News Corporation Splitting Into Two Companies
Rupert Murdoch has confirmed that News Corporation, a $54 billion media company, will be splitting into two different entities. The existing company will retain the news-related assets of the company, while the new company will focus on the entertainment-related assets of the company including FX and Fox News (yes, it seems that News Corporation execs categorize Fox News as primarily entertainment, and not news). The split will be completed in the next year. News Corporation shareholders are expected to receive one share of the new corporation for each share they have of the current one. News Corporation elected to split the company’s holdings because they, “determined that creating this new structure would simplify operations and greater align strategic priorities.” If you’re interested on legal issues to consider when spinning off a company, check out our post on this subject.
Shareholder Activism & Succession Planning
Carl Icahn in the Headlines Again; Seeks Disclosure of Forest Lab’s Succession Plans
The corporate raider and shareholder activist Carl Icahn is seeking disclosure of Forest Lab’s succession plans. For the last thirty five years the pharmaceutical company has been managed by Howard Solomon, now 84. Icahn is concerned that the company’s plan is to hand over the reigns to Solomon’s son, who is too inexperienced for Icahn’s liking. The company responded, saying “We regret that Mr. Icahn has resorted once again to his tired playbook designed for maximum distortion, distraction and litigation rather than engaging constructively with the Company.” If you’re looking to create a business succession plan for your company, check out our flat rate business succession planning services.
Four New USPTO Satellite Offices to Open
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has announced that it will be opening four new satellite offices in early 2013. The USPTO has announced that it will open satellite offices in Dallas, Denver, San Jose, and Detroit (the Detroit location had previously been announced and is expected to open later this month). The offices are expected to speed up the patent application process, and provide more convenient locations for examiner interviews and appeals hearings.
Class Actions & Antitrust Law
Supreme Court Adds Key Business Cases to Fall Docket
In the wake of the health care ruling, it didn’t get much fanfare, but the nation’s highest court has added a few key business cases to its fall docket. Headlining the cases added to the fall docket, is a class action antitrust case brought against Comcast by residents of the Philadelphia market. The case could have important ramifications not only for antitrust law, but also for standards for all class actions. In 2010-2011 the Supreme Court increased the difficulty of bringing a class action by making the class requirements more restrictive in cases brought against AT&T and Walmart. The Supreme Court is also slated to hear a second antitrust case, and a timber industry case.
A Life Worth Living: Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld
I had never heard of Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld before I saw a soccer writer tweet that his obit was a “must read.” Somewhere movie execs are fighting it out over the rights to tell this man’s life story after stumbling across his obit this weekend. Read it here. Here’s the obit’s subheading:
Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld, who has died aged 88, escaped from Occupied France to join the Special Operations Executive (SOE); parachuted back on sabotage missions, he twice faced execution, only to escape on both occasions, once dressed as a Nazi guard.