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Court of Chancery Overturns Standstill Agreement

Posted In M&A

In Re: The Topps Company Shareholders Litigation, C.A. No. 2786-VCS (June 14, 2007).

The duties of directors in a sale of the company situation are often difficult to articulate except to say they should get the best price. Here, however, the Court of Chancery examines a real world problem of dealing with two competing bids and explains in detail how to do so properly. Moreover, when as here the Court concludes the directors have been unreasonably favoring one bidder over another, it will intervene to level the playing field.

The Court required that the board of Topps, the baseball card company, end a standstill agreement it had with Upper Deck, amend Topps proxy materials that had unfairly portrayed the Upper Deck offer for Topps and otherwise act to be sure that Upper Deck's proposal to acquire Topps was fairly considered. The decision also illustrates the problems management may have when they are given assurances of continued employment by one bidder who they then seem to favor in the bidding process.



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