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In Van Buren v. United States, No. 19-783, 2021 WL 2229206 (U.S. June 3, 2021), the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion drastically limiting the application of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) (18 U.S.C. § 1030 et seq.), holding that the “exceeds authorized access” clause of the Act applies only to those who obtain information from particular areas in the computer—such as files, folders, or databases—to which the individual is not authorized to access under any circumstances. However, the Supreme Court excluded application of the clause to individuals who misuse their access to obtain…
This article originally published on Food Manufacturing.com on June 1. 2020 was an up-and-down year for mergers and acquisitions in the food and beverage industry.  With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of the year, deal making activity was largely put on hold.  In the second half of the year, however, M&A activity resumed in force such that the total number of food and beverage transactions for 2020 actually ended up slightly exceeding 2019.  And with private equity firms sitting on a large amount of cash that needs to be deployed and strong corporate balance sheets…
During a May 19, 2021 webcast at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (“FINRA”) annual conference, Amy Sochard, FINRA’s Vice President of Advertising Regulation, indicated that the organization will seek public feedback on gamification practices utilized by some stock trading platforms to attract investors with a view toward issuing new rules or guidance.  “Gamification” refers to the application of typical elements of game playing, such as point scoring, competition with others, and rules of play, by trading platforms, online retailers or vendors to encourage engagement with a product or service.…
All states but one that impose a sales and use tax now have laws requiring out-of-state companies to collect tax if they have a significant economic presence in a state.  The Governor of Missouri, the last remaining state, is expected to sign a similar law this month.  The change stems from a 2018 United States Supreme Court case, the impact of which is far broader than many realize.…
On April 29, 2021 Governor Newsom signed California A.B. 80, largely conforming to Federal rules relating to deductibility of expenses paid with funds from forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.  The $150,000 limitation in prior versions of A.B. 80 was removed, and replaced with a requirement that only non-publicly traded companies who reported losses of at least 25% in gross receipts during one quarter of 2020 can deduct such expenses.  That 25% decrease in gross receipts was also a condition for receiving a PPP loan in the second round of loans made available in late 2020.  Publicly traded companies cannot…
In Ocegueda v. Zuckerberg, No. 20-CV-04444, 2021 WL 1056611 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 19, 2021), the United States District Court for the Northern District of California became the first court to rule on a motion to dismiss claims alleging deficiencies in a company’s compliance with policies intended to promote diversity.  The plaintiff, a common stockholder of Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook” or the “Company”), alleged claims for breach of fiduciary duty and further alleged defendants made false and misleading statements in the Company’s Proxy Statement in violation of Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The plaintiff alleged that…
During a March 9, 2021 industry conference, one of the four current U.S. Securities and Exchange (“SEC”) commissioners floated a new approach to calculating penalties for corporate misconduct.  Caroline A. Crenshaw, who was tapped by President Donald Trump last June to fill one of the Democratic slots on the Commission, told attendees at the Council of Institutional Investors virtual conference that the SEC needed to revisit its approach to assessing corporate penalties, and implement a new approach that tailored penalties to the “egregiousness of the actual misconduct,” accounted for all benefits of the misconduct that accrued to the corporation, and…
A recent decision by a New York federal district court illustrates significant potential pitfalls for sellers in leveraged buyouts and similarly structured transactions.  In particular, it highlights the potential risks under fiduciary duty theories to directors and private equity-appointed directors, even in multi-step transactions with customary disclaimers and exculpatory by-laws.…
The Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James (“NYAG”) has filed a lawsuit to shut down technology company Coinseed.  The state has accused the firm of selling unregistered securities in the form of digital tokens and operating as an unregistered broker-dealer while making material misrepresentations about the company, its management team, and fees charged to investors in connection with cryptocurrency trades.…
In Swipe Acquisition Corp. v. Krauss, CA No. 2019-0509-PAF, 2021 WL 282642 (Del. Ch. Jan. 28, 2021), the Delaware Court of Chancery held that California public policy prohibited a purported waiver of a contractual party’s right to assert a claim under the California Securities Act by reason of a Delaware choice of law provision in the parties’ stock purchase agreement.  Delaware courts will not enforce a choice of law provision if it would be contrary to a fundamental policy of the state whose law would apply but for the choice of law provision (here, California).  California law prohibits contractual…
As anyone who follows the industry can tell you, mergers and acquisitions activity in the aerospace and defense industry has remained robust over the past decade.  In 2019 alone, there were 460 corporate acquisitions in this sector.  And while a slowdown in 2020 deal activity is certainly expected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, results for at least the second quarter remained strong, with 84 deal closings.  Further, analysts project that activity in certain subsegments of the industry, including defense, space technology and cyber security, will remain vigorous for the foreseeable future, at least partially offsetting any declines in…
As anyone who has been through a corporate sale process can tell you, there is no such thing as a “standard” M&A transaction.  Every deal is different and presents a unique set of challenges.  This is especially true of transactions involving lead generation companies, which can be very different than businesses in other industries.  Amongst other differences, companies in this space utilize a wide variety of customized commercial arrangements and are subject to numerous industry-specific regulatory requirements that buyers need to be aware of before making an investment in this space.  In this article, we highlight the top 10 issues…
On January 19, 2021, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) published its 28th Interim Final Rule (Forgiveness IFR) covering the loan forgiveness requirements and review procedures for the Paycheck Protection Program, as reauthorized and amended by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (the Economic Aid Act), and as enacted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (as amended, supplemented or otherwise modified from time to time prior to the enactment of the Economic Aid Act, including the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act,…
Lower Thresholds For HSR Filings On February 1st, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, lower thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The filing thresholds are revised annually, based on the change in Gross National Product (GNP) and had not been lowered since 2010.…
On January 6, 2020, the SBA published its 26th Interim Final Rule (the First Draw PPP IFR) and 27th Interim Final Rule (the Second Draw PPP IFR)[1] with respect to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as reauthorized and modified under Title III (cited as the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (the Economic Aid Act)) of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  The PPP was originally enacted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (as amended, supplemented or otherwise modified from time to time prior to the enactment of the Economic…