Spruchverfahren-direkt.de ensures transparency in litigation worth billions

Aktionaersforum AG founds new online discussion and information platform for judicial review proceedings

FRANKFURT, Germany--()--A new internet forum wants to shed light on judicial review proceedings, thus strengthening the position of shareholders. Spruchverfahren-direkt offers a modern interactive platform for shareholders, companies and their advisors.

“Our mission is to closely follow every judicial review proceeding pending in Germany.”

Largely unnoticed by the larger public, veritable battles frequently take place in German courts between the buyers of listed companies on the one hand and shareholder associations and investors on the other hand as the result of corporate takeovers. These almost always involve amounts in the millions and are often even in the billions. Such judicial review proceedings are complex court cases to examine compensation claims, as stipulated in the German Stock Corporation Act for the protection of shareholders in takeover situations. Around three-fourths of these judicial review proceedings conclude with increases in compensation payments by the courts. In some cases they are also resolved by a settlement, where the parties agree on an additional payment. One problem remains, however: there is a lack of transparency. During the litigation, which often takes several years, there has been no satisfactory flow of information for investors. In addition, the decision-making practice also differs considerably from court to court.

It often takes many years before the courts award additional compensation payments (plus interest) to the plaintiffs. This is a windfall for shareholders who have often already forgotten that they were once shareholders of a company that disappeared from the stock exchange or merged into a major corporation a long time ago.

It is often not worthwhile for smaller shareholders to take on the ordeal of such litigation. In such cases, the legislation provides for representation by a joint representative who fights in the judicial review proceedings on the side of shareholder associations such as DSW and SdK as well as large institutional investors such as family offices and hedge funds for appropriate compensation.

However, the judicial review proceedings are not only relevant for the shareholders of the acquired company but also for investors in the buying company. As a result of these proceedings, the buyer could have to make payments in the billions, and in most cases no provisions have been made for this.

More transparency and a contribution toward reducing the duration of proceedings

Under these circumstances, the new platform www.spruchverfahren-direkt.de wants to encourage transparency and offer the parties to the proceedings as well as interested investors a means of exchanging information and an opportunity for discussion. CEO Karsten Stumm, who coordinates the forum together with an internal team and with the support of external experts and is responsible for the content, says: "Our mission is to closely follow every judicial review proceeding pending in Germany." According to one of the goals of Spruchverfahren-direkt, in the medium term the duration of the proceedings may even fall as a result because the findings gained in individual cases could be utilized in other proceedings. Moreover, the openness of the forum could reduce the impact of factors leading to significant delays.

During the first half of 2015, investors, consultants and courts are to receive access to an extensive database via www.spruchverfahren-direkt.de that contains the detailed history of past judicial review proceedings. A fee will be charged in part for this access. However, this access will be free of charge for judges who are concerned with this matter. In addition, large international investors are to be provided with information and invited to become involved in the forum through regularly published electronic information services in English.

About Spruchverfahren-direkt.de

Spruchverfahren-direkt.de is an internet forum founded at the end of 2014 that addresses both institutional and private shareholders, companies and their advisors as an interactive platform for discussion and information exclusively dedicated to the topic of judicial review proceedings. www.spruchverfahren-direkt.de is supported by aktionaersforum Services GmbH, a subsidiary of the internet start-up aktionaersforum AG, which deals with the establishment of paid content forums and specialized newsletters.

Contacts

aktionaersforum service GmbH
Karsten Stumm
Tel:069 247 476 8-60
Email:karsten.stumm@aktionaersforum.de