M&A Policy To Watch In 2016

December 24, 2015

According to Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP partner Greg Markel, the number of cases that end in disclosure-only settlements has already begun to dip, despite a lack of looming legislative action, because of a few recent decisions in the Delaware Chancery Court.

Markel said that he believes 2016 will see a “significant drop” in the number of lawsuits filed relating to public mergers, and that he thinks “it’s fair to say that there’s already some indication that filings are down.”  Gillian G. Burns, special counsel in Cadwalader’s litigation group, said the fact that Delaware has already begun to clamp down on disclosure-only settlements means that weaker lawsuits will likely dwindle even without legislative action.

“We expect that the decline will be steepest for the weaker lawsuits that previously may have been filed with the hope on the part of plaintiffs counsel that they could extract a quick settlement and attorneys’ fees,” Burns said.

Markel said that while he’s “less optimistic” there will be legislative action on the issue anytime soon, “it would be desirable to have a well-tailored statutory provision designed to set a higher bar for getting past the motion to dismiss, as was done with the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.”

— Greg Markel and Gillian Burns comment in Law360 on the changing outlook for M&A cases in Delaware