Is it ever OK to sell a major company asset to one of the company's directors? One must be careful, very careful. The safe answer is probably 'no', because the proximity of conflict is ever-present and the question of whether the transaction satisfies the director's duties provisions (to act in the best interests of the company) sets a very high bar to clear.
However, a recent case in New Zealand suggests that such transactions can be completed, and well, if certain provisions are satisfied. In this case, Dorchester Property Trust (DPT) wanted to sell one of its properties the Goldridge Resort Queenstown (GRQ). A DPT director wanted to acquire the asset. The DPT board acted cautiously. The director took no part in determining whether the asset should be offered for sale, and was excluded from the process of assessing acquisition offers. As such the board's handling of the matter satisfied the related party transaction requirements.
While some investors were a bit scratchy over some some matters (see the article), few if any concerns over the GRQ transaction have been raised. This suggests that the board handled the matter well, in both a legal and a moral–ethical sense. Well done to the DPT board.
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Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and boardcraft; our place in the world; and other topics that catch my attention.