments has always been particularly acute in the takeover arena, where the "omnipresent specter" of self-interest is present. The traditional mode of regulation in this area, therefore, used judicial monitoring to ensure compliance by directors with duty-based rules.

This basic regulatory picture was, however, radically altered by the Corporate Law Economic Reform Program (CLERP) Act 2000, which moved the role of umpire from the court to a specialist commercial body, the Takeovers Panel. This paper discusses the implications of that change, and an interesting paradigm shift emerging in the Panel's decisions. Under this shift, the board's former autonomy and discretion is constrained through use of shareholder consent as a regulatory mechanism for defensive tactics. This constitutes a significant alteration to the balance of power between the board of directors and shareholders under Australian takeover law.

Keywords: Takeovers, Australia, Takeovers Panel, directors' duties, shareholders, bid conditions, unacceptable circumstances

JEL Classification: G30, G32, G34, G 38, K22, K33

Suggested Citation

Hill, Jennifer G. and Kriewaldt, Jeremy, Theory and Practice in Takeover Law - Further Reflections on Pinnacle No. 8. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=942896

Jennifer G. Hill (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
+61 2 9351 0280 (Phone)
+61 2 9351 0200 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Jeremy Kriewaldt

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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