To summarize, the rights to act by written consent and to call a special meeting are very similar in what they allow shareholders to do. This fact may seem
to support the commonly held view that shareholders that already have the right
to call a special meeting do not also need the right to act by written consent. But
looking only at what the two rights allow shareholders to do—and not at what
restrictions boards can place on those rights—is a mistake.
Contrary to popular opinion, the right to act by written consent is more empowering to shareholders than the right to call a special meeting, because boards
cannot unilaterally impose the same type of restrictions on the latter as they can
on the former. A review of the corporate governance documents of large Delaware companies demonstrates the significance of this distinction. Boards have,
with little oversight or fanfare, significantly restricted shareholders’ exercise of
their special-meeting right. However, companies have generally not imposed
similar restrictions on shareholders’ exercise of their written-consent right.
179. See supra notes 86-91 and accompanying text.
180. Lipton et al., supra note 63.
special meetings and consent solicitations
Thus, even though the two rights can be used to accomplish similar actions, the
written-consent right is used far more frequently than the special-meeting right
to conduct fights for board control.