Table of Contents

Dissenters’ Rights


Dissenters’ rights, often referred to as appraisal rights, is a legal provision that protects shareholders from actions taken by the company that could possibly affect their investment or shares adversely. This law allows shareholders to demand payment from the company, typically equivalent to the fair market value of their shares, when they disagree with certain corporate actions like mergers or consolidations. They are particularly exercised if the shareholders believe that the proposed changes may decrease the value of their shares.


The phonetics of the keyword “Dissenters’ Rights” is:/dɪˈsɛntərz raɪts/

Key Takeaways

  1. Right to Object: Dissenters’ rights allow shareholders to object to certain corporate actions. These rights are typically invoked in scenarios such as mergers, acquisitions, or other significant changes to a company’s operational structure. Shareholders exercising their dissenters’ rights typically disagree with the proposed action and believe it may negatively impact their investment in the company.
  2. Right to Fair Value: If a shareholder chooses to exercise their dissenters’ rights, they have the right to demand that the corporation pays them the fair value for their shares. This ensures that dissenting shareholders aren’t forced to sell their shares at a discounted rate or suffer losses due to corporate decisions they had no part in making.
  3. Statutory Procedure: As a law-governed right, exercising dissenters’ rights involves a specific statutory procedure that shareholders must follow. This typically includes formally objecting to the proposed corporate action, demanding payment for their shares, and potentially getting a court valuation of their investment. Shareholders must comply with all required timelines and procedures to successfully exercise their dissenters’ rights.


Dissenters’ Rights are a crucial aspect of business and finance, particularly in corporate law. These rights protect the interests of minority shareholders when a significant change is proposed in a corporation, such as a merger, acquisition, or asset sale that they disagree with. They allow dissenting shareholders to demand the company to buy their shares at a fair market value, providing an exit strategy while ensuring their financial interests are safeguarded. Consequently, these rights can impact corporate decisions, promote transparency, and encourage the fair treatment of all shareholders, regardless of their stake, making them an essential element of shareholder protection in corporate governance.


Dissenters’ rights, often referred to as minority protection rights, serve an essential purpose within the intricate framework of corporate governance in the business and financial world. These rights are specifically designed to safeguard the interests of minority shareholders in a corporation, especially during situations like corporate restructuring, merger, or sale where major decisions are made. As majority shareholders typically hold considerable influence on such substantial decisions, dissenters’ rights ensure a fair opportunity for minority shareholders to voice their disagreement and protect their investments.

For instance, if a corporation opts to undertake a course of action that could potentially jeopardize the financial interests of a minority shareholder, that individual could invoke their dissenters’ rights. This could mean disagreeing with the sale price of a merger or acquisition, or opposing a significant change in the business direction. In many cases, invoking dissenters’ rights can lead to the corporation paying fair value for the shareholder’s stake. In essence, dissenters’ rights provide an avenue for minority shareholders to find recourse against decisions they find detrimental to their investment.


Example 1: Dell Inc’s acquisition case (2013) – When Dell decided to go private in 2013, several shareholders disagreed with the price of $13.65 per share, arguing that it significantly undervalued the company. They exercised their dissenters’ rights and sought ‘appraisal rights,’ where the court determines the fair value of the shares.

Example 2: J.P. Morgan’s buyout of Bear Stearns during the 2008 financial crisis – The Federal Reserve quickly arranged a buyout as Bear Stearns was nearing collapse. However, some Bear Stearns shareholders believed the price per share was too low and used their dissenters’ rights in an attempt to stop the sale or increase the sale price.

Example 3: Dole Food Company Take-Private Transaction (2013) – Dole’s CEO, David Murdock, took the company private for $13.50/share. A few shareholders, however, deemed the price was under the fair value and exercised their dissenters’ rights. Later, a Delaware court ruled in favor of the dissenting shareholders, stating that the fair price per share was $2.74 more than initially offered. This decision significantly impacted future deals, causing companies to consider these potential costs when structuring their mergers or acquisitions.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What are Dissenters’ Rights?

Dissenters’ Rights are statutory rights that give shareholders the right to object and dissent to certain corporate actions, such as mergers, consolidations or amendments to the corporation’s charter, that may negatively affect the shareholder’s investments or interests.

Are dissenters’ rights applicable in all situations?

No, dissenters’ rights are typically applicable only in certain significant situations like a merger, a sale of assets, or amendments to a corporation’s charter.

Who is entitled to dissenters’ rights?

Shareholders, specifically minority shareholders who do not agree with a significant structural change initiated by the majority shareholders, are generally entitled to dissenters’ rights.

How does a shareholder exercise dissenters’ rights?

In general, to exercise dissenters’ rights, the shareholder must officially notify the corporation in writing of their intent to dissent prior to the vote on the corporate action.

What does it mean to exercise dissenters’ rights?

To exercise dissenters’ rights means to reject a proposed corporate action. The shareholder invoking these rights demands payment for their shares if the action goes ahead.

What happens after dissenters’ rights are invoked?

After dissenters’ rights are invoked, the corporation and the dissenting shareholder usually negotiate a fair price for the shares. If they cannot agree on a price, the courts may decide.

Are dissenters’ rights recognized in all jurisdictions?

Not all jurisdictions recognize dissenters’ rights, and the rights can differ significantly between jurisdictions. It’s important to check local laws or consult with a legal expert to understand these rights.

Can dissenters’ rights be waived?

Yes, depending on jurisdiction and the terms of the shareholders’ agreement, dissenters’ rights can sometimes be waived by the shareholders. Always consult with a professional for advice suited to your individual situation.

Related Finance Terms

  • Shareholders’ Meeting
  • Corporate Action
  • Minority Stockholder
  • Appraisal Right
  • Cash Buyout

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More