USA Washington

USA Statutes : washington
Title : Washington business corporation act
Chapter : Significant business transactions
RCW 23B.19.010Legislative findings Intent.The legislature finds that:  (1) Corporations that offer employment and health, retirement, and other benefits to citizens of the state of Washington are vital to the economy of this state and the well-being of all of its citizens;  (2) The welfare of the employees of these corporations is of paramount interest and concern to this state;  (3) Many businesses in this state rely on these corporations to purchase goods and services;  (4) Hostile or unfriendly attempts to gain control of or influence otherwise publicly held corporations can cause corporate management to dissipate a corporation's assets in an effort to resist the takeover by selling or distributing cash or assets, redeeming stock, or taking other steps to increase the short-term gain to shareholders and to dissipate energies required for strategic planning, market development, capital investment decisions, assessment of technologies, and evaluation of competitive challenges that can damage the long-term interests of shareholders and the economic health of the state by reducing or eliminating the ability to finance investments in research and development, new products, facilities and equipment, and by undermining the planning process for those purposes;  (5) Hostile or unfriendly attempts to gain control or influence otherwise publicly held corporations are often highly leveraged pursuant to financing arrangements which assume that an acquirer will promptly obtain access to an acquired corporation's cash or assets and use them, or the proceeds of their sale, to repay acquisition indebtedness;  (6) Hostile or unfriendly attempts to gain control of or influence otherwise publicly held corporations can harm the economy of the state by weakening corporate performance, and causing unemployment, plant closings, reduced charitable donations, declining population base, reduced income to fee-supported local government services, reduced tax base, and reduced income to other businesses; and  (7) The state has a substantial and legitimate interest in regulating domestic corporations and those foreign corporations that have their most significant business contacts with this state and in regulating hostile or unfriendly attempts to gain control of or influence otherwise publicly held domestic corporations and those foreign corporations that employ a large number of citizens of the state, pay significant taxes, and have a substantial economic base in the state.  The legislature intends this chapter to balance the substantial and legitimate interests of the state in domestic corporations and those foreign corporations that employ a large number of citizens of the state and that have a substantial economic base in the state with: The interests of citizens of other states who own shares of such corporations; the interests of the state of incorporation of such foreign corporations in regulating the internal affairs of corporations incorporated in that state; and the interests of promoting interstate commerce. To this effect, the legislature intends to regulate certain transactions between publicly held corporations and acquiring persons that will tend to harm the long-term health of domestic corporations and of foreign corporations that have their principal executive office and a majority of their assets in this state and that employ a large number of citizens of this state.[1989 c 165 § 197.] RCW 23B.19.020Definitions.The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.  (1) "Acquiring person" means a person or group of persons, other than the target corporation or a subsidiary of the target corporation, who beneficially owns ten percent or more of the outstanding voting shares of the target corporation. The term "acquiring person" does not include a person who (a) beneficially owned ten percent or more of the outstanding voting shares of the target corporation on March 23, 1988; (b) acquires its shares by gift, inheritance, or in a transaction in which no consideration is exchanged; (c) exceeds the ten percent threshold as a result of action taken solely by the target corporation, such as redemption of shares, unless that person, by its own action, acquires additional shares of the target corporation; (d) beneficially was the owner of ten percent or more of the outstanding voting shares prior to the time the target corporation had a class of voting shares registered with the securities and exchange commission pursuant to section 12 or 15 of the exchange act; or (e) beneficially was the owner of ten percent or more of the outstanding voting shares prior to the time the target corporation amended its articles of incorporation to provide that the corporation shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter. An agent, bank, broker, nominee, or trustee for another person, if the other person is not an acquiring person, who acts in good faith and not for the purpose of circumventing this chapter, is not an acquiring person. For the purpose of determining whether a person is an acquiring person, the number of voting shares of the target corporation that are outstanding shall include shares beneficially owned by the person through application of subsection (4) of this section, but shall not include any other unissued voting shares of the target corporation which may be issuable pursuant to any agreement, arrangement, or understanding; or upon exercise of conversion rights, warrants, or options; or otherwise.  (2) "Affiliate" means a person who directly or indirectly controls, or is controlled by, or is under common control with, a person.  (3) "Announcement date," when used in reference to any significant business transaction, means the date of the first public announcement of the final, definitive proposal for such a significant business transaction.  (4) "Associate" means (a) a domestic or foreign corporation or organization of which a person is an officer, director, member, or partner or in which a person performs a similar function; (b) a direct or indirect beneficial owner of ten percent or more of any class of equity securities of a person; (c) a trust or estate in which a person has a beneficial interest or as to which a person serves as trustee or in a similar fiduciary capacity; and (d) the spouse or a parent or sibling of a person or a child, grandchild, sibling, parent, or spouse of any thereof, of a person or an individual having the same home as a person.  (5) "Beneficial ownership," when used with respect to any shares, means ownership by a person:  (a) Who, individually or with or through any of its affiliates or associates, beneficially owns such shares, directly or indirectly; or  (b) Who, individually or with or through any of its affiliates or associates, has (i) the right to acquire the shares, whether the right is exercisable immediately or only after the passage of time, pursuant to any agreement, arrangement, or understanding, whether or not in writing, or upon the exercise of conversion rights, exchange rights, warrants or options, or otherwise. A person is not the beneficial owner of shares tendered pursuant to a tender or exchange offer made by the person or any of the person's affiliates or associates until the tendered shares are accepted for purchase or exchange; or (ii) the right to vote the shares pursuant to any agreement, arrangement, or understanding, whether or not in writing. A person is not the beneficial owner of any shares under (b)(ii) of this subsection if the agreement, arrangement, or understanding to vote the shares arises solely from a revocable proxy or consent given in response to a proxy or consent solicitation made in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations under the exchange act and is not then reportable on schedule 13D under the exchange act, or any comparable or successor report; or  (c) Who has any agreement, arrangement, or understanding, whether or not in writing, for the purpose of acquiring, holding, voting, except voting pursuant to a revocable proxy or consent as described in (b)(ii) of this subsection, or disposing of the shares with any other person who beneficially owns, or whose affiliates or associates beneficially own, directly or indirectly, the shares.  (6) "Common shares" means any shares other than preferred shares.  (7) "Consummation date," with respect to any significant business transaction, means the date of consummation of such a significant business transaction, or, in the case of a significant business transaction as to which a shareholder vote is taken, the later of the business day prior to the vote or twenty days prior to the date of consummation of such a significant business transaction.  (8) "Control," "controlling," "controlled by," and "under common control with," means the possession, directly or indirectly, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person, whether through the ownership of voting shares, by contract, or otherwise. A person's beneficial ownership of ten percent or more of a domestic or foreign corporation's outstanding voting shares shall create a rebuttable presumption that such person has control of such corporation. However, a person does not have control of a domestic or foreign corporation if the person holds voting shares, in good faith and not for the purpose of circumventing this chapter, as an agent, bank, broker, nominee, custodian, or trustee for one or more beneficial owners who do not individually or as a group have control of such corporation.  (9) "Domestic corporation" means an issuer of voting shares which is organized under chapter 23B.02 RCW or any predecessor provision.  (10) "Exchange act" means the federal securities exchange act of 1934, as amended.  (11) "Market value," in the case of property other than cash or shares, means the fair market value of the property on the date in question as determined by the board of directors of the target corporation in good faith.  (12) "Person" means an individual, domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, trust, unincorporated association, or other entity; an affiliate or associate of any such person; or any two or more persons acting as a partnership, syndicate, or other group for the purpose of acquiring, holding, or dispersing of securities of a domestic or foreign corporation.  (13) "Preferred shares" means any class or series of shares of a target corporation which under the bylaws or articles of incorporation of such a corporation is entitled to receive payment of dividends prior to any payment of dividends on some other class or series of shares, or is entitled in the event of any voluntary liquidation, dissolution, or winding up of the target corporation to receive payment or distribution of a preferential amount before any payments or distributions are received by some other class or series of shares.  (14) "Shares" means any:  (a) Shares or similar security, any certificate of interest, any participation in any profit sharing agreement, any voting trust certificate, or any certificate of deposit for shares; and  (b) Security convertible, with or without consideration, into shares, or any warrant, call, or other option or privilege of buying shares without being bound to do so, or any other security carrying any right to acquire, subscribe to, or purchase shares.  (15) "Significant business transaction" means:  (a) A merger, share exchange, or consolidation of a target corporation or a subsidiary of a target corporation with (i) an acquiring person, or (ii) any other domestic or foreign corporation which is, or after the merger, share exchange, or consolidation would be, an affiliate or associate of the acquiring person;  (b) A sale, lease, exchange, mortgage, pledge, transfer, or other disposition or encumbrance, whether in one transaction or a series of transactions, to or with an acquiring person or an affiliate or associate of an acquiring person of assets of a target corporation or a subsidiary of a target corporation (i) having an aggregate market value equal to five percent or more of the aggregate market value of all the assets, determined on a consolidated basis, of the target corporation, (ii) having an aggregate market value equal to five percent or more of the aggregate market value of all the outstanding shares of the target corporation, or (iii) representing five percent or more of the earning power or net income, determined on a consolidated basis, of the target corporation;  (c) The termination, while the corporation has an acquiring person and as a result of the acquiring person's acquisition of ten percent or more of the shares of the corporation, of five percent or more of the employees of the target corporation or its subsidiaries employed in this state, whether at one time or over the five-year period following the share acquisition time. For the purposes of (c) of this subsection, a termination other than an employee's death or disability or bona fide voluntary retirement, transfer, resignation, termination for cause under applicable common law principles, or leave of absence shall be presumed to be a termination resulting from the acquiring person's acquisition of shares, which presumption is rebuttable. A bona fide voluntary transfer of employees between the target corporation and its subsidiaries or between its subsidiaries is not a termination for the purposes of (c) of this subsection;  (d) The issuance, transfer, or redemption by a target corporation or a subsidiary of a target corporation, whether in one transaction or a series of transactions, of shares or of options, warrants, or rights to acquire shares of a target corporation or a subsidiary of a target corporation to or beneficially owned by an acquiring person or an affiliate or associate of an acquiring person except pursuant to the exercise of warrants or rights to purchase shares offered, or a dividend, distribution, or redemption paid or made pro rata to, all shareholders or holders of options, warrants, or rights to acquire shares of the target corporation, and except for involuntary redemptions permitted by the target corporation's charter or by the law of this state or the state of incorporation;  (e) The liquidation or dissolution of a target corporation proposed by, or pursuant to an agreement, arrangement, or understanding, whether or not in writing, with an acquiring person or an affiliate or associate of an acquiring person;  (f) A reclassification of securities, including, without limitation, any shares split, shares dividend, or other distribution of shares in respect of stock, or any reverse shares split, or recapitalization of a target corporation, or a merger or consolidation of a target corporation with a subsidiary of the target corporation, or any other transaction, whether or not with or into or otherwise involving an acquiring person, proposed by, or pursuant to an agreement, arrangement, or understanding, whether or not in writing, with an acquiring person or an affiliate or associate of an acquiring person, that has the effect, directly or indirectly, of increasing the proportionate share of the outstanding shares of a class or series of voting shares or securities convertible into voting shares of a target corporation or a subsidiary of the target corporation that is directly or indirectly owned by an acquiring person or an affiliate or associate of an acquiring person, except as a result of immaterial changes due to fractional share adjustments; or  (g) A receipt by an acquiring person or an affiliate or associate of an acquiring person of the benefit, directly or indirectly, except proportionately as a shareholder of a target corporation, of loans, advances, guarantees, pledges, or other financial assistance or tax credits or other tax advantages provided by or through a target corporation.  (16) "Share acquisition time" means the time at which a person first becomes an acquiring person of a target corporation.  (17) "Subsidiary" means a domestic or foreign corporation that has a majority of its outstanding voting shares owned, directly or indirectly, by another domestic or foreign corporation.  (18) "Tangible assets" means tangible real and personal property of all kinds. It shall also include leasehold interests in tangible real and personal property.  (19) "Target corporation" means:  (a) Every domestic corporation, if:  (i) The corporation has a class of voting shares registered with the securities and exchange commission pursuant to section 12 or 15 of the exchange act; or  (ii) The corporation's articles of incorporation have been amended to provide that such a corporation shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter, if the corporation did not have a class of voting shares registered with the securities and exchange commission pursuant to section 12 or 15 of the exchange act on the effective date of that amendment; and  (b) Every foreign corporation required to have a certificate of authority to transact business in this state pursuant to chapter 23B.15 RCW, if:  (i) The corporation has a class of voting shares registered with the securities and exchange commission pursuant to section 12 or 15 of the exchange act;  (ii) The corporation's principal executive office is located in the state;  (iii) The corporation has: (A) More than ten percent of its shareholders of record resident in the state; or (B) more than ten percent of its shares owned of record by state residents; or (C) one thousand or more shareholders of record resident in the state;  (iv) A majority of the corporation's employees, together with those of its subsidiaries, are residents of the state or the corporation, together with its subsidiaries, employs more than one thousand residents of the state; and  (v) A majority of the corporation's tangible assets, together with those of its subsidiaries, measured by market value, are located in the state or the corporation, together with its subsidiaries, has more than fifty million dollars' worth of tangible assets located in the state.  For purposes of this subsection, the record date for determining the percentages and numbers of shareholders and shares shall be the last shareholder record date before the event requiring that the determination be made. A shareholder record date shall be determined pursuant to the comparable provision to RCW 23B.07.070 of the law of the state in which a foreign corporation is incorporated. If a shareholder record date has not been fixed by the board of directors within the preceding four months, the determination shall be made as of the end of the corporation's most recent fiscal quarter.  The residence of each shareholder is presumed to be the address appearing in the records of the corporation. Shares held of record by brokers or nominees shall be disregarded for purposes of calculating the percentages and numbers specified in this subsection. Shares of a corporation allocated to the account of an employee or former employee or beneficiaries of employees or former employees of a corporation and held in a plan that is qualified under section 401(a) of the federal internal revenue code of 1986, as amended, and is a defined contribution plan within the meaning of section 414(i) of the code shall be deemed, for the purposes of this subsection, to be held of record by the employee to whose account such shares are allocated.  A domestic or foreign corporation shall be deemed to be a target corporation if the domestic or foreign corporation's failure to satisfy the requirements of this subsection is caused by the action of, or is the result of a proposal by, an acquiring person or affiliate or associate of an acquiring person.  (20) "Voting shares" means shares of a corporation entitled to vote generally in the election of directors.[1996 c 155 § 1; 1989 c 165 § 198.] RCW 23B.19.030Transaction excluded from chapter Inadvertent acquisition.This chapter does not apply to a significant business transaction of a target corporation with an acquiring person of the target corporation which became an acquiring person inadvertently, if the acquiring person (1) as soon as practicable, divests itself of a sufficient amount of the voting shares of the target corporation so that it no longer is the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of ten percent or more of the outstanding voting shares of the target corporation, and (2) would not at any time within the five-year period preceding the announcement date of the significant business transaction have been an acquiring person but for the inadvertent acquisition.[1996 c 155 § 2; 1989 c 165 § 199.] RCW 23B.19.040Approval of significant business transaction required Violation.(1)(a) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this title, a target corporation shall not for a period of five years following the acquiring person's share acquisition time engage in a significant business transaction unless it is exempted by RCW 23B.19.030 or unless the significant business transaction or the purchase of shares made by the acquiring person is approved prior to the acquiring person's share acquisition time by a majority of the members of the board of directors of the target corporation.  (b) If a good faith proposal for a significant business transaction is made in writing to the board of directors of the target corporation prior to the significant business transaction or prior to the share acquisition time, the board of directors shall respond in writing, within thirty days or such shorter period, if any, as may be required by the exchange act setting forth its reasons for its decision regarding the proposal. If a good faith proposal to purchase shares is made in writing to the board of directors of the target corporation, the board of directors, unless it responds affirmatively in writing within thirty days or a shorter period, if any, as may be required by the exchange act shall be deemed to have disapproved such share purchase.  (2) Except for a significant business transaction approved under subsection (1) of this section or exempted by RCW 23B.19.030, in addition to any other requirement, a target corporation shall not engage at any time in any significant business transaction described in RCW 23B.19.020(15) (a) or (e) with any acquiring person of such a corporation other than a significant business transaction that either meets all of the conditions of (a), (b), and (c) of this subsection or meets the conditions of (d) of this subsection:  (a) The aggregate amount of the cash and the market value as of the consummation date of consideration other than cash to be received per share by holders of outstanding common shares of such a target corporation in a significant business transaction is at least equal to the higher of the following:  (i) The highest per share price paid by such an acquiring person at a time when the person was the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of five percent or more of the outstanding voting shares of a target corporation, for any shares of common shares of the same class or series acquired by it: (A) Within the five-year period immediately prior to the announcement date with respect to a significant business transaction; or (B) within the five-year period immediately prior to, or in, the transaction in which the acquiring person became an acquiring person, whichever is higher plus, in either case, interest compounded annually from the earliest date on which the highest per share acquisition price was paid through the consummation date at the rate for one-year United States treasury obligations from time to time in effect; less the aggregate amount of any cash dividends paid, and the market value of any dividends paid other than in cash, per share of common shares since the earliest date, up to the amount of the interest; and  (ii) The market value per share of common shares on the announcement date with respect to a significant business transaction or on the date of the acquiring person's share acquisition time, whichever is higher; plus interest compounded annually from such a date through the consummation date at the rate for one-year United States treasury obligations from time to time in effect; less the aggregate amount of any cash dividends paid, and the market value of any dividends paid other than in cash, per share of common shares since the date, up to the amount of the interest.  (b) The aggregate amount of the cash and the market value as of the consummation date of consideration other than cash to be received per share by holders of outstanding shares of any class or series of shares, other than common shares, of the target corporation is at least equal to the highest of the following, whether or not the acquiring person has previously acquired any shares of such a class or series of shares:  (i) The highest per share price paid by an acquiring person at a time when the person was the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of five percent or more of the outstanding voting shares of a resident domestic corporation, for any shares of the same class or series of shares acquired by it: (A) Within the five-year period immediately prior to the announcement date with respect to a significant business transaction; or (B) within the five-year period immediately prior to, or in, the transaction in which the acquiring person became an acquiring person, whichever is higher; plus, in either case, interest compounded annually from the earliest date on which the highest per share acquisition price was paid through the consummation date at the rate for one-year United States treasury obligations from time to time in effect; less the aggregate amount of any cash dividends paid, and the market value of any dividends paid other than in cash, per share of the same class or series of shares since the earliest date, up to the amount of the interest;  (ii) The highest preferential amount per share to which the holders of shares of the same class or series of shares are entitled in the event of any voluntary liquidation, dissolution, or winding up of the target corporation, plus the aggregate amount of any dividends declared or due as to which the holders are entitled prior to payment of dividends on some other class or series of shares, unless the aggregate amount of the dividends is included in the preferential amount; and  (iii) The market value per share of the same class or series of shares on the announcement date with respect to a significant business transaction or on the date of the acquiring person's share acquisition time, whichever is higher; plus interest compounded annually from such a date through the consummation date at the rate for one-year United States treasury obligations from time to time in effect; less the aggregate amount of any cash dividends paid and the market value of any dividends paid other than in cash, per share of the same class or series of shares since the date, up to the amount of the interest.  (c) The consideration to be received by holders of a particular class or series of outstanding shares, including common shares, of the target corporation in a significant business transaction is in cash or in the same form as the acquiring person has used to acquire the largest number of shares of the same class or series of shares previously acquired by the person, and the consideration shall be distributed promptly.  (d) The significant business transaction is approved at an annual meeting of shareholders, or special meeting of shareholders called for such a purpose, no earlier than five years after the acquiring person's share acquisition time, by a majority of the votes entitled to be counted within each voting group entitled to vote separately on the transaction. The votes of all outstanding shares entitled to vote under this title or the articles of incorporation shall be entitled to be counted under this subsection except that the votes of shares as to which an acquiring person has beneficial ownership or voting control may not be counted to determine whether shareholders have approved a transaction for purposes of this subsection. The votes of shares as to which an acquiring person has beneficial ownership or voting control shall, however, be counted in determining whether a transaction is approved under other sections of this title and for purposes of determining a quorum.  (3) Subsection (2) of this section does not apply to a target corporation that on June 6, 1996, had a provision in its articles of incorporation, adopted under *RCW 23B.17.020(3)(d), expressly electing not to be covered under *RCW 23B.17.020, which is repealed by section 6, chapter 155, Laws of 1996.  (4) A significant business transaction that is made in violation of subsection (1) or (2) of this section and that is not exempt under RCW 23B.19.030 is void.[1997 c 19 § 3; 1996 c 155 § 3; 1989 c 165 § 200.]Notes:*Reviser's note: RCW 23B.17.020 was repealed by 1996 c 155 § 6. RCW 23B.19.050Provisions of chapter additional to other requirements.The requirements imposed by this chapter are to be in addition to, and not in lieu of, requirements imposed on a transaction by any provision in the articles of incorporation or the bylaws of the target corporation, or otherwise.[1989 c 165 § 201.]

USA Statutes : washington