Cat and Mouse on NOBO List

Re:   Demand to Inspect Books and Records of Texas Pacific Land Trust

Another tone deaf move.

It’s common practice to share NOBO lists.

But noooooo….

Guess what?  Investors see right through cute legal memos like this.

While you failed to provide us with the legal authority we requested, your latest letter claimed that “there is no legal impediment in providing to Mr. Oliver a NOBO list.” Again, we respectfully request your legal analysis underlying the foregoing statement. Alternatively, we would be comfortable providing the NOBO list and related materials to you if, in addition to a customary confidentiality agreement, you provide the Trust and its shareholders with an indemnity against claims that the sharing of these materials with you was not legally permissible. If this is acceptable to you, we can work together with your counsel to prepare the documentation.

In closing, we note that you have excellent outside legal counsel, who should be fully able to provide the legal authority – if there is any – we have requested. Rather than do so, you have instead spent a full week preparing a press release regarding this issue, which you filed as “proxy solicitation materials” with the SEC. This suggests that you are more interested in manufacturing a controversy than working with us in good faith to identify a legally permissible manner to share the requested materials with you.

Please advise if you are willing to work constructively with us on this. We hope you can appreciate our primary goal of protecting the privacy and interests of all TPL shareholders.

 

 

List Sharing

I’m told that communication from BLUE to sub-unit holders has occured.  Any calls from WHITE yet?

The last we heard about the sharing of the non-objecting beneficial owners list was in this letter from Trust counsel.

The Trust will provide to you a list containing the names of each holder of Certificates and the amount of Certificates registered in the name of each such holder as of the close of business on March 28, 2019 as required by Section Fourth of the Declaration of Trust, solely for the purposes specified in the Letter. This list is enclosed herein as Exhibit A.

As for the remaining materials you requested, the Trust is willing to provide such materials, provided that the Trust has the legal authority to share such information. As you will understand, the Trustees cannot share the private contact information of thousands of individual holders without their consent unless there is a legal authority to do so. In your Letter, you reference “common law” as the sole basis for your request. We assume your legal counsel has conducted extensive legal research in support of your claim and, in order to expedite your request and reduce costs for the Trust, please provide us with legal authority, such as case law or treatises, applicable to the Trust. We look forward to hearing from you on this.

Alternatively, we would like to point you to Rule 14a-7 under Regulation 14A promulgated under Section 14 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which requires the Trust to mail any and all materials of yours upon your request. Please let us know should you be interested in submitting a demand under Rule 14a-7. We would promptly comply with any such demand.

So it appears as if WHITE got holder names but not contact info.

I’m no lawyer but it looks like courts have decided in the past that ALL shareholder NOBO information is elegible to be shared.  Again, I have no idea about the exact set of laws (NY? Texas?) to which the Trust is subject.  That said, there is precident for Deleware C Corps being compelled to share.  It appears to be common practice to request this information in proxy fights.

The Nevada Supreme Court has not ruled on this topic. Several cases from Delaware, however, are instructive. In Shamrock Assoc’s. v. Texas American Energy Corp., 517 A.2d 658 (Del.Ch.1986) the plaintiff had begun a proxy fight against the defendant’s incumbent management. In so doing, the plaintiff made a demand for the stock ledger, and also demanded access to the NOBO list which the corporation had acquired to contact its shareholders. The defendant refused to deliver the NOBO list, claiming among other things that Delaware law only required delivery of the stock ledger, and that any other material, such as a NOBO list, was merely ancillary, and need not be produced.

The Delaware court rejected this argument. In interpreting the relevant section of the Delaware Code, the court found it had repeatedly recognized that “the stock-list materials provided to a shareholder should include all of those forms of shareholder data readily available to the corporation.” Id., at 661. If the corporation were allowed to shield the names of the actual owners of the corporation from other shareholders, the court found, it would have an unfair advantage in the proxy solicitation battle. Id. (citing Hatleigh, supra, pg. 1146, at 354-55). By requiring the corporation to divulge all of the shareholder information in its possession, the court concluded that the goal of fairness in proxy solicitation would be effectuated. Therefore, the court ordered that the defendant allow the plaintiff access to any NOBO list which the corporation might have acquired in the course of proxy solicitation. In addition, the court impliedly held that the plaintiff would be allowed access to all other forms of ancillary shareholder information used by the corporation to contact its shareholders, such as Cede & Co. breakdowns and magnetic tapes. Id; see also Scott v. Multi-Amp Corp., 386 F. Supp. 44, 51 (D.N.J.1974); Hatleigh, supra, pg. 1146.

Based upon the preceding authority, it appears that Bryson is entitled to inspect all materials which Cenergy uses regularly to communicate with its shareholders. This would include the NOBO list, as well as any Cede & Co. breakdowns and computer records which Cenergy has in its possession. Cenergy argues, however, that the Court cannot read the Nevada statute as to allow this broader type of inspection rights, for the Nevada Supreme Court has given this statute a very narrow construction. In that the state’s highest court has narrowly construed the inspection *1148 rights, Cenergy argues that this Court must similarly construe them.