The global oil industry started to show signs of recovery in early 2017, as multinationals such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil cut costs amidst rising oil prices to generate enough cash to pay dividends without borrowing. Following a wave of cost reductions and capital project deferrals, companies in the industry seem well placed to benefit from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) agreement to cut production in order to eliminate global oversupply and increase prices.
Avis, a unit of the Avis Budget Group, recently adopted a poison pill over concerns about creeping control. On January 23, the car rental service instituted the poison pill to block hedge fund SRS Investment (“SRS”) from obtaining more than 10 percent voting power. SRS is Avis’s largest shareholder with a 28.5 percent interest in the company—a majority of which is composed of cash-settled derivatives and options. The hedge fund currently owns 9.7 percent of the common stock and recently chose not to renew a deal from last January that precluded it from adding to its current interest.
Since 2009, Sergey Aleynikov, a former computer programmer for Goldman Sachs, has been fighting a long legal battle that stems from whether the proprietary code taken from his former employer, Goldman Sachs, constitutes “tangible” property as defined by the NY penal code for the unlawful use of secret scientific material (Penal Law §165.07). The reason for all this confusion is that the penal law was created before the advent of computers.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group, filed a lawsuit last week alleging that President Trump is violating the Foreign Emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. Backed by a team of prominent constitutional scholars, former White House ethics lawyers, and Supreme Court litigators, the suit claims President Trump is in violation by allowing his businesses and hotels to accept payments from foreign governments.
Insurance giant Aetna’s $37 billion deal to buy competitor insurer Humana was recently blocked by a federal judge on antitrust grounds, breaking up one of two current major health insurance mergers. Aetna, who would have to pay Humana a $1 billion breakup fee, has stated that it is considering an appeal.
In a regulatory filing on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation revealed its plan to sell 50 million Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2020. The shares will be sold through a 10b5-1 program, designed to protect executives from the appearance of insider training by allowing owners to trade a fixed number of shares at designated intervals. This plan will replace a three-year program set to expire on June 30, 2017.
According to a new study, less-than-nationally-known law schools may offer students a return on their investment that is comparable to that of better known schools. This study was released by SoFi, a company known for refinancing student loans online. SoFi’s finding is a shock to the long-held assumption that taking on a high debt load is only worth it if the student is attending an elite law school. The report is titled “Return on Education (ROED) Law School Rankings” and considers the debt-to-salary ratio of law students. Yale Law School students, for example, have an average debt of $123,793 and earn a salary of $171,779. A University of Texas law student has the same debt-to-salary ratio, with an average debt of $105,254 and an average salary of $147,444. It is surprising that both schools have a debt-to-salary ratio of 1.4, considering that U.S. News ranks Yale Law School as the top law school in the U.S., while University of Texas is ranked 15th.
In a time where corporate diversity is a hot topic but executives do not follow through, Starbucks is continuing to prove that it is at the forefront of key issues. The international coffee giant’s founder and chairman, Howard Schultz, has served as a pioneer in the industry. He has engaged in national conversations about issues like student debt and race relations, positioned the company as an innovative technology-driven business, and most recently, nominated three diverse candidates to the Starbucks Board of Directors.
Navient is the largest student loan servicer in the country. It has serviced over twelve million students with loans totaling over three hundred billion dollars. Navient operates under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education and provides services for both public and private loans.