Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Broken Deals: Who’s to Blame?

Posted by Holger Spamann, co-editor, Harvard Law School Corporate Governance Blog, on Wednesday November 19, 2008 at 12:13 pm
Insights from Practice, Mergers and Acquisitions, Program Events -->
Who’s to blame when a signed deal falls through? This question is especially relevant with respect to LBO buyers these days. Deals negotiated when times were good and credit was easy look much less appealing if not disastrous now that the short term economic outlook is bleak and the credit environment has soured. In particular, banks are weary of lending into LBOs when their ability to securitize and sell off the loans has waned. Private equity buyers may want to extricate themselves from signed deals, or be forced to do so because debt financing is not forthcoming. What contractual rights do sellers, buyers, and financiers have against one another in such a situation? What reputational effects, if any, constrain them from exercising those rights? And how should a seller’s board trade off deal certainty against price when choosing between competing transactions? Isaac Corré of Eton Park, Steven Davidoff a/k/a The Deal Professor, John Finley of Simpson Thacher, and Jim Morphy of Sullivan & Cromwell debated these questions with Vice Chancellor Leo Strine, Jr. and Professor Robert C. Clark in their Mergers, Acquisitions, and Split-Ups class here at Harvard Law School last week.
The video of the event is available here.

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