Looking  back at TransPerfect


Good afternoon,

The Wilmington History Society will take a look at a case that some in the legal community would like to forget.

I’m referring to the sale earlier this year. of New York-based translation company TransPerfect, a case that by one estimate cost an eye-popping quarter of a billion dollars to settle.

The discussion is slated for the evening of Oct. 17 at the Chelsea Tavern restaurant on Market Street in downtown Wilmington.

The society holds monthly discussions on matters related to the city, a recent example being economic development.

The long-running case had many twists and turns that includedappearances by high-powered attorney Alan Dershowitz. The case in Chancery Court centered on a former couple who controlled New York City-based translation service giant TransPerfect. After years of working together after their breakup, Liz Elting and Phil Shawe had enough.

The sale of the company was stymied because the couple each controlled half of the company. (Shawe’s mother owned 1 percent, while Shawe had a 49 percent stake).

After many twists, turns and harsh words,Shawe was eventually chosen as the buyer, with Delaware courts rejecting Elting’s appeal.

Along the way were side shows that included a TransPerfect employee group that pushed for a three-year cooling off period in 50-50 sale disputes, while buying TV ads that ran down Delaware as a corporate domicile.

Shawe, who tangled with Chancery Court during the case, moved the state of incorporation of TransPerfect from Delaware to Nevada and took a parting shot at the corporate law system in Delaware.

Yesterday, TransPerfect reported sales to date rose $74 million over 2017 total revenues, an increase of 16.9 percent. This puts the company on track to top the $700 million mark in annual sales by the end of the year.

Click here to RSVP. The event is free.

Finally, my thoughts go out to those whose homes and businesses were devastated by Hurricane Michael. – Doug Rainey, publisher.

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