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BVLaw Review: The Top Valuation Cases of 2021

Here is our pick for the state and federal court decisions that enhanced our understanding of valuation issues as they arose in a litigation setting during 2021.

Guttman v. Guttman

The one-third partner of a real estate partnership, Bruce Guttman (Bruce), sued for dissolution. The two majority partners initiated a statutory procedure to buy out Bruce. All three appraisals were very close to $38 million. Feeling the valuations to be too low, Bruce sought to withdraw his complaint without prejudice. The trial court, on a motion from the majority partners, vacated Bruce’s dismissal. The appellate court affirmed the trial court.

One-Third Partner Sued to Have Partnership Dissolved, Asked to Vacate His Dissolution Assertion

The one-third partner of a real estate partnership, Bruce Guttman (Bruce), sued for dissolution. The two majority partners initiated a statutory procedure to buy out Bruce. All three appraisals were very close to $38 million. Feeling the valuations to be too low, Bruce sought to withdraw his complaint without prejudice. The trial court, on a motion from the majority partners, vacated Bruce’s dismissal. The appellate court affirmed the trial court.

Fair Price for Delaware Fiduciary Actions Can Exceed Appraisal Fair Value

Can fiduciaries of Delaware corporations breach their duties and face damages for a merger that provides stockholders with the equivalent of fair value in a judicial appraisal? The answer may surprise you.

Court of Chancery adopts deal price, adjusting for synergies and tax savings

In a statutory appraisal action, the Delaware Court of Chancery recently adopted the deal price minus synergies as the best indicator of fair value.

In re Appraisal of Regal Entertainment Group

In a merger action involving a publicly traded company, dissenting shareholders sued for a higher value than the deal consideration. Under the applicable appraisal jurisprudence, the court calculates fair value using the deal price minus synergies and adjusting for the change in value of the target between the signing and closing of the transaction.

In Appraisal Action, Court Determines Fair Value Using Deal Price Minus Synergies and Adjusting for Increase in Value From Signing to Closing of Merger

In a merger action involving a publicly traded company, dissenting shareholders sued for a higher value than the deal consideration. Under the applicable appraisal jurisprudence, the court calculates fair value using the deal price minus synergies and adjusting for the change in value of the target between the signing and closing of the transaction.

Appraisal value does not control fiduciary litigation, Court of Chancery says

In 2019, in the Columbia Pipeline statutory appraisal case, the Delaware Court of Chancery found the unadjusted deal price was the best evidence of fair value.

Highlights of 2020 Delaware Valuation Decisions

This article discusses two 2020 Supreme Court decisions and eight decisions by the Court of Chancery.

The Top Valuation and Damages Cases of 2020

Our pick of valuation-related court cases includes state and federal court decisions covering many areas of law that dealt with novel issues of law or, in some way, enhanced our understanding of valuation and damages issues as they arose in a litigation setting.

2020 Top Business Valuation and Damages Cases

Complicated as the year 2020 was, it was not boring. The past year offered a wealth of lawsuits dealing with business valuation and economic damages issues. The list below shows our Top 10.

Global BVU News and Trends October 2020

Business valuation news from a global perspective.

Court of Chancery sanctions use of asset approach in complex appraisal case

A low-profile appraisal case in front of the Delaware Court of Chancery raised important valuation questions, including how the court should determine the fair value of a nonoperating entity and how it should deal with the value of claims both parties brought on behalf of the company prior to the contested merger.

In re Happy Child World, Inc.

In an entire-fairness-cum-statutory-appraisal case involving nonoperating day care center whose facility was leased on merger date, court approves use of capitalization of earnings and NAV models and averaging results to determine fair value; business model was uncertain on merger date, court notes.

Uncertain Business Model on Merger Date Justifies Use of Income and NAV Models, Court Says

In an entire-fairness-cum-statutory-appraisal case involving nonoperating day care center whose facility was leased on merger date, court approves use of capitalization of earnings and NAV models and averaging results to determine fair value; business model was uncertain on merger date, court notes.

Flaws in North Carolina Court’s Appraisal of Reynolds American

The wrong valuation date, a faulty reliance on other cases and the disregard of projections highlight the court’s opinion in a shareholder dissent case involving two tobacco giants.

In a crunch, court adopts company’s DCF model as fair value indicator

In a statutory appraisal action prompted by the 2016 buyout of minority shareholders by the controller of a private company, the Delaware Court of Chancery recently found there was no meaningful market-based evidence of fair value and neither expert opinion, based on standard valuation methods, was “wholly reliable.”

Advising clients on the meaning of ‘fair value’

The phrase ‘fair value’ continues to bedevil the high courts and create very different expectations when parties are forced to figure out what to pay when buying and selling.

Henley Mining v. Parton

In statutory appraisal case, court denies summary judgment motion arguing opposing expert’s valuation fails to meet legal definition of fair value, i.e., “the value of the company as a whole and as a going concern”; court says controlling case law does not preclude use of net asset value method.

Fair Value Standard Does Not Preclude Use of Net Asset Approach, Court Affirms

In statutory appraisal case, court denies summary judgment motion arguing opposing expert’s valuation fails to meet legal definition of fair value, i.e., “the value of the company as a whole and as a going concern”; court says controlling case law does not preclude use of net asset value method.

Kruse v. Synapse Wireless, Inc.

In appraisal action arising out of controller’s buyout of minority stockholders, court finds there is no reliable market evidence as to target’s fair value on merger date; none of expert valuations are “wholly reliable,” but one expert’s DCF analysis offers a “proportionately reliable conclusion.”

Lacking Any Wholly Reliable Indicators of Fair Value, Court Adopts Respondent's DCF Model

In appraisal action arising out of controller's buyout of minority stockholders, court finds there is no reliable market evidence as to target's fair value on merger date; none of expert valuations are "wholly reliable," but one expert's DCF analysis offers a "proportionately reliable conclusion."

Fir Tree Value Master Fund v. Jarden Corp., (Jarden III)

High court affirms trial court’s use of unaffected market price as fair value in statutory appraisal involving merger of publicly traded company; high court rejects petitioners’ late argument that, where sale process was flawed and company failed to prove synergies, deal price should act as floor.

No ‘Long-Recognized Principle’ Against Use of Market Price as Fair Value Indicator, High Court Says

High court affirms trial court’s use of unaffected market price as fair value in statutory appraisal involving merger of publicly traded company; high court rejects petitioners’ late argument that, where sale process was flawed and company failed to prove synergies, deal price should act as floor.

North Carolina court looks to deal price for fair value in tobacco merger

The importance of Delaware appraisal jurisprudence beyond state borders was on display in a recent fair value decision out of North Carolina related to a merger involving the tobacco giant Reynolds.

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