Court of Chancery Explains Quasi Appraisal Remedy
Berger v. Pubco Corp., C.A. 3414-CC (Del. Ch. May 30, 2008)
More often than we may expect, Delaware corporations commit errors in notifying stockholders of their right to an appraisal after a merger. For some reason, on several occasions the wrong version of the appraisal statute was sent to the stockholders, violating the statutory requirement that a current version accompany the notice of appraisal rights. More commonly there is a disclosure problem, often a failure to provide enough information to permit the stockholders to decide if they should seek appraisal rights. This case involves both using the wrong version of the statute and failing to tell the stockholders of a closely held company how the merger price was set. Both those errors called for the Court to grant quasi appraisal rights.
The decision is particularly interesting for its explanation of how quasi appraisal proceedings should work. Basically, it involves starting all over again by sending out a corrected notice with the right statute attached and giving stockholders another chance to seek appraisal. Note that this is more favorable to the company than simply holding that the case may proceed as a class action for all minority stockholders.