TagMinority Shareholders

Activism through Directors Elected by “Small Shareholders”

Recent news reports (here, here and here) have highlighted a shareholder proposal that has been initiated in preparation for the annual general meeting of Alembic Limited to be held on 28 July 2017. The shareholder in question is Unifi Capital Private Limited who is said (though not verified) to be holding 3% shares in Alembic. The proposal involves the election of a “small shareholder” director...

Shareholding Thresholds for Oppression and Class Actions

The Tata-Mistry episode has brought into focus the minimum shareholding threshold required for a minority shareholder to bring an action for oppression and mismanagement under sections 241 to 244 of the Companies Act, 2013. In a piece in Bloomberg Quint titled Minority Shareholder Protection as a Numbers Game, I examine the implications of such shareholding thresholds that operate as a filter...

NCLT Rules on Maintainability in the Tata-Mistry Case

Background The action on the legal front in the Tata-Mistry episode has been playing out in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) over the last few weeks. This is on account of an action for oppression and mismanagement initiated by two Mistry companies (the Mistry Group) that are shareholders of Tata Sons against the company as well as its directors and officers. The action was brought under...

Shareholder Primacy in India: So Near and Yet So Far!

[The following guest post is contributed by Professor Bala N. Balasubramanian, who is an Adjunct Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.][1] The scholarly debate on primacy among the shareholders, boards and the executive in corporate governance is intellectually as challenging as it is yet inconclusive, although more recent trends around the world would seem to suggest at...

The Tata Episode: Corporate Governance and the Continuing Influence of Promoters

It is generally understood that corporate governance norms ought to address agency problems between various actors in a company. Moreover, in companies with concentrated shareholding, the agency problems between controlling shareholders (referred to in India as “promoters”) and minority shareholders tend to be rampant, and hence corporate governance measures need to be targeted to address that...

Non-compete Fee: A Bane for Minority Shareholders

[The following post is contributed by Soham Roy & Akhil Nene, who are 5th year students at the National Law University Odisha] A non-compete fee is paid to exiting promoters or founders of a company to ensure that they do not compete for a certain period of time with the company they are exiting. Recently, there was considerable controversy surrounding the HDFC Life-Max merger as a result of...

Ruling on Shareholder Rights to Inspect Company Records

[The following guest post is contributed by Dheeraj Kumar Sharma, who is a Manager at Vinod Kothari & Company] Introduction The Mumbai Bench of the Company Law Board (‘CLB’), through its order dated April 16, 2015 in the case of Mr. Anil Kumar Poddar v. Bonanza Industries Limited, dismissed the application of a shareholder who demanded copies of records of a company and sought inspection of...

Case-Study Evidence of Shareholder Activism

We have previously highlighted the rise of shareholder activism in India (here and here). Activism has been aided by regulatory reforms that have enlarged shareholder participation. In addition, market changes have resulted in previously passive institutional investors becoming more active in recent times. They have further been supported by the emergence of a growing and vibrant proxy advisory...

Derivative Action for Patent Infringement Disallowed

Spicy IP has a post discussing a judgment of the Bombay High Court in Darius Rutton Kavasmaneck v. Gharda Chemicals Limited, which involves a derivative claim by a shareholder of a company that traverses issues of company law and patent law. In disallowing the claim, the Bombay High Court dealt with issues pertaining to derivative actions and clarified circumstances where they would be allowed to...

“Dual-class” Share Structures

The recent NYSE listing of Alibaba has once again brought to the fore the issue of dual-class share structures, as discussed in this column in the Economist. Alibaba’s founder and a group of insider shareholders have control rights that are disproportionate to their economic rights. The wave of dual-class structures in tech-IPOs was triggered by Google’s IPO in 2004, which was followed by another...

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