Shareholder Activism Trends
Political uncertainty, unsettled questions on trade and tariffs, and the late 2018 market correction potentially foreshadowing a downturn are all factors to watch in 2019. How activist shareholders respond to a changing landscape remains to be seen, but regardless of what happens with the economy and geopolitics, recent trends in the industry indicate there are various ways companies and boards can expect to engage with activist investors.
California Privacy Law and Class Actions
The California Consumer Privacy Act will be effective in January 2020. As the business community prepares to meet the new burdens that are about to govern America’s largest jurisdiction, in-house legal, privacy and compliance teams should pay special attention to the law's novel "cure" provision.
Is FTC's Tech Task Force Here to Stay?
The FTC Bureau of Competition's new Tech Task Force will focus on three areas: anti-competitive conduct, prospective mergers and consummated mergers. The task force's creation highlights the attention regulators are paying on the tech industry and is likely the first step in the creation of a permanent division devoted to the sector.
What's Next in China Trade War?
Some form of trade agreement between the U.S. and China appears imminent, but significant questions remain on whether the terms of agreement will address the systemic concerns expressed by the U.S. and be effectively enforced.
Social Media, Technology and Privacy Laws in E-Discovery
E-discovery is transforming in nuanced ways as new forms of technology emerge and privacy concerns increasingly are implicated. To effectively, and ethically, engage in e-discovery, practitioners must stay apprised of cutting-edge technology in this area and the associated changing legal landscape.
Leveraged Loan Market Shows Signs of Rebound
Indications of recovery in the first quarter of 2019 pointed to growing stability in the syndicated loan market after a tumultuous end of 2018. However, side effects of the turbulence remain, with loan issuance off to a hesitant start in 2019 and higher interest margins discouraging refinancing and repricing activity.
Employers Monitor Reinstated Wage Data Mandate
Employers are closely watching a recent federal district ruling that reinstated an Obama-era rule requiring large employers to collect and annually report wage data by gender, ethnicity and race to the EEOC. Employers awaiting the judge’s decision on the final deadline for reporting wage data should begin the significant effort of preparing it.
SEC Provides Limited Guidance on Auditor Independence
The SEC recently reaffirmed that auditor independence remains one of its areas of focus. As part of its efforts to improve its guidance, the agency should consider making its specific guidance publicly available.
Two Additional Presidential Candidates Subject to Federal Pay-to-Play Rules
Two new candidates for the Democratic presidential primary are subject to federal pay-to-play rules as sitting local or state elected officials. As mentioned in a prior mailing, three candidates who previously announced their candidacy are also subject to the rules.
Second Wave of Opportunity Zone Guidance Addresses Many Key Issues, Leaves Open Questions for Future Guidance
The Treasury Department and the IRS recently issued a second set of proposed regulations concerning the taxation of qualified opportunity zone funds and their investors. The new proposed regulations address a number of concerns left unaddressed by the initial proposed regulations and establish a sensible framework under which many investors should be able to move forward with opportunity zone projects. Although taxpayers may rely on these rules before they are finalized, that ability does not extend to certain rules that could be germane to structuring decisions, and the inability to rely on them is of concern.
US Supreme Court Holds That Bankrupt Companies Cannot Rescind Trademark Licenses
On May 20, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC that debtors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cannot unilaterally rescind trademark licensees' rights to use debtors' marks. The Court resolved a long-standing circuit split that had been referred to as “the most significant unresolved legal issue in trademark licensing.”