A summary of the general procedures and practices for a business combination

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This article provides a summary of the general procedures and practices for a business combination. A business combination may be carried out through a plan of arrangement or  an amalgamation (also commonly referred to as a merger). Currently, acquisitions of Canadian public companies are most often completed by way of a plan of arrangement.

See Chinese version below.

Plans of Arrangement

The corporate statutes in Canada generally provide that companies can be merged and their outstanding securities can be exchanged, amended or reorganized through a court-supervised process known as a plan of arrangement.

The target company will apply ex parte for an initial court order directing the target company to seek the approval of its shareholders and fixing certain procedural requirements for obtaining such approval. A management information circular will be prepared by the target company and mailed to its shareholders containing prescribed information, including prospectus level disclosure about the acquiror (including pro forma financial statements) if the acquiror’s securities form part of the offered consideration. Unlike with a take-over bid circular and directors’ circular, this management information circular is not required to be translated into French, although a French language version is often provided where there are a significant number of shareholders in Québec. Plans of arrangement require both shareholder approval (generally by a special majority vote of 66 ⅔% of votes cast at the shareholder meeting) and final court approval (based on compliance with the initial court order and a determination by the court as to the substantive fairness of the arrangement). A plan of arrangement provides maximum flexibility to implement various structuring aspects of a transaction that might not be possible to implement under a take-over bid or merger/amalgamation. A plan of arrangement will generally also enable the issuance of securities of the acquiror to U.S. holders of the target company without requiring such securities to be registered in the U.S.

If the acquiror is a TSX-listed company and is issuing shares under a take-over bid or plan of arrangement that would cause dilution to its shareholders of more than 25%, it will be required by the TSX to seek approval from its own shareholders prior to completing any such transaction.

Amalgamations

Where an acquiror believes that it is highly likely that the holders of over two-thirds of the outstanding target company shares will support the transaction, but that it is unlikely to achieve a 90% tender in a take-over bid and there is no need for the structuring flexibility offered by a plan of arrangement, the acquiror may prefer to propose a going-private merger. Pursuant to a going-private merger, the target company will be amalgamated with an affiliate of the acquiror and all of the target company’s shareholders will exchange their shares of the target for whatever consideration is being offered (either cash or shares of the acquiror). A shareholder meeting of the target company is needed to approve the merger, generally by the vote of shareholders holding 66 2/3 % of the votes cast at the meeting. This transaction has the advantage in these circumstances of achieving 100% ownership of the target by the acquiror in a one-step transaction, instead of the two steps required pursuant to a take-over bid followed by a squeeze-out merger, and unlike with a plan of arrangement, the merger/amalgamation is not subject to a court-supervised process.

Related-Party Transactions

The securities laws of certain Canadian provinces contain complex rules governing transactions between a public company and parties that are related to it (i.e., major shareholders, directors and officers) and that are of a certain threshold size. These rules are designed to prevent related parties from receiving a benefit from a public company to the detriment of its minority shareholders without their approval.

A take-over bid made by a related party of the target company (i.e. an “insider bid”) will engage these special rules. In particular, a formal valuation of the target company’s shares prepared by an independent valuator under the supervision of an independent committee of the target company’s board will generally be required.

If the acquiror in a plan of arrangement or merger/amalgamation is related to the target company or if a related party is receiving a “collateral benefit,” these rules will also generally apply. In particular, approval by a majority of the minority shareholders (i.e., shareholders unrelated to the acquiror or any related party who receives a collateral benefit) will generally be required in addition to the shareholder approval required by applicable corporate law. Where the related party is acquiring the target company or is a party to a concurrent “connected transaction” of a certain threshold size, then a formal valuation of the target company shares, prepared by an independent valuator under the supervision of the target company’s board or an independent committee of directors, may be required.

 

这篇博客文章概述企业合并的程序步骤。 企业合并有两种,一种是安排计划,还有一种是合并 (也通称兼并)。目前,加拿大上市公司的收购通常是通过安排计划的方式来完成的。

安排计划

加拿大的公司法一般规定, 通过安排计划,一种受到法院监督的法律程序,公司之间可以进行兼并,公司发行的证券可以进行交换、修改或重组。

目标公司将单方向法院提出申请启动来完成其程序。这一步是向法院进行初次出庭来签发的临时法令,此等法令会指示目标公司寻求股东的批准并确定安排所适用的程序要求。目标公司需要编制并向股东发送一份载有与交易有关的特定信息的股东通函,如果收购价格的部分是以收购方的证券支付的,则还应提供类似招股说明书的内容(包括模拟财务报表)。这与要约收购的通告和董事通告有不同之处。通常这类股东通函不需要翻译成法文,但在有多数魁省股东时,经常会提供法语版本。安排计划需要股东表决同意(指在股东会议上股东所行使的表决权同意总数需达到三分之二)和法院批准(取决于对早期法令的遵守和安排计划的公平性)。安排计划在合适的情形中有两个显著优点。第一,它可以在实现交易的各种结构化方面提供要约方式收购不能达到的灵活性。另外一个优点是在经过法院批准的安排计划中,收购方无需向美国证监会提交登记说明即可以向目标公司的美国股东支付股票对价。

如果出价人是多伦多证券交易所上市的公司并且是在报价项下发行股票 (以或是收购要约或是企业合并的结构形式)从而会引起将其股东的股票稀释百分之二十五以上的话,则多伦多证券交易所会要求收购方获得其股东的批准。

合并

如果收购方认为在交易中获得超过拥有三分之二目标公司股份的股东们支持的可能性很高,但得到兼并目标公司的90%股份则不太可能,同时也不需要安排计划带来的多样性,在这种情况下,收购方可选私有化并购。根据私有化并购, 目标公司将与收购方的关联公司合并,并让目标公司的所有股东将所持的股份按所开出的价格或条件进行对换(无论是现金还是收购方的股票)。达成以上合并,目标公司需召集股东会议并获得三分之二股东的投票支持。这种交易在这些情况下具有以下优点:收购方可以一步完成收购目标公司100%所有权,而非需要两个步骤(进行要约收购然后以“分斥”方式收购剩余股份);也不同于需要法院批准的安排计划收购。

关联方交易

加拿大某些省份的证卷法包含复杂的规则来规范上市公司和其达到一定规模的关联方(即大股东、公司董事和高级管理人员)之间的交易。这些规则的制定是为了防止关联方在未经少数股东批准的情况下,从上市公司获得对少数股东有伤害的利益。

如果要约收购是由目标公司的关联方(即“内幕人士”)提出的,就要按特殊规则来办理。尤其,需要在目标公司董事会独立委员会的监督下,由独立的评估人员对目标公司股份做出正式的评估。

在企业合并中,如果收购方是目标公司的关联方,或如果任何关联方在交易中会获得“附带利益”,一般来说,则须遵守某些特别规则。尤其是,除了按照有关的公司法所要求的股东同意外,一般还要由少数股东(即,除了收购方或任何获得附带利益的关联方以外的股东)同意。当关联方在收购目标公司时,或同时进行一定槛规模的“关联交易”时,需要在目标公司董事会或独立董事会的监督下,对目标公司的股票给予独立评估。

 

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