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Court of Chancery Adopts New Standard of Review

Mercier v. Inter-Tel (Delaware) Incorporated, C.A. No. 2226-VCS (August 14, 2007).

In a precedent setting opinion, the Court of Chancery has recast the standard of review that applies when determining if a board has acted to affect a stockholder vote. Under the previous Blasius standard, the board had to prove a "compelling justification" before taking any action, such as postponing a stockholder meeting, that affected the stockholders' right to vote.

This opinion recasts the standard closer to the familiar Unocal test where director action that affected a proposed takeover had to be a reasonable response to a perceived threat to corporate policy or interests. Now, in the case of board action that may affect the stockholders' vote, the board must show its actions were: (1) designed to achieve a legitimate corporate objective; (2) taken for a proper motive in good faith; and (3) were reasonable means to their proper objective. This test should be substantially easier to meet than the "compelling justification" standard.



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