The Network:
Business at Berkeley Law



DreamWorks’ Deal with Hasbro Falls Through

On November 14, Hasbro stopped toying with the idea of purchasing DreamWorks Animation, swiftly ending a deal that would have combined the toy giant with the animation studio.

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Innovative Lawsuit Targets U.S. Bank’s Government-Backed Mortgages

U.S. Bank, a division of U.S. Bancorp, is being sued in an Ohio federal court for failing to comply with the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) requirement that banks engage with borrowers in default. Advocates for Basic Legal Equity (“ABLE”), a legal aid group, filed the first-of-its-kind suit on behalf of the United States government.

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Monsanto and Dow Chemical Challenge Anti-GMO Law in Hawaii

Less than two weeks after the voters of Maui County, Hawaii approved a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops, Monsanto and Mycogen Seeds (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical) have filed suit in federal court to block the law. If upheld, the local referendum may substantially limit the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Maui County, which could have a tremendous impact on how biotech companies conduct research.

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European Parliament Approves Resolution Recommending Google Breakup

On Thursday, November 27th, the European Parliament approved a resolution promoting a Google breakup. The resolution was approved with 384 in favor and 174 opposed, and is a recommendation to the European Commission, which has ultimate authority over the matter. Although the resolution does not specifically mention Google, it is clearly the target following a 2010 probe into Google’s search dominance.

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Dow Chemical Company Adds New Board Members

A raging dispute has finally been settled in the Dow Chemical boardroom following criticism from its shareholders.

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Valeant and Ackman’s Hostile Takeover Falls Through But Still Pays Out

Valeant’s aggressive and longstanding pursuit of Allergan, Inc. has finally been resolved with an unlikely twist: a deal between Allergan and Actavis. As of November 16, Allergan has agreed to be acquired by Actavis for $66 billion, representing a valuation of about $219.00 per share in cash and stock. This deal leaves Valeant and William Ackman, who joined forces to acquire Allergan, with a victory that defies conventional wisdom; the stock acquired in their bid to control Allergan’s board is now worth $2.6 billion, with 15% to go to Valeant and the remaining $2.2 billion to be collected by Ackman’s hedge fund.

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Record Punitive Damages set in Juarez v. AutoZone Stores, Inc. Verdict

On November 18, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California upheld a jury verdict awarding Rosario Juarez, a former San Diego AutoZone store manager, almost $873,000 in compensatory damages and a record $185 million in punitive damages due to pregnancy-related harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

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Market Conditions Lead to Increase in Mergers & Acquisitions

A strong stock market, low borrowing costs, and increased confidence in the global economy have created conditions ripe for the current boom in mergers & acquisitions (M&A). M&A deals targeting American companies have topped $1.5 trillion this year, while total global deals have reached the $3 billion mark for just the fifth time. These numbers are both up over 50% from a year ago and are the highest seen in the last seven years. This is strong evidence that the M&A market has completed its resurgence and has finally recovered from the malaise of the global financial crisis.

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Central Bank Gets Blame for Cypriot Crash

The release of a Cyprus government report this past week reveals the enduring difficulties faced by central banks of small European nations, in their efforts to stabilize fragile economies while promoting the monetary interests of the wider Eurozone.

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Is More Better? Transparency and a CEO’s Compensation

Employers generally hire the best person for a job at the lowest possible cost while still ensuring a remuneration package large enough to prevent voluntary lateral transfers and hostile talent acquisition. This is especially true for a company’s chief executive officer (“CEO”), who serves a dual role of maximizing profits for the company and responding to shareholders’ demands. However, the exponential growth in CEO compensation raises concerns over regulating individual corporate governance and promoting collective social policy goals.

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