Subject to certain exceptions, Dutch law does not recognize the concept of appraisal or dissenters’ rights.
The concept of appraisal rights does not exist under Dutch law. However, pursuant to Dutch law, a shareholder who for its own account (or together with its group companies) provides at least 95% of the company’s issued capital may institute proceedings against the company’s other shareholders jointly for the transfer of their shares to that shareholder. The proceedings are held before the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (Ondernemingskamer), which may grant the claim for squeeze-out in relation to all minority shareholders and will determine the price to be paid for the shares, if necessary after appointment of one or three experts who will offer an opinion to the Enterprise Chamber on the value of the shares to be transferred.
Furthermore, Dutch law provides that, to the extent the acquiring company in a cross-border merger is organized under the laws of another EU member state, a shareholder of a Dutch disappearing company who has voted against the cross-border merger may file a claim with the Dutch company for compensation. The compensation is to be determined by one or more independent experts.
The Delaware General Corporation Law provides for shareholder appraisal rights, or the right to demand payment in cash of the judicially determined fair value of the shareholder’s shares, in connection with certain mergers and consolidations.
In the event a third party is liable to a Dutch company, only the company itself can bring a civil action against that party.
The individual shareholders do not have the right to bring an action on behalf of the company. Only in the event that the cause for the liability of a third party to the company also constitutes a tortious act directly against a shareholder does that shareholder have an individual right of action against such third party in its own name. The Dutch Civil Code provides for the possibility to initiate such actions collectively. A foundation or an association whose objective is to protect the rights of a group of persons having similar interests can institute a collective action. The collective action itself cannot result in an order for payment of monetary damages but may only result in a declaratory judgment (verklaring voor recht). In order to obtain compensation for damages, the foundation or association and the defendant may reach-often on the basis of such declaratory judgment-a settlement. A Dutch court may declare the settlement agreement binding upon all the injured parties with an opt-out choice for an individual injured party. An individual injured party may also itself institute a civil claim for damages.
Under the Delaware General Corporation Law, a shareholder may bring a derivative action on behalf of the corporation to enforce the rights of the corporation. An individual also may commence a class action suit on behalf of himself and other similarly situated shareholders where the requirements for maintaining a class action under Delaware law have been met. A person may institute and maintain such a suit only if that person was a shareholder at the time of the transaction which is the subject of the suit. In addition, under Delaware case law, the plaintiff normally must be a shareholder at the time of the transaction that is the subject of the suit and throughout the duration of the derivative suit. Delaware law also requires that the derivative plaintiff make a demand on the directors of the corporation to assert the corporate claim before the suit may be prosecuted by the derivative plaintiff in court, unless such a demand would be futile.