Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 13.1. Corporations
9/27/2020

Article 14.1. Control Share Acquisitions.

§ 13.1-728.1. Definitions.

As used in this article:

"Acquiring person," with respect to any public corporation, means any person who has made or proposes to make a control share acquisition of shares of such public corporation.

"Beneficial ownership" means the sole or shared power to dispose or direct the disposition of shares, or the sole or shared power to vote or direct the voting of shares, or the sole or shared power to acquire shares, including any such power that is not immediately exercisable, whether such power is direct or indirect or through any contract, arrangement, understanding, relationship or otherwise. A person shall not be deemed to be a beneficial owner of shares tendered pursuant to a tender or exchange offer made by such person until the tendered shares are accepted for purchase or exchange. A person shall not be deemed to be a beneficial owner of shares as to which such person may exercise voting power solely by virtue of a revocable proxy conferring the right to vote. A member of a national securities exchange shall not be deemed to be a beneficial owner of shares held directly or indirectly by it on behalf of another person solely because such member is the record holder of such securities and, pursuant to the rules of such exchange, may direct the vote of such shares, without instructions, on other than contested matters or matters that may affect substantially the rights or privileges of the holders of the shares to be voted but is otherwise precluded by the rules of such exchange from voting without instructions.

"Control share acquisition" means the direct or indirect acquisition, other than in an excepted acquisition, by any person of beneficial ownership of shares of a public corporation that, except for this article, would have voting rights and would, when added to all other shares of such public corporation which then have voting rights and are beneficially owned by such person, would cause such person to become entitled, immediately upon acquisition of such shares, to vote or direct the vote of, shares having voting power within any of the following ranges of the votes entitled to be cast in an election of directors: (i) one-fifth or more but less than one-third of such votes; (ii) one-third or more but less than a majority of such votes; or (iii) a majority or more of such votes. If voting rights are granted pursuant to this article in respect of any such range to shares so acquired by any person, any acquisition by such person of additional shares shall not, for purposes of the preceding sentence, constitute a control share acquisition unless, as a result of such acquisition, the voting power of the shares beneficially owned by such person would be in excess of such range in respect of which voting rights had previously been granted. If this article applies to acquisitions of shares of a public corporation at the time of a control share acquisition of any shares of such corporation, then shares acquired by the same person within 90 days before or after such control share acquisition and shares acquired by the same person pursuant to a plan to make a control share acquisition are deemed to have been acquired in the same control share acquisition for the purposes of this article, regardless of the applicability of this article at the time of any other acquisitions of shares during such periods or pursuant to such a plan.

"Excepted acquisition" means the acquisition of shares of a public corporation in any of the following circumstances:

1. Before January 26, 1988;

2. Pursuant to a binding contract in effect before January 26, 1988;

3. Pursuant to the laws of wills and decedents' estates;

4. Pursuant to the satisfaction of a pledge or other security interest created in good faith and not for the purpose of circumventing this article;

5. Pursuant to a plan of merger or share exchange effected in compliance with Article 12 (§ 13.1-715.1 et seq.) if the public corporation is a party to the plan of merger or plan of share exchange;

6. Pursuant to a tender or exchange offer that is made pursuant to an agreement to which the public corporation is a party;

7. Directly from the public corporation, or from any of its wholly owned subsidiaries, or from any corporation having beneficial ownership of shares of the public corporation having at least a majority, before such transaction, of the votes entitled to be cast in the election of directors of such public corporation; or

8. In good faith and not for the purpose of circumventing this chapter by or from any person (a "transferor") whose voting rights had previously been authorized by shareholders in compliance with this article, or whose previous acquisition of beneficial ownership of shares would have constituted a control share acquisition but for any of subdivisions 1 through 7 in this definition; however, any acquisition described in this subdivision 8 shall constitute a control share acquisition if as a result thereof any person acquires beneficial ownership of shares of such issuing public corporation having voting power in the election of directors in excess of the range of votes within which the transferor was authorized by this article to exercise voting power immediately before such acquisition.

"Interested shares" means the shares of a public corporation the voting of which in an election of directors may be exercised or directed by any of the following persons: (i) an acquiring person with respect to a control share acquisition; (ii) any officer of such public corporation; or (iii) any employee of such public corporation who is also a director of the corporation.

"Person" includes an associate of any person. For this purpose, "associate" shall mean (i) any other person who directly or indirectly controls, or is controlled by or under common control with, any such person or who is acting or intends to act jointly or in concert with any such person in connection with the acquisition of or exercise of beneficial ownership over shares; (ii) any corporation or organization of which any such person is an officer, director, manager or partner or as to which any such person performs a similar function; (iii) any other person having direct or indirect beneficial ownership of 10 percent or more of any class of equity securities of any such person; (iv) any trust or estate in which any such person has a beneficial interest or as to which any such person serves as trustee or in a similar fiduciary capacity; and (v) any relative or spouse of any such person, or any relative of such spouse, any one of whom has the same residence as any such person. For this purpose, "control" shall mean the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or to cause the direction of the management or policies of a person, whether through the ownership of voting securities, by contract, arrangement or understanding, or otherwise.

The "votes" entitled to be cast by any share shall, if any voting group is entitled to vote for less than the total number of directors to be elected at any election, be determined by multiplying the number of votes entitled to be cast by the holder of such share by the number of directors for whom such holder is entitled to vote; however, beneficial ownership of a majority of the shares comprising any such voting group shall be deemed to entitle such beneficial owner to cast all the votes of the shares in such voting group.

1989, c. 14; 1990, c. 252; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-728.2. Application.

Unless, at the time of any control share acquisition with respect to a public corporation, such corporation's articles of incorporation or bylaws provide that this article does not apply to acquisitions of shares of such corporation, shares of such corporation acquired in such control share acquisition have only such voting rights as are conferred by § 13.1-728.3. Unless by midnight of the fourth day following (i) the receipt by the secretary of the corporation at the principal office of the corporation, of a notice expressly and specifically describing a proposed control share acquisition, or (ii) in case the proposed control share acquisition is to be made by tender offer, a public announcement, the corporation's articles of incorporation or bylaws provide that this article does not apply, then the provisions of § 13.1-728.3 shall apply to shares to be acquired in such control share acquisition.

1989, c. 14; 1990, c. 252; 2005, c. 765.

§ 13.1-728.3. Voting rights.

A. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this chapter, shares acquired in a control share acquisition have no voting rights unless voting rights are granted by resolution adopted by the shareholders of the public corporation. If such a resolution is adopted, such shares shall thereafter have the voting rights they would have had in the absence of this article.

B. To be adopted under this section, the resolution shall be approved by a majority of all the votes which could be cast in a vote on the election of directors by all the outstanding shares other than interested shares. Interested shares shall not be entitled to vote on the matter, and in determining whether a quorum exists, all interested shares shall be disregarded. For the purpose of this subsection, the interested shares shall be determined as of the record date for determining the shareholders entitled to vote at the meeting.

C. If no resolution is adopted under this section in respect of shares acquired in a control share acquisition and beneficial ownership of such shares is subsequently transferred in circumstances where the transferor no longer has beneficial ownership of such shares and the transferee is not engaged in a control share acquisition, then such shares shall thereafter have the voting rights they would have had in the absence of this article.

1989, c. 14; 2005, c. 765.

§ 13.1-728.4. Control share acquisition statement.

Any acquiring person may, after any control share acquisition or before any proposed one, deliver a control share acquisition statement to the public corporation at its principal office. The control share acquisition statement shall set forth all of the following:

1. The identity of the acquiring person and each other member of any group of which the person is a part for purposes of determining the shares owned or to be owned, beneficially, by the acquiring person.

2. A statement that the control share acquisition statement is given pursuant to this article.

3. The number of shares of the issuing public corporation beneficially owned by the acquiring person and each other member of the group.

4. The range of voting power under which the control share acquisition falls or would, if consummated, fall.

5. A description in reasonable detail of the terms of the control share acquisition or the proposed control share acquisition, including but not limited to:

a. The source of funds or other consideration and the material terms of the financial arrangements for the control share acquisition;

b. Any plans or proposals of the acquiring person to liquidate the public corporation, to sell all or substantially all of its or its subsidiaries' assets, to merge it or exchange its shares or the interests in its subsidiaries with any other person, to change the location of its principal executive office or a material portion of its business activities, to change materially its management or policies of employment, to alter materially its relations with suppliers or customers or the communities in which it operates, or to make any other material change in its business, corporate structure, management or personnel;

c. Any plans or proposals of the acquiring person to acquire additional shares (including additional shares within the range set forth in the statement) or to dispose of any shares; and

d. Such other information which could reasonably be expected to affect materially the decision of a shareholder with respect to granting voting rights to shares acquired or proposed to be acquired in the control share acquisition.

6. If the control share acquisition has not taken place, representations of the acquiring person, together with a statement in reasonable detail of the facts upon which they are based, that the control share acquisition, if consummated, will not be contrary to law, and that the acquiring person has the financial capacity to make the proposed control share acquisition. For this purpose, financial capacity shall only be deemed to include (i) cash and cash equivalents in excess of normal working capital requirements and (ii) funds to be provided under legally binding commitments from financial institutions having the capability to advance such funds. If the funds to be provided under such commitments are included in the demonstration of financial capacity, the control share acquisition statement shall be accompanied by complete copies of all such commitments and a written description of all oral understandings concerning the terms and conditions of such commitments.

1989, c. 14; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-728.5. Meeting of shareholders.

A. If the acquiring person so requests at the time of delivery of a control share acquisition statement and gives an undertaking to pay the corporation's expenses of a special meeting, within 10 days thereafter the directors of the public corporation shall call a special meeting of shareholders for the purpose of considering the voting rights to be granted the shares acquired or to be acquired in the control share acquisition.

B. Unless the acquiring person agrees in writing to another date, the special meeting of shareholders shall be held within 50 days after receipt by the public corporation of the request.

C. If the acquiring person so requests in writing at the time of delivery of the control share acquisition statement, the special meeting shall not be held sooner than 30 days after receipt by the public corporation of the acquiring person's statement.

D. If the acquiring person makes no request under subsection A but delivers, no later than 60 days before the intended date of notice of an annual meeting of shareholders, a control share acquisition statement with respect to shares acquired in a control share acquisition, the voting rights to be granted such shares shall be considered by any such annual meeting.

E. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this chapter, an appointment of a proxy that confers authority to vote on the granting of voting rights pursuant to this article shall be solicited separately from any offer to purchase, or from any solicitation of an offer to sell, shares of the public corporation, and may not be solicited sooner than 30 days before the meeting unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the acquiring person and the public corporation. No such appointment may be solicited or voted unless the appointment expressly provides that it is revocable at all times until the completion of the vote.

F. Notwithstanding subsection A, the board of directors of the public corporation may decline to call a special meeting of shareholders requested under such subsection if they determine that, at the time of such request, the acquiring person does not beneficially own shares having at least five percent of the votes entitled to be cast at an election of directors. If the directors so decline and if the control share acquisition statement accompanying such request was delivered no later than 60 days before the intended date of notice of an annual meeting of shareholders, the voting rights to be granted shares acquired or to be acquired in the control share acquisition described in the control share acquisition statement shall be considered at such annual meeting.

G. The control share acquisition statement required pursuant to subsections A, C, D, and E shall be delivered under and meet the requirements of § 13.1-728.4.

1989, c. 14; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-728.6. Notice to shareholders.

A. If a special meeting of shareholders is required to be called pursuant to § 13.1-728.5, notice of the special meeting shall be given by the public corporation to all shareholders of record as of the record date set for the meeting, whether or not entitled to vote at the meeting.

B. Notice of the special or annual shareholders' meeting at which the voting rights are to be considered shall include or be accompanied by the following:

1. A copy of the control share acquisition statement delivered pursuant to this article; and

2. A statement by the board of directors of its position or recommendation, or that it is taking no position or making no recommendation, with respect to the granting of voting rights to shares acquired in the control share acquisition or the proposed control share acquisition.

1989, c. 14; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-728.7. Redemption.

A. If authorized in a corporation's articles of incorporation or bylaws before a control share acquisition has occurred, the shares acquired in such control share acquisition with respect to which no control share acquisition statement has been filed with the public corporation may, at any time during the period ending 60 days after the last acquisition of such shares by the acquiring person, be redeemed by the corporation at the redemption price specified in subsection C.

B. If authorized in a corporation's articles of incorporation or bylaws before a control share acquisition has occurred, shares acquired in such control share acquisition with respect to which the shareholders have failed to grant voting rights at a special meeting or, if no special meeting for such purpose has been convened, at an annual meeting may, at any time during the period ending 60 days after such meeting, be redeemed by the corporation at the redemption price specified in subsection C.

C. The redemption price for shares to be redeemed under this section shall be the number of such shares multiplied by the dollar amount (rounded to the nearest cent) equal to the average per share price, including any brokerage commissions, transfer taxes and soliciting dealer's fees, paid by the acquiring person for such shares. The corporation may rely conclusively on public announcements by, or filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by, the acquiring person as to the prices so paid.

1989, c. 14; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

§ 13.1-728.8. Appraisal rights.

A. Unless otherwise provided in a corporation's articles of incorporation or bylaws before a control share acquisition has occurred, in the event shares acquired in a control share acquisition are accorded full voting rights and the acquiring person has beneficial ownership of shares entitled to cast a majority of the votes which could be cast in an election of directors, all shareholders of the public corporation other than the acquiring person have the right to appraisal rights and to obtain payment of the fair value of their shares under Article 15 (§ 13.1-729 et seq.) of this chapter as though such granting of voting rights were a corporate action described in subsection A of § 13.1-730, except that the provisions of subsection B of § 13.1-730 shall not be applicable and the failure to vote in favor of the granting of voting rights shall be deemed to constitute compliance with the requirements of subsection A of § 13.1-733.

B. For the purposes of this section, "fair value" shall in no event be less than the highest price per share paid in the control share acquisition, as adjusted for any subsequent share dividends or reverse share splits or similar changes.

1989, c. 14; 2005, c. 765.

§ 13.1-728.9. Nonexclusivity.

Except as expressly provided in this article, neither the provisions of this article nor their application to any acquiring person shall limit actions that may be taken, or require the taking of any action, by the board of directors or shareholders with respect to any potential changes in control of any public corporation. Regardless of the applicability of this article, in the case of any action taken or not taken by directors, the provisions of § 13.1-690 shall apply, and, in determining the best interests of the corporation, a director may consider the possibility that those interests may best be served by the continued independence of the corporation.

1989, c. 14; 2005, c. 765; 2019, c. 734.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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