The Canal Street Blog

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iVLG News Roundup Week 44: Law Firm Merger, Starbucks Acquisition, BP Oil Spill Resolution

Mergers and Acquisitions

Starbucks Acquires Teavana for $620 Million Cash
On Thursday, the Seattle-based coffee giant announced its plan to acquire Atlanta-based tea company, Teavana Holdings Inc. This acquisition comes as part of Starbucks’ general strategy of moving into non-coffee areas, including juice and tea. The U.S. tea industry is a  $95 billion market.

The acquisition certainly doesn’t break the bank for Starbucks, as it is sitting on roughly $1.5 billion in cash.

Mega Law Firm Merger Announced
What do you get when you combine two of the larger law firms in the world? 3,800 lawyers and 55 offices around the world (perhaps a nightmare to some folks). Houston-based law firm Fulbright & Jaworski and British firm Norton Rose announced that the two firms will be combining powers.

This law firm merger comes as part of a recent trend of global corporate law mergers. The driving force? The firms’ clients. As multinational companies continue to grow larger and larger, they are favoring law firms with a broad international presence and capabilities.

Litigation and Settlements

Two Companies Pay $101,500 to Settle FTC Charges
PLS Financial Services Inc., a management services company for payday loan and check cashing stores, and the Payday Loan Store of Illinois Inc., and affiliated company, were charged with the failure to safeguard discarded, sensitive personal information. According to the consent order, the two companies will pay $101,500 to settle the dispute.

The companies allegedly discarded documents that contained “sensitive personal identifying information—including Social Security numbers, employment information, loan applications, bank account information, and credit reports—in unsecured dumpsters near several PLS Loan Stores or PLS Check Cashers locations,” according to the commission.

BP to Pay Record $4.5 Billion in Criminal, Securities Claims
The British oil giant BP has agreed to pay the U.S. government $4 billion over a period of five years for the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. For comparison and to highlight the magnitude of this settlement, Exxon settled its oil spill fiasco in 1989 for $1 billion  (which would be roughly $1.8 billion today). The largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Department of Justice was $1.2 billion against Pfizer in 2009.

Under the agreement, BP agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships officers.