Matt Taibbi on Mitt Romney in Rolling Stone magazine.
He’s a not a fan of the Republican party nominee:
A NOTEPAD ON COMPANY AND FINANCIAL LAW, NEWS AND REGULATION
“One of the world’s largest investors is threatening to boycott any stock market listing that allows minority shareholders to control a majority of the votes through multi-tier share structures and will oppose those that already exist…
…The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the US’s largest pension fund with $237 billion in assets under management, is drawing up new corporate governance criteria under which it will campaign to remove dual class, classified or plurality voting structures and not invest in initial public offerings which use them.”read more »
Globalisation, alternative legal service providers, virtual law firms, legal process outsourcing – good graphic from the Wall Street Journal:
The new lawyer graphic – WSJ Law blog
David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, this morning used a speech at Policy Exchange to announce a consultation on:
“proposals to crack down further on those that seek to push abusive tax avoidance schemes and make it easier for taxpayers to identify such schemes when they are on the end of a hard sell by a dodgy promoter”.
On what avoidance is
The Exchequer gave the following examples:
From the WSJ Law Blog:
“…firms looking to maximize the use of space in their pricey digs are doing things that in past decades would have been unthinkable. As in:
- Shrinking lawyer offices
- Giving all lawyers the same-sized office (gasp) regardless of seniority
- Moving some offices away from the windows and into the building core (where secretaries and file cabinets used to sit).”
See also: “There are now far more capable lawyers and law firms than there is work for them to do”
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s 13 July 2012 ”Work Plan for the Consideration of Incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards into the Financial Reporting System for U.S. Issuers” is here.
Not news, but a good explainer from the New York Times:
“They are supposed to be among Wall Street’s most closely guarded secrets: changes in research analysts’ views, up or down, of a company’s prospects. But some of the nation’s biggest brokerage firms appear to be giving a handful of top hedge funds an early peek at these sentiments — allowing them to trade on the information before other investors get the word.read more »
Rajat Gupta, former head of McKinsey and a past Goldman Sachs and Proctor & Gamble director, has this afternoon been found guilty of insider trading by a New York court.
This is the highest profile insider trading conviction for many years. As we observed in this post in October 2011, Mr Gupta is, or was, a high priest of the elite of finance capitalism.
Mr Gupta was found guilty on three counts of securities fraud and one conspiracy charge relating to the passing of tips to Raj Rajaratnam, former head of the Galleon hedge fund and who in October 2011 received an 11 year jail sentence for insider trading.
Mr Gupta will be sentenced in October 2012.
Facebook’s IPO is turning into a legal and PR disaster. Here is a round-up of what’s gone wrong so far:
Rajat Gupta ran McKinsey for a decade and was then a board director at Goldman Sachs and Proctor & Gamble. Now this examplar of the financial elite is on trial for insider trading, accused of passing price sensitive information from board meetings of Goldmans and P&G to former hedge funder Raj Rajaratnam.
LegalZoom, “the leading online destination for small business and consumer legal services”, has filed its S-1 Registration Statement for an IPO that is expected to raise around $120 million.
The online business disintermediates the lawyer-client relationship, selling access to a variety of personalised legal documents to individuals and small businesses. $120 million will give LegalZoom the capital to expand its services and to move into new geographies, including the UK – so the IPO represents the zeitgeist both of US tech businesses coming to the public markets, and the delivery of law through alternative business structures.
The CFO of Francesca’s Holding Corp. has been removed after using Facebook and Twitter to disclose potentially price sensitive information. Apparently he thought he was being amusing.
The CEO of Best Buy left just before it emerged that the company had been investigating his “intense” relationship with a junior employee. Now the cover-up has caused the Chairman to go as well. (The Daily Mail gets to the heart of the matter in its inimitable style.)
And the CEO of Yahoo left after a hedge fund pointed out that his CV claimed he had a degree he hadn’t got.
The fund manager Martin Currie Investment Management has today announced that its directors and shareholders have invested a further £25 million into the company, following the record fine – also announced today – of £3.5 million imposed on Martin Currie by the Financial Services Authority.
John Gapper of the Financial Times on how the end of Dewey symbolises the changes coming for large law firms:
“Like Lehman, Dewey was a second-tier institution that over-borrowed and overextended itself in a push to become one of its industry’s global elite…
…In austere times, with greater cost pressures, law firms cannot borrow money and make rash promises to force their way into the top tier. Those beneath the UK’s “magic circle” and firms such as Cravath and Davis Polk in the US will have to be more like utilities. They will be lower-margin businesses doing higher volumes of ordinary work, perhaps owned by outsiders.”
For more Dewey, see here.
Oh dear…he said (and repeatedly filed at the SEC) that he has a degree in “accounting and computer science” – very useful if you want to run Yahoo. However, a hedge fund agitating for change and board seats at Yahoo has found out that it is actually only an accounting degree. Less useful. The fund is calling for the CEO, Scott Thompson, to be fired by Monday 7 May.
UPDATE 8 May 2012: Mr Thompson has now apologised for the disruption caused by disclosure of his incorrect CV, if not for the incorrect CV itself.
UPDATE 14 May 2012: He has now left Yahoo.
The New York Times reports that Dewey & LeBoeuf is now encouraging its partners to leave. The NYT report includes this vignette from 2011 as Dewey’s problems mounted:
“Cash was already running low; partners were already owed tens of millions of dollars in back pay. The firm had fallen so behind on collecting unpaid legal bills that management sent out an e-mail offering partners free iPads and iPhones if their clients paid them on time.”
More Dewey news here.
New York Prosecutors Examining Former Dewey Chairman - New York Times.
Manhattan DA Investigates Former Dewey & LeBoeuf Chairman – Wall Street Journal.
A vastly pessimistic interview with a historian of law firms in the New York Times.
Some people are never happy: “Despite Instagram’s awesome performance and our monstrous return, a number of articles have come out criticizing us for not making even more money on our investment.” Tech VC firm Andreessen Horowitz on how they made 316 times their investment in Instagram, and why they didn’t make more, here.
“Among potential partners for the merger-and-bankruptcy plan being floated, Dewey has made overtures to New York-based Shearman & Sterling LLP; Greenberg Traurig LLP, which has roots in Miami; and Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith LP, these people said.
A Greenberg Traurig spokeswoman said: “We have a great deal of respect for Dewey LeBoeuf and their quality lawyers. It would be inappropriate for us to comment on market rumors.” At Shearman & Sterling, a spokesman said the firm “isn’t in discussions with Dewey & LeBoeuf concerning a merger.”"
The Wall Street Journal reports that Mark Zuckerberg only told his board about Facebook’s biggest ever acquisition on the morning of the day the deal was announced. “The board, according to one person familiar with the matter, “Was told, not consulted.”"
As we note here, he would be able to act in the same way after Facebook’s IPO, given his majority voting control.
“An accelerating wave of partner defections from the New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf is now threatening to violate the firm’s loan agreements with its banks.” – New York Times
One of the most successful VC investments in history
US “Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act” about to be signed into law
“Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch just won’t get out of bed in the morning for less than a $300 million offering”
IPO failed IPO for the BATS exchange
NY State Bar’s ethics committee: NY lawyers can’t practice law in the state if they are part of a UK alternative business structure law firm