There’s been some back & forth over “who writes the rules” when it comes to dual-class shares: candidates for that job have included indexes, exchanges and institutional investors (whose objections to an extreme variation of this structure was one of many factors that played a role in the fall of WeWork). In a recent speech, the SEC’s “Investor Advocate” – Rick Fleming – even acknowledged that investors are part of the problem – but also called for heightened SEC disclosure requirements for dual-class shares and intervention from stock exchanges.
Now, CII is also moving the issue to the state level – via a letter to the Delaware State Bar Association. Here’s an excerpt:
A proposed new Section 212(f) of the DGCL is attached as Annex A to this letter. Pursuant to that language, no multi-class voting structure would be valid for more than seven years after an initial public offering (IPO), a shareholder adoption, or an extension approved by the vote of a majority of outstanding shares of each share class, voting separately, on a one-share, one-vote basis. Such a vote would also be required to adopt any new multi-class voting structure at a public company. The prohibition would not apply to charter language already existing as of a legacy date.
-Liz Dunshee, TheCorporateCounsel.net November 18, 2019
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