Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week Nine: Copyright, Shareholder Activism, Acquisitions, Insider Trading

Intellectual Property

Copyright Infringer Receives Nearly 5 Years in Prison James Baxter, of Wichita, Texas, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for violating federal copyright law. From 2006 to 2007 he sold “backup” copies of Adobe products such as Photoshop and Illustrator on various websites that he owned and operated. Baxter is the seventh man from one Wichita piracy ring to be convicted of software copyright violations. Altogether the piracy ring received $3 million in illegal sales from $15 million worth of infringing products.

Corporate Governance & Shareholder Activism

AOL Activist Shareholder Starboard Value Nominates Slate of Directors Starboard Value, a New York-based hedge fund and activist shareholder of AOL, nominated its own slate of directors for election to the AOL Board at the company’s...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week Eight: Suppliers, Distributors & Disputes; Privacy Policies & Mobile Apps; CAN-SPAM, etc.

Suppliers & Distributors & Disputes

Amazon Pulls More Than 4,000 e-Books from Online Marketplace In a dispute over e-Book discounts, Amazon has decided to stop offering e-Books published by Independent Publishers Group in its online marketplace. IPG is the nation’s second largest independent publisher, and has refused to come to terms with Amazon in a dispute over a contract renewal. The problem for IPG is that Amazon’s Kindle accounts for 60% of all e-book sales. If they don’t give in to Amazon’s demands, they lose out on a majority of the market. IPG has told its publishers to stress to their consumers that their content is available from Barnes & Noble, and Apple, among other places. This story is a reminder that businesses must proceed with caution...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week 7: Mergers & Acquisitions, Trademarks, Insider Trading, Regional News

Mergers & Acquisitions

Kellogg, Not Diamond Foods, to Acquire Proctor & Gamble’s Pringles Brand Kellogg is acquiring Proctor & Gamble’s Pringles brand after a deal with Diamond Foods fell through. Diamond Foods had been poised to acquire Pringles for $2.695 billion. However, that deal crumbled apart after Diamond Foods announced that the last two years of financial statements will need to be restated. Proctor & Gamble is the big winner here, as Kellogg is actually buying Pringles at $2.7 billion, exceeding the Diamond Foods bid by $350 million. The big takeaways from this deal are one, that sometimes it pays to be patient, and two, that corporate sellers should expect to be thoroughly investigated. Proctor & Gamble should have done more due diligence before agreeing to sell to...

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Business Startup

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...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week Five: Initial Public Offerings, Insider Trading, Technology Contracts, Corporate Finance

Initial Public Offerings

Facebook Files Registration Statement As I’m sure you’ve heard, Facebook filed its registration statement today. The social networking giant is looking to raise $5 billion in a public stock sale that could occur this spring. Depending on demand from potential shareholders, the company could be valued at anywhere from $75 billion to more than $100 billion. The float (the publicly traded equity) of 5%, if the valuation ends up near the $100 billion mark, is unusually low for an IPO, and suggests that Facebook went public at least in part because it was hitting the 500 shareholder mark that increases regulatory requirements regardless of a company’s public or private status. Also, the company already has nearly $4 billion in...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week Four: Apple, Executive Compensation, Online Privacy, Venture Capital

Apple in the News

Apple has huge quarter; launches revolutionary textbook platform; includes draconian terms in book publishers’ end user license agreement

Lots of Apple news this week. The technology giant posted its best quarter ever with revenues of $46.3 billion per quarter and a $13.87 net profit per share. The company sold 37 million iPhones and over 15 million iPads.

Apple also had exciting news about launching a new platform for textbooks. Apple has partnered with text book producers such as McGraw-Hill to make interactive textbooks for iPads. Textbooks in this format will be cheaper, easier to update, more environmentally friendly, and more portable. The interactivity and format will surely be a better and more exciting platform for those trying to learn...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week Three: SOPA, Director Compensation, Federal Securities Law, Professional Responsibility, etc.

SOPA Update

We caught you up to date on all of the recent SOPA developments in yesterday’s post, but there’s more news today. A handful of websites including Wikipedia shutdown their services today in protest of SOPA. Others, like Google, took a milder approach in illustrating solidarity in opposition to SOPA. Google replaced the image of its name with a black box blocking out the image. It seems like the protests have been effective as SOPA is finally getting the national media attention it deserves, and many supporters have reversed position on the bills today including Senators (who supported SOPA’s sister bill in the Senate-PIPA) Rubio, Boozman, Hatch, Blunt, and Inhofe, and Representatives Quayle, and Holden. SOPA news was at a...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week Two: Securities Regulations; Executive Compensation; SOPA Protests; Regional News; Koomey’s Law

Hedge Fund Managers Petition SEC to Remove Prohibition on General Solicitation Under current regulations, issuers of securities in private placements are restricted in how they can solicit potential investors. The Managed Funds Association has petitioned the SEC to eliminate the prohibition on general solicitation and advertising in Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) for offerings or sales by private funds. In the petition the MFA points out that the regulations prohibiting general solicitation are vague, and argues that the uncertainty surrounding the vague rules is harmful to business. For an in-depth look at the petition check out Jim Hamilton’s blog.

Executive Compensation: Discovery Channel’s New CFO Gets Paid to Join and to Leave The Discovery Channel filed their 8-K...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week One: Consumer Protection, Online Lotteries, Google, Apple, Yahoo!, & Online Advertising

Obama Appoints Head of New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau President Obama appointed Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new consumer protection agency, which was created under the Dodd-Frank Act. Cordray became famous for aggressive investigations of mortgage foreclosure practices during his tenure as Ohio attorney general. During confirmation hearings Cordray said that if he was appointed he would streamline regulations and use the new agency’s tools to police consumer financial laws. Under the Dodd-Frank bill, the agency cannot write new rules or supervise financial companies without a permanent director. Obama’s appointment of Cordray is controversial as the appointment came during a Senate recess. Obama nominated Cordray over six months ago and because of a Senate filibuster, the potential appointment was yet to be put...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 12/22-12/28: Tax-Cuts, Startup Accelerator, the Supreme Court, Price Fixing, Online (Drunk) Shopping, and Trademark Protection

Congress Passes Holiday Payroll Tax-Cut Extension Congress passed a short term fix to extend the payroll taxes.  The Republican led House of Representatives was pushing for a plan that would include a full year extension but ended up settling for a short term measure which will provide benefits for 160 million workers including 40,000 unemployed workers in Washington state.

Microsoft Announces The Kinect Accelerator Microsoft recently announced The Kinect Accelerator program, which is designed to incubate startups building the next generation of programs and applications for the Kinect. Applications for the accelerator program are being accepted now through January 25, 2012. The program is being conducted with assistance from TechStars which will grant the ten companies accepted into the accelerator program $20,000 in...

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