Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Cohen’

Giving Good Guidance: What Every Public Company Should Know

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday November 8, 2012 at 10:04 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Alexander F. Cohen, partner and co-chair of the national office of Latham & Watkins LLP. This post is based on a Latham & Watkins client alert by Mr. Cohen, Nathan AjiashviliJeff G. HammelSteven B. StokdykKirk A. Davenport II, and Joel H. Trotter; the full publication, including footnotes and annex, is available here.

Every public company must decide whether and to what extent to give the market guidance about future operating results. Questions from the buy side will begin at the IPO road show and will likely continue on every quarterly earnings call and at investor meetings and conferences between earnings calls. The decision whether to give guidance and how much guidance to give is an intensely individual one. There is no one-size-fits-all approach in this area. The only universal truths are (1) a public company should have a policy on guidance and (2) the policy should be the subject of careful thought.

The purpose of this post is to provide an updated discussion of the issues that CEOs, CFOs and audit committee members should consider before formulating a guidance policy.

…continue reading: Giving Good Guidance: What Every Public Company Should Know

Upsizing and Downsizing Your IPO

Editor’s Note: Charles Nathan is Of Counsel at Latham & Watkins LLP and is co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Governance Task Force. This post is based on a Latham & Watkins Client Alert by Brian G. Cartwright, Alexander F. Cohen, Kirk A. Davenport and Joel H. Trotter.

The reds have been printed; the deal is on the road; and the champagne is on ice. Now, all that is left is for the IPO investors to step up and buy the stock. It’s a tempting moment to relax — but an experienced deal lawyer knows better. This is the time to start preparing for the possibility that the deal will be wildly oversubscribed or will struggle mightily. In either case, the question that will shortly come your way is “How much can the deal be upsized or downsized at pricing?”

…continue reading: Upsizing and Downsizing Your IPO

The Battle for Shareholder Access: The Current State of Play

Posted by Charles M. Nathan, Latham & Watkins LLP, on Saturday May 30, 2009 at 7:09 am
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Editor’s Note: This post is based on a client memorandum by Charles Nathan, Alexander Cohen, Constantine Skarvelis and Raluca Papadima of Latham & Watkins LLP.

Highlights

• Shareholder proxy access is coming, and it will be the hottest issue of the 2010 proxy season. Public companies should expect, and be prepared for, the strong likelihood of shareholder proxy access in the 2010 proxy season.

• The SEC is scheduled to vote on a proposed shareholder proxy access rule tomorrow, May 20, 2009. We assume that Chairman Schapiro intends the rule to become final around the end of October—that is, in time for the 2010 proxy season.

• Senator Charles Schumer of New York has introduced a bill that, among other things, would confirm the SEC’s authority to adopt a proxy access rule and that would require the SEC to adopt rules directly regulating proxy access, rather than deferring to state law.

• The Delaware General Corporation Law has been amended to authorize companies expressly to adopt bylaws providing for shareholders access to the company’s proxy statement for director nominations.

• Most observers now believe the question is not whether there will be shareholder proxy access for 2010, but rather what it will look like. The shape of proxy access depends principally on whether the final version of the SEC rule:

• merely empowers shareholders to submit access proposals under Rule 14a-8;

• provides minimum standards for proxy access, leaving many of the details of implementation to state law and “private ordering;” or

• entirely pre-empts state law by creating a full-fledged and exclusive federal regime for proxy access.

• For those who accept that shareholder proxy access is a foregone conclusion, the key is the details of how shareholder access will be implemented—the so-called “workability” issues. Workability in the context of proxy access is far more complicated than it may first appear. However, it will be the key to whether proxy access becomes, as many of its supporters assert, a sparingly used device that has the effect of instilling greater accountability of directors or, as many of its opponents fear, the progenitor of countless election contests and divided and dysfunctional boards.

Background

What is Proxy Access?
Shareholder proxy access is a proposed regime that would allow shareholders of a public company to include in a company’s proxy materials (proxy statement and proxy card) candidates for director nominated by the shareholder in opposition to the company’s candidates for election. Under the current regime, only the company’s nominees for election to the board of directors are included in company proxy materials. If a shareholder wants to nominate opposition candidates, it must prepare, pay for and distribute separate proxy materials. The obvious point of shareholder proxy access is to change the classic election contest paradigm and thereby facilitate shareholders’ ability on a virtually costless basis to elect directors who are not on the board slate.

Who are the Players?
There are six main groups of players in the proxy access struggle:

• Corporate governance activists, spearheaded by labor unions, state and local government pension funds and the Council of Institutional Investors, have been the main proponents pushing for proxy access. Although not as vocal, activist investors are also supporters of proxy access;

• The SEC, where Chairman Schapiro has announced that she views proxy access rulemaking as a key priority;

• Members of Congress, such as Senator Schumer and other prominent Democratic lawmakers, seem committed to creating a shareholder access regime of some type;

• The business community, led by the US Chamber of Commerce (the Center for Capital Market Competitiveness) and The Business Roundtable, has been strongly opposed to proxy access since the first SEC rule-making foray in 2003;

• The legal community, through its various bar associations and a number of law firms, will weigh-in on the latest round of the proxy access debate once the SEC issues its proposed rule; and

• The proxy advisory firms, most notably RiskMetrics, which will have a large say on shareholder voting on proxy access proposals and on contested director elections resulting from proxy access, are expected to support proxy access.

…continue reading: The Battle for Shareholder Access: The Current State of Play

 
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