In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog


Comcast Backs Off Fox, Disney Closes In

Comcast has pulled out of bidding for 21st Century Fox, leaving Disney to close on its offer to buy the media properties for $71.3 billion in cash and stock.

Comcast had last offered $65 million in cash, but Fox moved forward with the Disney deal. Shareholders are set to meet on July 27 to vote on it.

There are details to work out, but the Justice Department has already approved the merger. If this were an auction, the gavel would becoming down about now.

Hearst to Pay $50 Million to Settle Data Privacy Case

It's hard to say how much a person's privacy is worth, but Hearst says it will pay $50 million to settle a data-privacy lawsuit that alleged the magazine publisher sold subscribers' information.

In the class-action, plaintiffs say they were bombarded with junk mail, advertisements and phone calls after the company sold their personal information. Lead plaintiff Josephine Edwards had subscribed to Good Housekeeping, one of many Hearst publications.

It is the largest settlement payment under a Michigan law that prohibits businesses from selling personal information about their customers. Under the settlement, subscribers will be eligible to receive about $155 each.

The state of Alaska has put its billion-dollar oil bond offering on hold after a lawsuit was filed challenging the recently passed law authorizing the bond sale. The oil companies that were likely to be paid back as a result may just have to wait a little while longer.

Curiously, the lawsuit was actually filed before the law was signed by the state's governor, and it has nevertheless resulted in stalling the bond sale. It was noted that while the lawsuit's challenge is only preliminary and the allegations haven't been tested, the effect is unavoidable in the bond market. Simply put, the lawsuit impacts the bond's "marketability" or makes the bonds just a little bit less attractive to the investors since the legal challenge adds risk.

Judge Dismisses SEC Bribery Case Against Och-Ziff

Surviving a criminal investigation is not exactly a comeback, but it's better than the alternative.

Och-Ziff executives dodged a big bullet when a federal judge dismissed a bribery case against them. The judge said the Securities and Exchange Commission missed a five-year deadline to sue them.

Michael Cohen and Vanja Baros may have breathed a sigh of relief, but the company is still reeling from a $412 million payment to settle related investigations. For now, Och-Ziff is open for business.

NFL Panthers Fire General Counsel

Richard Thigpen, general counsel of the Carolina Panthers, is headed to the sidelines for good.

Team owner David Tepper fired Thigpen as part of an overhaul following a sex scandal involving prior owner Jerry Richardson. According to reports, Richardson touched female employees, asked them sexual questions, and tried to trick them into kissing him.

Thigpen had nothing to do with that -- except for reviewing non-disclosure agreements with team employees. It's a reminder that general counsel sometimes have to answer for the sins of their bosses.

For in-house counsel, and employees across the legal industry, while competitive pay is important, some benefits, like telecommute, flextime, and a solid vacation policy, can make all the difference when it comes to retaining top talent.

Perhaps two of the biggest ways companies can give employees more without shelling out more money involves creating a culture employees want to be a part of, and respecting the time of their most coveted, and hard to replace, talent.

Sleeping on the Job May Be a Good Thing

For truck drivers, falling asleep at the wheel is a bad thing. Sleeping in between stops is a good thing.

It's more or less the same for all workers. It's better to get good sleep than to push through on an empty tank.

So how to make sure employees get the rest to do their best? It starts with setting nature's clock.

For in-house lawyers, the word vacation may be as foreign a concept as billable hours.

However, when the weather's hot and you want to stretch right up and touch the sky, you might realize that it's a little more difficult than you expected to do what you feel. There are unrealistic expectations and there will always be pitfalls when in-house counsel want to take time off.

Here are three tips to help you be one of those lucky in-house lawyers on the beach this summer.

Uber Executive Quits Amidst Racial Discrimination Probe

Liane Hornsey, head of human resources at Uber, abruptly quit following an investigation about how she handled racial discrimination claims there.

According to reports, Hornsey dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination and retaliated against whistleblowers at the company. Reuters, which broke the story, said it "raises questions about Uber's ability to reform its culture and change some of its toxic behaviours."

Although Uber cleaned house after widespread sexual harassment claims last year, it's hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel for the ride-sharing company.

Fox Shareholder Sues Over Disney Merger

A 21st Century Fox shareholder filed suit to stop Disney's purchase of the company's studio assets, alleging false financial projections about the proposed acquisition.

In a putative class-action filed in Delaware, Robert Weiss claims a proxy statement omits or misrepresents financials and valuations in the deal. His complaint focuses on projections for Hulu and earnings for European broadcaster Sky.

In the meantime, Fox shareholders are set to meet on whether to accept Disney's offer. With $71.3 billion on the table, it should have been an easy decision.