February 16, 2010

Delaware Chancery Court’s Groundbreaking Decision: “Brokers” as Recordholders

Here is some news from John Grossbauer of Potter Anderson:

Last Tuesday, Delaware Vice Chancellor Laster delivered a potentially important opinion in Kurz v. Holbrook. In it, VC Laster finds valid consents delivered without the consenting party having obtained an omnibus proxy from DTC. The Vice Chancellor held this did not invalidate the consents, because the Cede breakdown is part of the stocklist for Section 219 purposes. In other words, brokers are now “record holders” of Delaware corporations for all purposes. This has potentially significant consequences for consent practice and compliance with notice requirements.

He also invalidates a bylaw that purported to reduce the size of the board and to call a special meeting to elect the single remaining common director, finding this would not comport with any of the valid methods for ending the term of an incumbent director. He does say that a bylaw that would reduce the size of the board at an annual meeting could effectively end the term of directors not reelected at that meeting.