Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Debate heats up on Justice's deferred-prosecution deals

The legal debate over the Justice Department's aggressive prosecution of businesses has been reignited after the recent indictment of securities class-action law firm Milberg Weiss, plus an ongoing court battle between prosecutors and former KPMG executives indicted on fraud charges.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Collapsed Hedge Fund Bayou Wants Its Money Back

There may be a rude surprise in store for investors who think they escaped getting burned by last year’s scandal at hedge fund Bayou Group.
The fund, which raised more than $450 million before it abruptly imploded in August with most of that money missing, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Tuesday in New York. As part of the bankruptcy, Bayou’s court-appointed overseer hopes to claw back funds that were paid out to previous Bayou investors over the past two years.

Mushrooming Backdating Scandal Hits McAfee’s Top Lawyer

McAfee, Inc. terminated its general counsel Kent Roberts after an internal review of the company’s employee stock options revealed an “improper” grant involving Mr. Roberts in 2000. Here’s the press release from the antivirus-software king, the latest company to be ensnared by the backdating scandal.

Big Buyout in the Pipeline

If there was a question about whether potential conflicts would prompt investment bank Goldman Sachs to lower its profile in private equity investing, here is a $22 billion answer. The firm’s buyout arm has a prominent role in Monday’s proposed management-led buyout of Kinder Morgan, which, if it gets done, would be the largest leveraged buyout since Henry Kravis’ private equity shop made its audacious run at RJR Nabisco in the late 1980’s.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Plaintiff Says Incentives Were Offered in KPMG Case

A lead plaintiff in a proposed tax shelter settlement that was brokered by the class-action securities law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman indicated that he was offered a financial incentive to serve as plaintiff, according to documents filed yesterday in federal court in Newark.

Verdict on an Era: Arrogance and Recklessness at Enron

Kurt Eichenwald, author of Conspiracy of Fools, an inside look at the events leading up to the Enron collapse, has an excellent wrap-up article on the Lay and Skilling verdicts in today's New York Times. His opening paragraphs are particularly succint:

"Regardless of whether the jury verdict against Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling is upheld, testimony from 56 days of trial has sealed what is sure to be history's judgment - one that is unlikely to be vulnerable to appeal.

The Enron case will forever stand as the ultimate reflection of an era of near madness in finance, a time in the late 1990's when self-certitude and spin became a substitute for financial analysis and coherent business models. Controls broke down and management deteriorated as arrogance overrode careful judgment, allowing senior executives to blithely push aside their critics.

Indeed, it could be argued that the most significant lesson from the trial had nothing to do with whether the defendants, both former Enron chief executives, committed the crimes charged in their indictments. Instead, the testimony and the documents admitted during the case painted a broad and disturbing portrait of a corporate culture poisoned by hubris, leading ultimately to a recklessness that placed the business's survival at risk."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bill Lerach Soldiers On and Mints Money

While his former partners are dealing with the indictment of Milberg Weiss, class-action raj Bill Lerach stood outside the Houston federal courthouse this morning trumpeting a multi-billion dollar settlement in the Enron shareholder civil litigation.
According to the WSJ, Lerach was the original focus of the Milberg Weiss kickback investigation when it began in 1999. In 2004, Lerach split from the firm to create Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins in San Diego

Judge Approves 3 Enron Banks' Civil Settlement

HOUSTON, May 24 (Reuters) — A federal judge approved a $6.6 billion civil settlement on Wednesday by three banking companies accused in a lawsuit of helping the Enron Corporation hide financial abuses that led to its collapse.

Some Mergers Bring Honeymoons, Others Bring Lawsuits

Companies and their boards face challenging legal issues when embarking on any business combination. When the deal wraps up, everyone generally breathes a sigh of relief. But the real legal challenge may begin immediately after the companies publicly announce the deal.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why Wasn’t Spitzer Involved in the Milberg Weiss Investigation?

In his more than seven years as New York’s attorney general, Eliot Spitzer has never seemed to meet a kickback case he didn’t like. So why didn’t he have a hand in the Milberg Weiss case?
That’s the question some Spitzer watchers are asking, after his campaign said that he plans to return the $124,455 in contributions given to him by lawyers at the indicted class-action law firm.

Vonage trades at discount in debut

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Vonage Holdings Corp. fell below its offering price in its stock-market debut Wednesday as Wall Street hung up on the Internet-phone provider in what could be the worst opening day for an IPO all year.

Giant technology leveraged buyouts expected

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Leveraged buyouts of technology companies will reach unprecedented scale in the next two years because funds have raised billions of dollars in new money recently and have easy access to attractively priced credit, executives of leading private-equity firms said on Tuesday.

eBay Sued Over Skype Technology

StreamCast Networks filed a federal lawsuit against eBay and 21 other defendants on Monday in a dispute over the rights to Internet telephony technology, according to the AP. Last year, eBay bought Internet telephone company Skype for $2.6 billion. StreamCast, the company behind online file-swapping software Morpheus, says it developed the technology that led to the online phone service.

Delaware’s Judge Chandler to Lawyers: Plain English, Please!

Delaware Chancery Court Judge William Chandler said he will approve News Corp.’s proposed settlement of a shareholder lawsuit over its “poison pill” corporate defensive measures, but warned that it better write the agreement in plain English.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Whirlpool Puts Hoover on the Block

Whirlpool has sifted through the assets of recently acquired Maytag and decided to divest several business lines that it picked up in the deal. Among the brands slated for sale are Hoover, which makes vacuum cleaners, as well as Amana and Jade, both of which make commercial appliances, Whirlpool said Tuesday in a press release.

Sara Lee Agrees to Drop Poison Pill, But Not Yet

They say nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee, but plenty of people don’t like its poison-pill takeover defense. The company’s shareholders approved a non-binding resolution to dissolve the poison-pill provision in October, and Sara Lee management responded on Monday by meeting them halfway, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Funneling Money

A Los Angeles lawyer pleaded guilty yesterday to a tax charge related to claims that he funneled money to a client of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, the law firm indicted last week for paying more than $11 million in kickbacks.

7 indicted in National Century failure

Seven former executives of the defunct National Century Financial Enterprises were indicted Monday on money laundering, conspiracy and securities fraud charges stemming from the Dublin company's 2002 collapse.
Officials alleged the company's collapse was the largest corporate fraud case involving a privately held company that the FBI has investigated. The 60-count indictment seeks to recover about $2 billion in property.

Apollo files $1.5 billion IPO

Apollo Management LP, the New York-based private equity firm, is raising a $1.5 billion publicly traded private equity vehicle similar to the one raised on May 3 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. According to sources, Apollo is raising the money as a 144A private placement, and plans to list the securities on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange within the next two weeks, after which the fund will become publicly traded.

A Fannie Mae Settlement Is Reported

Fannie Mae, the giant mortgage buyer, is expected to pay more than $400 million today as part of a settlement to resolve claims that executives manipulated earnings in the 1990’s so they could receive bigger bonuses, The New York Times reported.

Monday, May 22, 2006

WSJ Editorial — Milberg Weiss Bad, Indicting Firm Worse

In its lead editorial “Very Rough Justice,” The Wall Street Journal calls the Justice’s Department indictment of the entire firm a “blunderbuss tactic” and a “nuclear option.” It says the indictment — like that of Arthur Andersen — could mean the death of the firm and that innocent victims “will be the secretaries and paralegals who aren’t rich but may well lose their jobs.”
But the editorial’s biggest concern is the DOJ’s stance of threatening to indict unless it waived attorney-client privilege and label its partners criminals. The editorial warns that this is “a dangerous precedent that can be used — and surely will be — against more honest business enterprises.” It adds: “The threat of a corporate death sentence is an abuse of prosecutorial discretion against any but the most corrupt criminal enterprises — namely, the mob.”

Ohio Attorney General Fires Milberg Weiss

The ripple effects of yesterday’s criminal indictment of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman are starting to be felt. Today the Ohio attorney general, acting on behalf of its client the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, fired Milberg Weiss. The class-action firm was representing Ohio’s public college savings fund in class-action litigation against Putnam American Government Income Fund for its alleged involvement in improper mutual-fund trading.

N.Y.S.E. Bids $10 Billion for Euronext

The New York Stock Exchange announced its $10. 2 billion proposal to acquire its European counterpart Euronext on Monday in a deal that would create the world’s first trans-Altantic exchange.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Justice Department Joins Whistleblower Suit Against Abbott Labs

The Justice Department announced yesterday that it joined a whistleblower lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories and its spinoff Hospira, alleging that the companies conspired to inflate Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements on some drugs from 1991 to 2001.

Anheuser-Busch Buys Rolling Rock — Is Goose Island Next?

In a deal that has been in the works for months, Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewer in the United States, said Friday it had purchased the Rolling Rock beer brand from InBev, the Belgian brewer, for $82 million.

Senate Aide for S.E.C. Post

WASHINGTON, May 18 (AP) — President Bush will nominate Kathleen L. Casey, a Senate aide and specialist on banking and securities law, to the five-member Securities and Exchange Commission, the White House said on Thursday.

Hedge Funds’ Next Big Thing Is Everything

What are hedge funds up to these days? Perhaps a better question is, what aren’t they up to? Three news articles — all of them published Thursday — suggest that coffee futures, distressed debt and initial public offerings are hedge funds’ obsession of the moment.

U.S. Indictment for Big Law Firm in Class Actions

The nation's leading class-action securities law firm, Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, and two of its partners were charged yesterday with making more than $11 million in secret payments to three individuals who served as plaintiffs in more than 150 lawsuits.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Washington in No Rush to Regulate Hedge Funds

The Bush administration, the Federal Reserve and Congress betrayed no sense of urgency Tuesday about the need for any beefed-up federal oversight over the booming hedge-fund business.
Late on Tuesday evening, new Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke suggested that government oversight of hedge funds might create “moral hazard” where private investors would assume they would be bailed out for any losses.

Battle Expands Over Attorney-Client Privilege

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers may soon formally ask the Department of Justice to change its controversial policy on waivers of attorney-client privilege in government investigations, and one of the nation's top business groups is actively looking for court cases in which to challenge the policy's legality.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Blackstone President Sees More Private Equity I.P.O.’s

Hamilton “Tony” James, the president of private equity giant Blackstone Group, said Tuesday that he expects to see more examples of buyout firms launching publicly traded funds, a move that Kohlberg Kravis Roberts recently made — in a big way — in Europe.

Two Lawyers Take Leave as Part of Inquiry

Two partners at a prominent securities class-action law firm have taken leaves of absence in the latest twist of a federal investigation into accusations that illegal tactics were used in shareholder lawsuits.
According to the statement released last night by the law firm, Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, the two lawyers, David J. Bershad and Steven G. Schulman, have left the firm in order to prepare defenses for their possible indictments.

Of Lawyers and Eavesdropping

As details emerged last week of the National Security Agency's massive eavesdropping on ordinary citizens, two New Jersey public interest lawyers sued Verizon Communications for $5 billion Friday, asserting that it violated privacy laws by turning over phone records.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported yesterday on the role played by the NSA's own lawyers in pushing back against Vice President Cheney's efforts to widen the eavesdropping even further to include purely domestic calls.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hedge Funds Love Buybacks, But Do They Work?

“Those loudmouthed hedge funds” are behind the “runaway fad” of stock buybacks, according to Forbes magazine. The article says that many hedge funds are pressuring companies to repurchase their shares on the “belief that the repurchases will prop up demand for a stock, giving it a quick boost that the funds can cash in on.”
But Forbes also notes that, while buybacks are similar in many respects to the payment of dividends, buybacks offer no guarantee that stockholders will benefit in the long term.

SCOTUS: Injunctions Not Always Appropriate For Patent Infringers

The Supreme Court just issued its decision in Ebay v. MercExchange (opinion not yet available), ruling that a permanent injunction does not automatically follow a court’s finding of patent infringement. Justice Thomas authored the unanimous decision with concurring opinions by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy.

SCOTUS Avoids Ruling on Constitutionality of Ohio Tax Credits

In DaimlerChrysler v. Cuno, the Supreme Court passed on deciding on the constitutionality of state tax credits that incentivize corporations to do business in their states. Instead, the Court ruled that the taxpayers who had challenged the credit did not have “standing” to do so, so the federal trial court should not have ruled that the Ohio tax credits provided to DamilerChrysler were unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.

Private Equity Hears from Skeptics

Earlier this month, investing guru Warren Buffett took a public jab at private equity firms at the annual meeting of his company, Berkshire Hathaway. In his speech to shareholders, Mr. Buffett dismissed them as “deal flippers” and suggested that Berkshire would avoid acquiring businesses from buyout firms.
As with many things on Wall Street, Mr. Buffett seems to have inspired a trend. The past few days have brought a flurry of stories questioning the private equity industry, even as many of these articles readily concede that the flow of money to private equity firms shows no sign of slowing.

NYT on Preserving the Purity of the Organic Club

The New York Times is worried about Wal-Mart’s plan to sell organic food. One would think that fans of organic would be happy about this development. It means that organic products will be available more cheaply at Wal-Mart, which is planning to sell organic products for just 10% more than conventionally grown food, and it’s almost certain to lower organic food prices elsewhere.

The Times, though, worries that Wal-Mart’s entry into the organic food market will pollute the label “organic.” It’s concerned that Wal-Mart will affix the organic label to foods that, while produced using organic methodologies, are grown on large, non-local farms.

LBOs Don’t Necessarily Line Banks’ Pockets

The worldwide boom in leveraged buyouts isn’t translating into record fees for some of the biggest banks and securities firms, including Citigroup and Merrill Lynch.

Boeing to Pay $615 Million to Settle Investigations

Boeing has agreed to pay $615 million to end three years of Justice Department investigations into high-profile contracting scandals at the defense giant, according to The Wall Street Journal. The deal allows Boeing to avoid criminal charges or any admission of wrongdoing.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Two Guilty Pleas in Front-Running Case

Friday’s guilty pleas by two former trading specialists may be the first of many in the government’s wide-ranging investigation of front-running on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Will the New SEC Hedge Fund Inspector Have Industry Running Scared?

On Squawk Box this morning, David Faber, recently voted an Influential by New York magazine, reported on the SEC’s recent hiring of Thomas Biolsi as its Northeast head of compliance for hedge funds. Though the SEC announced the news a month ago (here’s the press release), Faber thinks the news could spell trouble for hedge funds seeking to steer clear of regulation and enforcement.

For a contrary view, see the comment to the above post by Perrie M. Weiner. Int'l Co-Chair of Securities, at DLA Piper, who begins " Anyone who truly understands hedge funds understands that heightened regulation is unnecessary and antithetical to what is needed. "

Yahoo Chief: No Sale to Microsoft

Terry Semel, the chief executive of Web powerhouse Yahoo, on Thursday gave his side of the story following a report earlier this month that Microsoft has considered taking a stake in his company.

Harvard Study: Medical Malpractice Problem’s Overblown

A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health to be published by the New England Journal of Medicine debunks the notion that medical malpractice lawsuits are a major problem in this country. It concludes that the common perception that they innundate the courts with frivolous litigation and cause of skyrocketing health is overblown.

Google Keeps Two-Tier Ownership Structure

Shareholders of Google, the world’s most popular Web search provider, on Thursday rejected a dissident investor proposal to end a two-tier ownership structure that vests power in its founders.
A majority of the shareholders participating in the company’s annual shareholder meeting voted against a proposal by a union pension fund that would have diluted control of the company’s brain trust, its top three executives.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

J.P. Morgan Faces Votes on Lobbying, Governance

Ahead of the banking giant’s annual meeting on Tuesday, the Free Enterprise Action Fund is trying to round up shareholder support for a proposal that would force J.P. Morgan to lay out the rationale behind its public policy agenda — especially as relates to lobbying on greenhouse gas regulations. The group argues in a press release that J.P. Morgan’s current policy “seems unduly influenced, if not driven, by anti-business activists, rather [than] management’s use of due diligence and sound business judgment.”

Owens Corning Clears Bankruptcy Roadblock

The building products maker Owens Corning will pay more than $5 billion to asbestos claimants and as much as $2.27 billion to holders of bank debt as part of a plan to exit federal bankruptcy protection, a company lawyer told a bankruptcy court Wednesday.

Home Depot's plan renews worries

Home Depot Inc.'s announcement late Tuesday, May 9, that it plans to acquire a Utah industrial loan company is sure to invigorate efforts on Capitol Hill to eliminate this controversial category of lending institution.

Reverse mergers, SPACs on rise

Reverse mergers are gaining in popularity for companies hoping to tap the equities markets, according to a specialist newsletter.
The use of special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, also is popular, it said.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

For Knight-Ridder Chief, Parting Gets Sweeter

When a company is acquired, its top management often get sizable sendoff packages. At newspaper chain Knight Ridder, which is about to be bought by McClatchy, several executives are set to collect several million dollars more than previously expected, said after scanning an amended regulatory filing from McClatchy.

Shark Attack on the PGA Tour

In a “kind of Sarbanes-Oxley gesture,” golfer Greg Norman has threatened to sue the PGA Tour over access to its books and records. Forbes reports that “the Shark” wants to see all of the Tour’s financial documents and meeting minutes from 1993 to present.

Prosecutor Says KMPG Move Held No Sway

A senior federal prosecutor said yesterday that a move by the accounting firm KPMG to cut off legal fees to employees caught up in a criminal investigation of the firm over tax shelters played no role in the government's decision not to indict the firm.

Mergers hit fastest pace since 2000

The mergers-and-acquisitions business is booming this year. Companies flush with cash looking to boost growth, profit and geographical clout are shaking hands on M&A deals at the fastest pace since the record-setting year of 2000.

New Congressional Report Finds Higher-Than-Expected Cost for SOX Compliance

A new report by congressional auditors finds that the costs for public companies to comply with a 2002 anti-fraud law ("SOX") have been higher than anticipated, providing ammunition to business interests that have been complaining about the law's impact.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hedge Funds as Organized Crime?

Prosecutors traditionally used the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, in cases against organized crime. But a receiver overseeing a collapsed Philadelphia hedge fund is using the statute to go after a unit of the Man Group of Britain, the largest publicly traded hedge fund in the world.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Seeing Hedge Funds Everywhere

Hedge funds have gone mainstream, according to Phil Davis of The Financial Times. Traditional fund managers are buying or building hedge funds. New hedge funds are hooking up with big firms rather than going it alone. Hedge funds are listing on stock exchanges.

Third-Party Banks Providing Financing for Stapled Bids

From "Stapled finance has become a favorite product for investment banks auctioning companies. By offering prepackaged financing, they hope to encourage bids and collect a second layer of fees on the deal."

Advising Activists Brings Peril, Profits

The rise of activist shareholders has created a dilemma for some financial advisers. Working with them means potentially alienating clients. Not working with them means potentially missing out on a growing source of revenue.

Prosecutors Should Be Curbed, Say U.S. Business Organizations

May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Corporations and Wall Street investment firms, after enduring four years of investigations provoked by a flood of financial scandals, are calling for the U.S. Justice Department to rein in its prosecutors.

A fly in the ketchup

In the 1980s, corporate raiders dismantled companies for the sums of their parts. Now, as private equity and hedge funds have become powerful forces in mergers and acquisitions, many are trying to recast themselves as smart managers. Nelson Peltz's recent attempt to take over almost half of H.J. Heinz Co.'s board of directors has raised questions of just how meaningful such a distinction might be.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Want to Boost Domestic Oil Production? Give ANWR to the Greens.

Posted today by Thom Lambert at Truth On The Market: "I propose that the government split the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and give the pieces primarily to the major environmental organizations (Sierra Club, Audubon Society, etc.), with a small portion reserved for the major domestic oil companies."

His rationale: "Why am I so confident that Green Groups would permit limited drilling if they actually bore the opportunity costs associated with foregoing such drilling? Because that’s what they’ve done in the past. Since the 1950s, the Audubon Society has permitted limited drilling on its own Paul J. Rainey Sanctuary, a 26,000-acre preserve in Louisiana. This drilling — accomplished using 37 wells designed to minimize environmental impact — has netted more than $25 million for the Society. The Society, then, has been able to use those revenues to pursue other preservation goals. (Unfortunately, they’ve spent much more of it on lobbying and P.R. than on purchasing land for preservation.)"

Chief's Pay Is Docked by Raytheon

Raytheon directors punished the chief executive, William H. Swanson, by taking away almost $1 million from his 2006 compensation yesterday because he failed to give credit for material that was in a management book he wrote.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What’s on Warren Buffett’s Wish List?

Two potential targets may be Harley-Davidson and Mattel, Bloomberg News reports. They are among 20 companies in the United States that meet criteria laid out by Mr. Buffett in Berkshire’s annual report, such as having a market value of $5 billion to $20 billion, according to a review by Bloomberg.

Warner Music Rejects EMI’s $4.2 Billion Takeover Bid

Reacting to reports that a bid was in the works, EMI said in a press release Wednesday that it had approached Warner Music on Monday in connection with a plan to buy the company for $28.50 in cash and EMI stock. But the offer, which carries a value of about $4.2 billion, was rejected the following day, EMI said.

Mergers for Small Companies On the Rise

A total of 76 merger and acquisition deals were announced for smaller companies in the first quarter of 2006, which represents a 17 percent increase above the first quarter of 2005. If the deals continue apace, this year could witness an estimated 304 deals worth $117 billion, according to a report by Merrill Lynch small-cap strategists.

The LBO Meets Main Street

Private-equity funds, once the exclusive domain of large institutions and wealthy individuals, are going mainstream. Getting into a leveraged buyout isn't quite as simple as purchasing a CD at the local bank -- but it's getting there. An increasing number of private equity firms are issuing stock in their funds on major exchanges, making it possible for individual investors to purchase shares on the open market.

The N.Y. Times Assails Kavanugh’s D.C. Circuit Nomination

The New York Times has serious problems with the nomination of White House lawyer Brett Kavanaugh for a judgeship on the D.C. Circuit. Its lead editorial today calls Kavanaugh “unqualified.” He’s a “young lawyer with paltry courtroom experience,” but what he does have “is a résumé that screams political partisanship.”

SEC: Exec Disclosure Plan to Help Investors

The new push by the Securities and Exchange Commission to require companies to disclose their executives' pay packages and perks in far greater detail will help ordinary investors make judgments, the head of the agency told Congress on Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Former Tyco Lawyer Reaches Settlement With S.E.C.

Former Tyco International general counsel Mark Belnick has agreed to pay a $100,000 penatly to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit alleging he defrauded the company’s shareholders.

Lay: No more Mr. Nice Guy

The CEOs had boldly vowed to take the witness stand - and we were eager to hear their story in the courtroom, looking forward to a credible alternative narrative about what really happened. But after three weeks of listening to testimony from the defendants - testimony that was deeply cynical, at odds with knowable facts, and palpably discordant with how the world of business actually operates - we're angry all over again.

And You Thought Everyday Was Law Day!

Each year on May 1, Law Day “provides an opportunity for everyone to reflect on our legal heritage, on the role of law, and on the rights and duties which are the foundation of peace and prosperity for all mankind,” according to the Law Library of Congress.

BlackBerry’s Legal Deja Vu

Do not bother hitting the “reload” button or clearing the cache in your Web browser — it will not help. Tuesday’s hauntingly familiar headlines about a patent-infringement lawsuit against BlackBerry maker Research in Motion are, in fact, new.

Judge Lets Charges Stand in KPMG Case

The federal judge overseeing the KPMG tax shelter case has refused to dismiss charges against 18 defendants accused of setting up questionable shelters for rich clients to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.

UnitedHealth Halts Executive Options

MINNEAPOLIS, May 1 (Reuters) The UnitedHealth Group, under fire for the timing of lucrative options grants to executives, said Monday that it had discontinued equity-based awards to its two most senior managers and that it would cease other perks like paying for personal use of corporate aircraft.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Idea Company

It might be the single company with the most patents that you’ve never heard of: Intellectual Ventures.

Bankruptcy Trumps Probate–Anna Nicole Wins!

Justice Ginsberg’s opinion for a unanimous court holds that state probate law cannot divest federal bankruptcy courts of jurisdiction over the claims of a bankruptcy estate against a probate estate beneficiary.

Milberg Weiss Investigation, Now In Its 5th Year, Gets 1st Guilty Plea

The five-year investigation of class-action law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach heated up over the weekend with news that the firm secretly paid kickbacks to a former client to induce him to serve as a plaintiff in securities-fraud class actions.

Proposed Amendments to Delaware Code to Facilitate Majority Voting for the Election of Directors

In another development in the debate over board elections, the executive council of the Corporate Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association has issued a recommendation on the issue. On April 20, the lawyers’ group endorsed draft legislation to amend the Delaware General Corporation Law to enable shareholders to introduce an irrevocable change of bylaws on director elections, as well as provide for an irrevocable resignation of directors who fail to get a requisite number of votes.