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 eliminated consideration of potential adverse impacts on shareholders.  If ultimately accepted by the Commission, Crenshaw’s proposed approach would likely result in materially greater penalties for corporate misconduct.
Continue Reading SEC Commissioner Calls for a Brave New Approach to Corporate Penalties

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.
Continue Reading Sellers Beware: Fiduciary Duty Risks to Directors

On March 4, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the formation of a Climate and ESG Task Force in the Division of Enforcement (the “Task Force”).  The Task Force will be aimed at detecting ESG-related misconduct so that investors can fully consider these issues in their investment decisions.
Continue Reading SEC Going Cyber-Hunting for ESG-Related Misconduct

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.
Continue Reading New York Attorney General Sues to Shutter Cryptocurrency Trading Firm Coinseed

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 waivers of the California Securities Act unless the party seeking to enforce the waiver can show that it will not diminish the plaintiff’s statutory rights under California law.  The Court held that because the plaintiff could not assert a claim under the Delaware Securities Act (due to a lack of nexus with Delaware), and none of the plaintiff’s other claims would provide the same as or greater rights than its California Securities Act claim, enforcing the choice of law provision would be contrary to California’s public policy.  Swipe Acquisition thus further defines the contours of a party’s ability to waive its rights under the California Securities Act by way of a choice of law provision.
Continue Reading Delaware Court of Chancery Holds that a Contractual Delaware Choice of Law Provision Did Not Waive Plaintiff’s Claim Under the California Securities Act

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 commercial aerospace transactions.
Continue Reading M&A Pre-Flight Check: Avoiding Common Issues in Aerospace & Defense Acquisitions

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 that buyer should diligence when considering acquiring a lead generation company.  Sellers in this space should focus on eliminating any issues in these areas as well to make them a more attractive acquisition target.
Continue Reading Top 10 Diligence Issues in Lead Generation Mergers and Acquisitions

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, applicable federal regulations and interpretive guidance issued by the SBA and U.S. Department of Treasury (the CARES Act)).
Continue Reading New Interim Final Rules Re: PPP Loan Forgiveness Requirements and Review Procedures as Amended by Economic Aid Act

  1. 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.
Continue Reading Lower Filing Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

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 Aid Act, including by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, applicable federal regulations and interpretive guidance issued by the SBA and Treasury, the CARES Act).
Continue Reading Paycheck Protection Program: SBA Issues Guidance on First Draw and Second Draw PPP Loans and Releases PPP Applications Pursuant to the Economic Aid Act