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Lexpert: Appraisal rights, a live issue in the U.S., could come to Canada

The Ontario Securities Commission has yet to publicly respond to a shareholder request to halt Cenovus Energy Inc.'s blockbuster offer for ConocoPhillips Canada's assets and force it to be put to a shareholder vote following a major shareholder's objection to the deal. And the OSC may simply allow the deal to close without intervening.

Regardless, so-called appraisal rights, in which shareholders can demand to be cashed out at fair value because they are unhappy with a transaction, is a live issue in the United States and could be coming to Canada, experts suggest.

Shareholder activists may potentially look for voluntary non-binding commitments from management about seeking shareholder approval in circumstances where it wouldn't otherwise be mandated; but a vote potentially slows down a transaction, and increases chances it will fail.

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Lexpert contributor Sandra Rubin reports at www.lexpert.ca

Follow Lexpert on Twitter: @Lexpert

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