(1) A shareholder of a domestic corporation is entitled to appraisal rights, and to obtain payment of the fair value of that shareholder’s shares, in the event of any of the following corporate actions:
(a) Consummation of a conversion of such corporation pursuant to s. 607.1112 if shareholder approval is required for the conversion and the shareholder is entitled to vote on the conversion under ss. 607.1103 and 607.1112(6), or the consummation of a merger to which such corporation is a party if shareholder approval is required for the merger under s. 607.1103 and the shareholder is entitled to vote on the merger or if such corporation is a subsidiary and the merger is governed by s. 607.1104;
(b) Consummation of a share exchange to which the corporation is a party as the corporation whose shares will be acquired if the shareholder is entitled to vote on the exchange, except that appraisal rights shall not be available to any shareholder of the corporation with respect to any class or series of shares of the corporation that is not exchanged;
(c) Consummation of a disposition of assets pursuant to s. 607.1202 if the shareholder is entitled to vote on the disposition, including a sale in dissolution but not including a sale pursuant to court order or a sale for cash pursuant to a plan by which all or substantially all of the net proceeds of the sale will be distributed to the shareholders within 1 year after the date of sale;
(d) An amendment of the articles of incorporation with respect to the class or series of shares which reduces the number of shares of a class or series owned by the shareholder to a fraction of a share if the corporation has the obligation or right to repurchase the fractional share so created;
(e) Any other amendment to the articles of incorporation, merger, share exchange, or disposition of assets to the extent provided by the articles of incorporation, bylaws, or a resolution of the board of directors, except that no bylaw or board resolution providing for appraisal rights may be amended or otherwise altered except by shareholder approval; or
(f) With regard to a class of shares prescribed in the articles of incorporation prior to October 1, 2003, including any shares within that class subsequently authorized by amendment, any amendment of the articles of incorporation if the shareholder is entitled to vote on the amendment and if such amendment would adversely affect such shareholder by:
1. Altering or abolishing any preemptive rights attached to any of his or her shares;
2. Altering or abolishing the voting rights pertaining to any of his or her shares, except as such rights may be affected by the voting rights of new shares then being authorized of any existing or new class or series of shares;
3. Effecting an exchange, cancellation, or reclassification of any of his or her shares, when such exchange, cancellation, or reclassification would alter or abolish the shareholder’s voting rights or alter his or her percentage of equity in the corporation, or effecting a reduction or cancellation of accrued dividends or other arrearages in respect to such shares;
4. Reducing the stated redemption price of any of the shareholder’s redeemable shares, altering or abolishing any provision relating to any sinking fund for the redemption or purchase of any of his or her shares, or making any of his or her shares subject to redemption when they are not otherwise redeemable;
5. Making noncumulative, in whole or in part, dividends of any of the shareholder’s preferred shares which had theretofore been cumulative;
6. Reducing the stated dividend preference of any of the shareholder’s preferred shares; or
7. Reducing any stated preferential amount payable on any of the shareholder’s preferred shares upon voluntary or involuntary liquidation.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the availability of appraisal rights under paragraphs (1)(a), (b), (c), and (d) shall be limited in accordance with the following provisions:
(a) Appraisal rights shall not be available for the holders of shares of any class or series of shares which is:
1. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange or the American Stock Exchange or designated as a national market system security on an interdealer quotation system by the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc.; or
2. Not so listed or designated, but has at least 2,000 shareholders and the outstanding shares of such class or series have a market value of at least $10 million, exclusive of the value of such shares held by its subsidiaries, senior executives, directors, and beneficial shareholders owning more than 10 percent of such shares.
(b) The applicability of paragraph (a) shall be determined as of:
1. The record date fixed to determine the shareholders entitled to receive notice of, and to vote at, the meeting of shareholders to act upon the corporate action requiring appraisal rights; or
2. If there will be no meeting of shareholders, the close of business on the day on which the board of directors adopts the resolution recommending such corporate action.
(c) Paragraph (a) shall not be applicable and appraisal rights shall be available pursuant to subsection (1) for the holders of any class or series of shares who are required by the terms of the corporate action requiring appraisal rights to accept for such shares anything other than cash or shares of any class or any series of shares of any corporation, or any other proprietary interest of any other entity, that satisfies the standards set forth in paragraph (a) at the time the corporate action becomes effective.
(d) Paragraph (a) shall not be applicable and appraisal rights shall be available pursuant to subsection (1) for the holders of any class or series of shares if:
1. Any of the shares or assets of the corporation are being acquired or converted, whether by merger, share exchange, or otherwise, pursuant to the corporate action by a person, or by an affiliate of a person, who:
a. Is, or at any time in the 1-year period immediately preceding approval by the board of directors of the corporate action requiring appraisal rights was, the beneficial owner of 20 percent or more of the voting power of the corporation, excluding any shares acquired pursuant to an offer for all shares having voting power if such offer was made within 1 year prior to the corporate action requiring appraisal rights for consideration of the same kind and of a value equal to or less than that paid in connection with the corporate action; or
b. Directly or indirectly has, or at any time in the 1-year period immediately preceding approval by the board of directors of the corporation of the corporate action requiring appraisal rights had, the power, contractually or otherwise, to cause the appointment or election of 25 percent or more of the directors to the board of directors of the corporation; or
2. Any of the shares or assets of the corporation are being acquired or converted, whether by merger, share exchange, or otherwise, pursuant to such corporate action by a person, or by an affiliate of a person, who is, or at any time in the 1-year period immediately preceding approval by the board of directors of the corporate action requiring appraisal rights was, a senior executive or director of the corporation or a senior executive of any affiliate thereof, and that senior executive or director will receive, as a result of the corporate action, a financial benefit not generally available to other shareholders as such, other than:
a. Employment, consulting, retirement, or similar benefits established separately and not as part of or in contemplation of the corporate action;
b. Employment, consulting, retirement, or similar benefits established in contemplation of, or as part of, the corporate action that are not more favorable than those existing before the corporate action or, if more favorable, that have been approved on behalf of the corporation in the same manner as is provided in s. 607.0832; or
c. In the case of a director of the corporation who will, in the corporate action, become a director of the acquiring entity in the corporate action or one of its affiliates, rights and benefits as a director that are provided on the same basis as those afforded by the acquiring entity generally to other directors of such entity or such affiliate.
(e) For the purposes of paragraph (d) only, the term “beneficial owner” means any person who, directly or indirectly, through any contract, arrangement, or understanding, other than a revocable proxy, has or shares the power to vote, or to direct the voting of, shares, provided that a member of a national securities exchange shall not be deemed to be a beneficial owner of securities held directly or indirectly by it on behalf of another person solely because such member is the recordholder of such securities if the member is precluded by the rules of such exchange from voting without instruction on contested matters or matters that may affect substantially the rights or privileges of the holders of the securities to be voted. When two or more persons agree to act together for the purpose of voting their shares of the corporation, each member of the group formed thereby shall be deemed to have acquired beneficial ownership, as of the date of such agreement, of all voting shares of the corporation beneficially owned by any member of the group.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the articles of incorporation as originally filed or any amendment thereto may limit or eliminate appraisal rights for any class or series of preferred shares, but any such limitation or elimination contained in an amendment to the articles of incorporation that limits or eliminates appraisal rights for any of such shares that are outstanding immediately prior to the effective date of such amendment or that the corporation is or may be required to issue or sell thereafter pursuant to any conversion, exchange, or other right existing immediately before the effective date of such amendment shall not apply to any corporate action that becomes effective within 1 year of that date if such action would otherwise afford appraisal rights.
(4) A shareholder entitled to appraisal rights under this chapter may not challenge a completed corporate action for which appraisal rights are available unless such corporate action:
(a) Was not effectuated in accordance with the applicable provisions of this section or the corporation’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, or board of directors’ resolution authorizing the corporate action; or
(b) Was procured as a result of fraud or material misrepresentation.
History.—s. 119, ch. 89-154; s. 5, ch. 94-327; s. 31, ch. 97-102; s. 22, ch. 2003-283; s. 1, ch. 2004-378; s. 3, ch. 2005-267.