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August 19, 2009 3:44 PM

Seven Firms Sign Letter to SEC Opposing Shareholder Rights Proposal

Posted by Drew Combs

The Securities and Exchange Commission is on the receiving end of some concentrated, high-powered legal advice.

According to an article Wednesday in sibling publication New York Law Journal, seven law firms--including Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Sullivan & Cromwell,and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz--signed onto a single letter to the commission expressing their opinion on how to best implement a proposal to allow shareholders to nominate company directors.

The letter, also backed by Davis Polk & Wardwell, Latham & Watkins, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom,and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, is an unusual demonstration of unity for the firms, known for representing management and boards at corporations and financial institutions. (The law firms last signed on to a single letter in 2006 regarding proposed changes in the “best price” rule for tender offers.)

The current proposal would make it easier for shareholders to nominate and elect individual directors and corporate boards, a change the firms caution in their letter would be “one of the most significant rule changes in SEC history.”

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