Material Adverse Effects as Buyer-Friendly Standard
Y. Carson Zhou
Commentators often remark that Material Adverse Effects (MAE) Clauses are difficult to successfully invoke. Indeed, the Delaware Court of Chancery stated in Hexion that “Delaware courts have never found a material adverse effect to have occurred in the context of a merger agreement.” But commentators’ preoccupation with the high legal hurdle for establishing an MAE at trial understates the ways in which the existing case law favors buyers during pretrial motions and settlement negotiations. This Article argues that the Delaware standard for establishing an MAE favors buyers at the pretrial phase by making it easier for buyers to drag out litigation in order to force sellers to agree to a renegotiated deal price. The Article then discusses the implications for dealmakers.
Y. Carson Zhou, Material Adverse Effects as Buyer-Friendly Standard, 91 N.Y.U. L. Rev. Online 171 (2016).