The Week at Ropes & Gray: Robust Deal Activity Around the World; Another Win for LGBTQ Rights; Developments in Health Care Fraud Enforcement; and Examining the SEC’s Comment Letter Process
Weekly highlights of what’s happening at Ropes & Gray:
- Our clients continue to see robust deal activity with transactions around the world. Bain Capital announced two more deals this week, bringing its two-week total to five. On Oct. 11, Bain Capital announced the acquisition of U.K.-based HR software provider NGA UK from NGA Human Resources, and on Oct. 10, Bain also announced a $1.3 billion tender offer for Asatsu DK. Earlier this fall, our teams advised Bain on one of the biggest deals in Asia buyout history: the sale of Toshiba’s memory chip business. In Asia, cross-office teams have advised on the €2.27 billion sale of Carver Korea to Unilever and the 49 percent sale of mushroom producer Yukiguni Maitake to a Japanese food company. And in the U.K., new client Bridgepoint Development Capital turned to our London office for guidance on its sale of Inspired Thinking Group (ITG), a U.K.-headquartered, technology-led provider of outsourced marketing services, to Equistone Partners Europe. Bridgepoint is the fifth new client for the firm’s London private equity team announced since June 2017.
- More good news for our London offices arrived on Oct. 11 when The Legal 500 UK released new rankings. Of our U.K.-based attorneys, 31 were individually recommended, including eight who were also named to the elite “Leading Lawyers” list. Ropes & Gray was ranked in 16 categories.
- The fight for LGBTQ rights marked another milestone with a settlement in a landmark federal lawsuit challenging Utah laws restricting talk about homosexuality in the state’s classrooms. As a direct result of the lawsuit, filed by Equality Utah and three Utah public school students in Oct. 2016, the Utah State Board of Education has now revised its regulations to permit discussions regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual
,and transgender people, and agreed to take the additional step of clarifying that all manner of discrimination targeting Utah students is unacceptable. Equality Utah was represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Ropes & Gray on a pro bono basis. “The State of Utah and Utah State Board of Education made the right choice by taking action to ensure that every student has equal worth, and to recognize that the state has no right to censor the important conversations that take place in its schools,” said Ropes & Gray appellate & Supreme Court partner Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, who led our team.
- In July, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois announced a new unit to prosecute criminal health care fraud violations, following in the footsteps of similar units in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Miami. To share insights into this shift in the Northern District of Illinois’s health care enforcement priorities, The Legal 500 hosted a Health Care Fraud Enforcement Summit in Chicago that featured a panel discussion with health care practice group co-chair Deborah Gersh and government enforcement partner Laura Hoey. This topic was also examined in a recent Ropes & Gray alert. A few days later, Ms. Hoey spoke on a panel about global health care enforcement trends at the American Bar Association’s Sixth Annual London White Collar Crime Institute.
- The year-end reporting season is almost here. In a webcast produced by Ernst & Young, Keith Higgins, chair of Ropes & Gray’s securities & governance practice, joins a panel of fellow former SEC staff to examine the SEC’s comment letter process. Mr. Higgins also recently published an article in Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation titled, “Finding Common Ground on Shareholder Proposals,” which examines a number of suggestions for improving the shareholder proposal process without undermining the rights the shareholder proposal rule provides.
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