Vol. 123 No. 7 Because corporate charters can be amended only with shareholder approval, it is widely believed that new charter provisions appear in midstream only if shareholders favor them. However, the approval requirement may fail to prevent the adoption of charter provisions disfavored by shareholders if management bundles them with measures enjoying shareholder support. This Article provides the first systematic evidence that managements have been using bundling to introduce antitakeover defenses that shareholders would likely reject if they were to vote on them separately.
Vol. 123 No. 5 Modern finance is increasingly dominated by derivatives and similar contracts that create contingent debts, which become payable only upon the occurrence of an uncertain future event. This Article identifies a pervasive opportunism hazard created by contingent debt that lawmakers and scholars have overlooked. If liability on a firm’s contingent debt is especially likely to be triggered when the firm is insolvent, the contract that creates the debt transfers wealth from the firm’s creditors to its shareholders. A firm therefore has incentive to engage in correlation-seeking – that is, to incur contingent debts that correlate, or that through asset purchases can be made to correlate, with the firm’s insolvency risk. The consequence is an overuse of contingent debt that destroys social wealth through overinvestment, higher borrowing costs, financial distress, and potential systemic risk.