Over the last fifteen years numerous mergers and acquisitions have consolidated the global beer market into relatively few mega-corporations. What appears to be the next step in this trend is that AB InBev NV, the world’s largest brewing company, is reportedly interested in purchasing SABMiller PLC, the world’s second largest brewing company, for over $120 billion.
For some time now, a most interesting and intriguing saga relating to corporate mergers have been taking place in the “dollar” retail industry, where Dollar General and Dollar Tree are each seeking to acquire holdings in Family Dollar.
Mergers and acquisitions within the healthcare industry have become increasingly common since the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in March 2013. Parties to the individual merger transactions often cite the need to comply with and survive under the PPACA as a justification for the unification between otherwise-competitors in the healthcare services market. In the view of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), however, the consolidation of competing healthcare service providers raises anticompetitive concerns that must be monitored and regulated to ensure compliance with Federal antitrust laws.
After peaking in 2006, housing prices in the United States began to decline very swiftly – even more so than in the Great Depression. As prices fell 33 percent (they fell 31 percent during the Great Depression), homeowners realized that the value of their homes had become lower than their mortgage debt, and they lost their incentive to pay their mortgage balances. This led to foreclosures and short sales at unprecedented levels. Significantly, lost output—goods and services that we will never see—reached at least 40 percent of 2007 U.S. gross domestic product.
In 2010 two brothers from Dromineer, Ireland followed the Zuckerberg dream, dropping out of MIT and Harvard to move to the San Francisco Bay Area and build a start-up, Stripe Inc. Four years later, having raised $140 million in funding from a line of investors including the co-founders of PayPal, the payment processing company is now valued at $1.75 billion.
China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba began trading its shares Friday, September 19 on the New York Stock Exchange, becoming a publicly traded technology powerhouse. Its first trade changed hands at $92.70, well above the $68 initial price that some investors paid, creating a 38% first-day gain. Now, Alibaba has a market capitalization of roughly $219.8 billion, making the company bigger than Facebook, eBay and Amazon.com. Wall Street firms, including Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, will have collected fees in excess of $300 million.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is increasingly favoring the administrative process over the court system for prosecuting securities cases, likely as a result of expanded powers included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. For example, in the administrative forum, the SEC now has the authority to prosecute all individuals – even those not associated with regulated entities – and can impose more fines than it could before. Russell Ryan, a partner at King & Spalding in Washington, pointed out that the SEC obtained a record $3.4 billion in monetary sanctions in 2013 and continues to bring multi-million dollar actions. Notably, the SEC recently added two administrative law judges to its staff, increasing the number of judges from three to five. Furthermore, in June, Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney announced that the SEC will bring more insider trading actions through administrative proceedings.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“S.E.C.”) adopted new rules on August 27 that increase disclosure requirements for issuers of asset-backed securities and establish new safeguards against conflicts-of-interest in the credit rating process. The rules implement reforms mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, which Congress passed in 2010 to address the systemic issues at the root of the financial crisis. Read the rest of this entry »