The Canal Street Blog

Business-focused legal discussion

News Roundup 2012 Week 6: IPO’s, Shareholder Rights, Online Privacy Legislation, New Seattle Tech Incubator, etc.

IPO’s and Shareholder Rights

Carlyle Group to Ditch Provision That Would Have Restricted Shareholder Rights
Two weeks ago, in the Corporate Governance Lawyer’s blog (an iVLG satellite blog), we wrote about how the Carlyle Group’s IPO may have massive implications for shareholder rights. Their registration statement included a mandatory arbitration provision that would have prevented shareholders from filing lawsuits. However, last Friday the Carlyle Group decided to ditch the controversial provision. Many, myself included, are speculating that the Carlyle Group abandoned the provision after pushback from investors.

Online Privacy Legislation

Report: Congress Unlikely to Pass Comprehensive Online Privacy Laws in 2012
A Bloomberg BNA report suggests that while online privacy legislation remains a frequently discussed topic on Capitol Hill, any comprehensive legislation on the subject is unlikely to be brought during this election year. Committees in the House and Senate are currently considering bills that would change online privacy laws, and the president is thought to be finalizing his own proposal. The bills are trying to strike a balance between protecting the data of online consumers, and allowing for businesses to conduct online business without being subject to overly burdensome regulation. While the lawmakers contemplate reform, the FTC will remain as active as ever in enforcing current laws.

European Lawmakers Have Proposed Substantial Reform in Online Privacy
Across the Atlantic, the European Union has already proposed substantial reform that would give users “the right to be forgotten”–the right to take all their personal data from the Internet. The EU’s proposal is partially in reaction to what Facebook users were discovering after making “Facebook file” requests. The New York Times cites one particularly influential story detailing a gentleman who discovered Facebook had a personal file on his data that included over a thousand pages of content including deleted wall posts, old messages, and information on geographical whereabouts that was not intentionally uploaded.

Regional News

University of Washington to Launch On-Campus Tech Start-Up Incubator
The University of Washington announced today that it will be launching an on-campus tech start-up incubator. The incubator is part of a larger effort to produce 20 start-ups per year within three years.  The incubator will have 11,500 square feet of lab space, and an additional 11,500 square feet of office space. The building will be able to host up to 25 start-ups.

Suggested Reading

Suggested Reading: The Economist Explains the Role of Private Equity and Buy-Outs
In a highly recommended article, the Economist goes in-depth on the role of private equity and buy-outs in today’s economy. The article raises a number of issues facing today’s private equity firms, challenges the notion that private equity firms specializing in buy-outs are “the grim reaper” for employment, and rebuts the idea that private equity companies out-perform public companies.