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GDPR: Implications from the New Normal

From Brexit to the Facebook scandal, here’s how GDPR has impacted legal departments and headlines. Read

Five Years Later: Lessons Learned from the First Inter Partes Review

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Words of Wisdom from 10 Powerful Female In-house Counsel

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In Brief

Today's Top Story

Energy Groups Urged to Step Up Climate Change Effort

Aberdeen Standard Investments, Axa Investment Managers, and 58 other big investors have demanded oil and gas companies intensify their efforts on climate change, in the clearest sign yet that asset managers and pension funds are increasingly concerned about the financial impact of global warming. In a letter, the investors, which oversee almost US$10.5 trillion in assets, call for the oil and gas industry to be "more transparent and take responsibility for all of its emissions." The letter comes ahead of a controversial vote at Royal Dutch Shell's annual meeting 22 May. Activist shareholders are pushing a resolution that would force the group to align its business with the Paris climate agreement, under which almost 200 countries agreed to limit global temperature increases to well under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, reports the Financial Times (17 May, Mooney, Ward, Hook).

From "Energy Groups Urged to Step Up Climate Change Effort"
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Legal Actions

Canada Files Charges Related to SNC-Lavalin Probe

Canadian authorities have filed five charges against Normand Morin, a former SNC-Lavalin Group executive, in relation to a multiyear probe related to illegal political contributions tied to the global engineering company. Under Canada's elections laws, corporations are prohibited from making donations to political parties, reports the Wall Street Journal (17 May, Vieira). The charges were filed at the Court of Quebec in Montreal, according to a statement issued by Canada's Commissioner of Elections, and relate to an investigation involving SNC-Lavalin officials and their political fundraising activities between 2004 and 2011. The charges against Morin allege, among other things, he knowingly tried to conceal and circumvent the source of political donations.

From "Canada Files Charges Related to SNC-Lavalin Probe"
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Mergers and Acquisitions

PayPal to Acquire iZettle

Recode (17 May, Del Rey) reports that PayPal on Thursday announced plans to spend US$2.2 billion to acquire iZettle, a European payments company that provides point-of-sale software and other services to brick-and-mortar stores. The proposed deal would rank as the largest in PayPal's history. Sweden-based iZettle had said earlier this month that it intended to soon go public. But PayPal swooped in with an offer that was nearly twice what iZettle hoped to be valued at in an initial public offering. While PayPal is a giant player in online commerce, it has struggled to crack brick-and-mortar retail where the vast majority of transactions still occur.

From "PayPal to Acquire iZettle"
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Toshiba Chip Sale to Bain Cleared by China Regulator

Bloomberg (17 May, Hyuga) reports that Toshiba on Thursday received regulatory approval from China for the sale of its semiconductor business. This paves the way for the 2 trillion yen (US$18 billion) deal with a group led by Bain Capital to proceed. The sale, which will now take place on 1 June, had already missed earlier deadlines for clearance as the companies waited on Chinese antitrust authorities to render a final decision. "We are making this important investment because we see the opportunity to further grow Toshiba Memory Corporation," a Bain Capital statement read. "This transaction will help ensure a competitive global semiconductor market and protect the supply chain from potential disruption."

From "Toshiba Chip Sale to Bain Cleared by China Regulator"
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Zoetis to Buy Veterinary Diagnostics Firm Abaxis

Animal health company Zoetis has inked a US$1.9 billion deal to acquire Abaxis, reports Reuters (16 May, Mathias), aiming to capture a larger slice of the rapidly growing market for diagnostics services that cater to household pets and farm animals. The purchase reflects Zoetis' expectation that the diagnostics category will grow at a faster pace than the broader animal health industry. Abaxis specializes in making blood and urine tests to predict, detect, and treat such diseases as heartworm and Lyme disease. According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global veterinary diagnostics market is expected grow from US$2.3 billion in 2017 to US$3.6 billion in 2022.

From "Zoetis to Buy Veterinary Diagnostics Firm Abaxis"
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Board/Management Relations

Kate Logan Named Warner Music GC International

Kate Logan has been named Warner Music's new general counsel international, responsible for the company's legal and business affairs outside the United States. Based in London, Logan will report to WMG executive vice president and general counsel Paul Robinson and work closely with the company's recorded music and publishing affiliates in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa. She replaces Chris Ancliff, who had been in the role since 2009, reports Billboard (17 May, Smirke).

From "Kate Logan Named Warner Music GC International"
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Corporate Security

Arrest at Century 21 Casts Spotlight on Security Guards

A recent video showed a Century 21 security guard with his hands wrapped around the throat of a man suspected of shoplifting Prada shoes, as another guard pinned him down. In the end, the man on the ground was charged with petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property after being treated at a hospital, the police said. But attention has been focused on the actions of one of the security guards, who was charged with assault after bystanders loudly insisted on video that the police be called. According to state records, the person was not registered to work as a security guard at the time of the encounter. That lapse illustrates the difficulty of regulating the expanding, multibillion-dollar security industry, reports the New York Times (17 May, Caron). There are no federal regulations governing how those guards are trained and licensed, said Mahesh Nalla, a criminal justice professor at Michigan State University who has studied the private security industry. That responsibility falls to individual states, where the requirements can vary widely.

From "Arrest at Century 21 Casts Spotlight on Security Guards"
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Superannuation Fund Boards Game the Rules, Says APRA

A review by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has found that boards of superannuation funds have manipulated best-practice guidelines so incumbent directors can serve longer terms, reports the Australian Financial Review (17 May, Mather). Some boards also rejected qualified directors in favor of candidates from a fund's sponsoring organizations. The findings come amid increased government scrutiny over the performance of boards that oversee financial services companies.

From "Superannuation Fund Boards Game the Rules, Says APRA"
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Westpac Hires Complaints Head Amid Damaging Inquiry

Australian lender Westpac Banking says it had been “too slow” to resolve customer complaints and had created an executive role to handle them, as the country's financial sector responds to revelations of serious misconduct. Australia's biggest money managers have seen their shares pounded by a barrage of damaging allegations since February, when a Royal Commission inquiry began exposing their abuse of market power and contempt of customers. Westpac promoted its corporate affairs manager, Carolyn McCann, to a new role of "group executive, customer and corporate relations," a move it said would ensure any customer issues "stay front and center" at the bank, reports Reuters (17 May, Kaye, Duran).

From "Westpac Hires Complaints Head Amid Damaging Inquiry"
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FDA Calls Out Drug Companies for Blocking Access to Generics

According to new data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cited by STAT (17 May, Mershon), Celgene, Gilead Life Sciences, and Johnson & Johnson's Actelion Pharmaceuticals are all potentially blocking generic drug makers from accessing samples of their products. The new list, which also includes Novartis, Pfizer, and more than 30 other companies, is part of the White House's efforts to lower prescription drug prices. While broader regulatory and legislative changes must go through a lengthy process, top health officials have used their bully pulpits to call out a number of firms for what they consider bad behavior. Thursday's announcement from the FDA focuses on branded companies that may be trying to delay competition from a generic competitor by blocking access to product samples the other company needs to test its own version of the drug.

From "FDA Calls Out Drug Companies for Blocking Access to Generics"
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Economic Outlook

NAFTA Talks Set to Drag Into Next Year After Missed Deadline

President Trump's attempt to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement appears likely to drag into 2019 after his administration failed to meet a congressional deadline to present a deal to legislators, reports the Financial Times (17 May, Donnan, Webber). U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said Thursday the NAFTA countries are "nowhere close to a deal" and cited "gaping differences" on major issues, but said they will continue to engage in negotiations.

From "NAFTA Talks Set to Drag Into Next Year After Missed Deadline"
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Fox News Names Suzanne Scott its First Female CEO

Suzanne Scott, the longtime programming chief of Fox News, has been named chief executive of the top-rated cable news channel in an executive reorganization. The promotion of Scott comes as part of broader changes throughout Fox News-parent 21st Century Fox in advance of the company's proposed sale of the bulk of its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co. Jack Abernethy, who was co-president, will exit the channel but remain in a senior position at 21st Century Fox as CEO of the Fox Television Stations Group, reports the Wall Street Journal (17 May, Flint). Earlier this week, 21st Century Fox said Lachlan Murdoch would become CEO of the "New Fox" if the Disney deal goes through. Scott currently is the only woman heading a broadcast or cable news operation.

From "Fox News Names Suzanne Scott its First Female CEO"
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