Best Practices to Avoid Liability for Underfunding, Plan Defects and Unintended Benefits
This CLE webinar will provide perspectives and experiences to help counsel navigate through employee benefits issues in mergers and acquisitions that are often overlooked and can materially affect the value of a transaction. To avoid unexpected liability, benefits counsel must be familiar with the complicated rules that apply to the transition of benefits and be proficient in implementing them.
Because of their potential significant cost, the treatment of employee benefits is typically one of the most critical components of any merger and acquisition activity. Counsel must identify potential liabilities when transitioning employee benefit plans, avoid unanticipated liabilities, and grasp how benefit plan liabilities will impact the transaction.
The panel will cover, among other noteworthy topics, the treatment of single-employer defined-benefit pension plans. Such plans often carry significant unfunded termination liabilities that may impact the acquirer’s balance sheet and produce joint and several liabilities for the controlled group of the plan sponsor.
Employers will also face liabilities due to subsidized health and life insurance benefits for retirees. Disputes over retiree welfare benefits have triggered significant litigation over the past two decades. An improperly amended or terminated plan can expose employers to substantial liability.
Listen as our experienced panel provides best practices for avoiding significant M&A liabilities regarding benefits subject to ERISA. Participants will take away information and perspectives crucial to ensure correct treatment of these high-risk matters.
- Pension plan obligations
- Alternatives to include assumption, plan mergers, plan termination and plan freezes
- Underfunded pension plan liability to include a general discussion of joint and several / controlled group liability
- Withdrawal liability
- Retiree welfare benefit obligations
- Funding considerations to include unfunded / VEBA, exclusive benefit if funded
- Ability to terminate retiree welfare benefits
- Defined contribution plans
- Plan assumption versus rollover
- Participant loans
- SERPs and other nonqualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans
- International plans
The panel will review these and other challenging issues:
- What are the potential liabilities when transitioning employee benefit plans?
- What are best practices to avoid unanticipated liabilities?
- How will the benefit plan liabilities impact the transaction?
- Michael R. Bergmann, Counsel, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
- Ian L. Levin, Partner, Schulte Roth & Zabel
- Alessandra K. Murata, Partner, Goodwin Procter
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