The definition of minority approval and subsections 4.2(2) and 5.3(2) of the Instrument provide that minority approval, if required, must be obtained at a meeting of holders of affected securities. The issuer may be able to demonstrate that holders of a majority of the securities that would be eligible to be voted at a meeting would vote in favour of the transaction under consideration. In this circumstance, the regulator or the securities regulatory authority will consider granting an exemption under section 9.1 of the Instrument from the requirement to hold a meeting, conditional on security holders being provided with disclosure similar to that which would be available to them if a meeting were held.
Section 8.2 of the Instrument allows the votes attached to securities acquired under a bid to be included as votes in favour of a subsequent business combination in determining whether minority approval has been obtained if certain conditions are met. One of the conditions is that the security holder that tendered the securities in the bid not receive an advantage in connection with the bid, such as a collateral benefit, that was not available to other security holders. There may be circumstances where this condition could cause difficulty for an offeror who wishes to acquire all of an issuer through a business combination following a bid that was unsolicited by the issuer. For example, in order to establish that a benefit received by a tendering security holder is not a collateral benefit under the Instrument, the offeror may need the cooperation of an independent committee of the offeree issuer during the bid. This cooperation may not be forthcoming if the bid is unfriendly. In this type of circumstance, the fact that the bid was unsolicited would normally be a factor the regulator or the securities regulatory authority would take into account in considering whether exemptive relief should be granted to allow the securities to be voted.
As the purpose of the Instrument is to ensure fair treatment of minority security holders, abusive minority tactics in a situation involving a minimal minority position may cause the regulator or the securities regulatory authority to grant an exemption from the requirement to obtain minority approval. Where an issuer has more than one class of equity securities, exemptive relief may also be appropriate if the Instrument’s requirement of separate minority approval for each class could result in unfairness to security holders who are not interested parties, or if the policy objectives of the Instrument would be accomplished by the exclusion of an interested party’s votes in one or more, but not all, of the separate class votes.