Law360 Reports on Delaware Court of Chancery Suit Regarding Weaponized Advance Notice Bylaws

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Law360 (subscription required) has reported on the Delaware Court of Chancery suit filed by Olshan client Martin Siegel, a shareholder of global utility and power company The AES Corp., against eleven of the company’s current and former board members, alleging that the company has "weaponized" advance notice requirements in its bylaws to make it “unreasonably difficult, if not impossible,” for stockholders to nominate candidates for the company’s board. Among the amendments the company made in August 2023 to its bylaws, provisions include an “acting in concert” definition that requires any stockholder who nominates a slate of directors to identify a broad assortment of people in order to make the nomination valid and requiring a nominating stockholder to disclose commercially sensitive performance-related fees it could pay if the value of its company stock appreciates. According to the filing, AES Corp. has stated publicly that it amended its bylaws to address the SEC’s universal proxy card rule that went into effect September 2022, which was intended to make it easier for shareholders to nominate alternative director candidates to company boards but has often resulted in companies adopting onerous advance notice requirements that disenfranchise shareholders. The plaintiff’s motion to expedite asserts that if the Chancery Court does not declare the bylaw provisions invalid before the November 26 deadline to nominate directors for the company’s 2025 stockholders’ meeting, the stockholders' franchise rights will be violated and stockholders will be “permanently harmed.” Olshan Chair of Litigation Lori Marks-Esterman and counsel Jacqueline Ma represent the plaintiff in this matter.

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