No Sale

General Capital Group, a German investment firm, claimed that it entered into an oral deal with AT&T in January 2009 to broker the purchase of T-Mobile for a 2% commission on what was to be a $39 billion deal. In May 2009, GC held another meeting with AT&T, during which AT&T indicated it was not interested in pursuing the transaction at that time. After two years with no communication between GC and AT&T, the latter announced that it intended to acquire T-Mobile. GC approached AT&T, which denied that it had any deal with GC.

GC filed suit for breach of contract.  During the pendency of the suit, AT&T announced that it was not longer going to pursue the T-Mobile deal due to opposition by the Justice Department.  With no sale on which to base its claim for a massive commission, GC changed its theory to to fraud, seeking recovery of $30 million for the “reasonable value of its services.” The trial court granted summary judgment, and the court of appeals affirmed. GC could not recover for fraud because even if AT&T had agreed to a 2% success fee, GC could not show harm because there hadn’t ever been any success for such a fee to be based on. Likewise, GC could not recover for quantum meruit because it has no expectation of being paid unless there was a successful acquisition.

General Capital Group v. AT&T, No. 05-12-00446-CV

A Bitter Pill for MetroPCS Shareholders

In this shareholder challenge to the pending merger of MetroPCS, Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile, the plaintiffs sought a TRO enjoining the defendants’ use of several “deal protection devices,” including “Poison-Pill Lock-Up” and “Force-the-Vote” provisions.  The trial court granted the TRO, agreeing with the plaintiffs that these deal protection devices irreparably harmed shareholders by, among other things, warding off other potential acquirers.  Defendants petitioned for a writ of mandamus to vacate the TRO because the trial court failed to address their motion to dismiss or stay the action based on the forum-selection clause in MetroPCS’s bylaws, which mandated Delaware as the proper forum.  The Court of Appeals found that because the motion to dismiss or stay was filed before the request for a TRO, the trial court abused its discretion by granting injunctive relief without first ruling on the forum-selection clause issue.  Citing the Texas Supreme Court’s holding in In re AutoNation, the Court of Appeals found that “subjecting  a party to trial in a forum other than that agreed upon and requiring an appeal to vindicate the rights granted in a forum-selection clause” warrants mandamus.  Accordingly, the Court vacated the TRO and stayed the case until the motion to dismiss could be decided.

In re MetroPCS, No. 05-12-01577-CV