A recent successful effort by a public company to exclude an environmental proposal from its proxy statement may signal a new approach for boards of directors to consider when managing shareholder proposals. Because retailers and consumer products companies routinely receive shareholder proposals on environmental and sustainability issues, similar arguments for exclusion may be persuasive to the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the future.
Continue Reading The Board’s Importance in Vetting Shareholder Proposals

On March 20, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments to simplify and modernize disclosure requirements. These amendments implement recommendations from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and are intended to make disclosures easier to read and navigate and to reduce repetitive and immaterial information.
Continue Reading Newly Adopted SEC Rules Implement FAST Act Mandate and Simplify Disclosure

Activist investors continue to make liberal use of the SEC’s Rule 14a-8 to submit proposals for inclusion in company proxy statements. One of the most important shareholder trends to emerge from 2018 is the increasing involvement and support of large institutional investors in certain campaigns. Crisis management was one area in particular that institutional investors prioritized and sought disclosure on in 2018.
Continue Reading Recent Trends in Shareholder Proposals

On January 17, 2019, Hunton Andrews Kurth’s retail industry team, composed of more than 200 lawyers across practices, released their annual Retail Industry Year in Review publication.
Continue Reading Hunton Andrews Kurth Publishes 2018 Retail Industry Year in Review

In a recent speech, Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Chairman Jay Clayton summarized a number of regulatory priorities for 2019 that may interest retailers. Clayton began the speech looking back on 2018’s accomplishments, then spent the bulk of his time discussing planned rulemaking efforts in the coming year.
Continue Reading SEC Chairman Previews Regulatory Agenda for 2019

On October 23, 2018, the SEC Division of Corporation Finance issued Staff Legal Bulletin No. 14J, which reiterated and expounded upon prior guidance regarding when companies may exclude shareholder proposals under the economic relevance exception of Rule 14a-8(i)(5), and the ordinary business exception of Rule 14a-8(i)(7).
Continue Reading SEC Provides Additional Guidance on Excluding Shareholder Proposals

Retailers sued in state court might be pleasantly surprised to learn that the presence of a forum defendant may not always prevent removal to federal court based on diversity of citizenship. A procedural maneuver known as “snap removal” can allow a defendant to remove such a case in certain situations.
Continue Reading “Snap” to It When Your Company Is Sued in State Court

A recent Supreme Court ruling regarding sales taxes and new tariffs on Chinese imports instituted by the Trump administration will impact many retailers, which could in turn have an effect on M&A activity in the retail industry.
Continue Reading SCOTUS Tax Ruling and New Tariffs Could Affect Retail M&A Activity