Venture Briefing: December 13, 2017 Venture Briefing: December 13, 2017

Venture Briefing: December 13, 2017

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High Court Takes on Procedure Easing Questionable Patents
The Supreme Court appeared divided over the constitutionality of a procedure that makes it easier to challenge questionable patents. The procedure, created by Congress in 2011, resembles a trial in federal court but is conducted by an executive-branch agency.
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-11-27) Read the full article
M&A Activity Strong in 2017, Expected to Keep Pace into 2018
From CVS and Aetna, to Amazon and Whole Foods, 2017 has been a year filled with M&A activity across many industries, a trend that could continue well into next year. In the U.S., 2017 will be the fourth straight year with reported M&A dollar value well above $1 trillion, according to Baird, and all signals point to continued strong deal value and volume in 2018.
(Source: Fox Business, 2017-12-06) Read the full article
First-Time V.C. Funds Increased to 31 Percent of Market in 2017
Venture capital fundraising has seen a slight slowdown in in the first three quarters of 2017 when compared to the same period last year. But first-time venture capital funds represent a larger proportion of total fundraising compared to last year. As of September 2017, first-time venture capital vehicles represented 31 percent of all venture capital funds closed, compared to 25 percent in the same period last year.
(Source: Value Walk, 2017-11-29) Read the full article
House Legislation Lessens Costs for Selling A Small Business
The U.S. House passed a bill to simplify regulations for small business owners who want to sell or merge their companies. This will reduce costs for small businesses.
(Source: Financial Regulation News, 2017-12-11) Read the full article
Employees Afraid to Report Corporate Fraud Over Retaliation Fear
While most corporations are hesitant to admit it, fraud initiated by a company's own employees is quite common -- and incredibly expensive. One of the biggest deterrents to fraud prevention, experts noted in the report, "Encouraging the Reporting of Misconduct," is that often employees fear retaliation in the workplace if they speak out against suspected fraud. This poses a major barrier to fraud detection, the Anti-Fraud Collaboration noted, as employees are the first (and often best) line of defense against fraud.
(Source: PYMNTS.com, 2017-11-28) Read the full article
New SEC Cyber Unit Files First Fraud Charges Against ICO
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said its newly created cyber unit had filed its first charges against an "initial coin offering" (ICO), alleging that a privately held company called PlexCorps and its top two officials had defrauded investors. The SEC said in a statement that it had obtained an emergency order to halt the PlexCorps ICO, which had raised up to $15 million from thousands of investors since August, by falsely promising a 13-fold profit in less than a month.
(Source: Reuters, 2017-12-04) Read the full article
Number of Zombie Directors Continue to Plague Corporate Boards
Public company directors become zombies when they get elected without support from at least half of voting investors. Even though the number of directors losing the vote has fallen since 2015, the portion who sit on the board as zombies, rather than stepping down, has stayed pretty much the same, according to a recent Proxy Insight analysis of U.S.-listed companies.
(Source: Bloomberg BNA, 2017-12-06) Read the full article
Investors Boost P.E. to Women, Minorities Amid Great Performance
Some of the largest institutional investors in the U.S. have increased their allocations to private equity firms owned by women and minorities in recognition of their superior performance, the National Association of Investment Companies reported. However, the total invested with diverse (also called "emerging") managers remains a disproportionately small amount of the whole, according to the report.
(Source: Think Advisor, 2017-11-29) Read the full article
36% of New Corporate Board Seats Went to Women, 20% to Minorities
Women and people of color were picked for a majority of open S&P 500 board seats this year for the first time, due in part to pressure from investors to improve gender and racial disparities. Of 397 independent director slots open in the 2017 proxy season, 36 percent went to women and 20 percent to minorities, according to Spencer Stuart, which has tallied boardroom demographics for 30 years.
(Source: Chicago Tribune, 2017-12-06) Read the full article
Venture Capital Investors Pouring Funds into Marijuana Industry
A growing group of entrepreneurs and investors are trading in high-paid corporate jobs in the technology and finance sectors to launch start-ups focused on the fast-growing marijuana industry. So far in 2017, there have been at least 27 investments by venture capital funds in cannabis companies, compared with just 10 deals in 2016 and nine deals in 2015, according to venture capital data provider CB Insights.
(Source: Reuters, 2017-12-06) Read the full article
 
 
 
Headlines
IRS Issues 2017 Required Amendments List

The Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") issued the 2017 Required Amendments List under IRS Notice 2017-72 on Dec. 5, 2017. The Treasury and the IRS have stated their intent to publish an annual Required Amendments List that generally applies to changes in qualification requirements that become effective on or after January 1 of that year. Read full article online.

 

Franchising: Are You Ready to Expand Your Brand?

As 2017 quickly comes to an end, it’s time to start putting together your business plan and evaluate your goals for 2018. Are you a business owner who has developed a proven model of success? Do you have a recognizable brand? Are you looking to grow your brand and expand? If the answers to these questions are “yes,” you might be ready to take the next step to make your business a franchise. Read full article online.

 

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Ice Miller has been one of the most active law firms in the private equity industry over the last decade, representing both entrepreneurs building great companies and the private equity firms and individuals that invest in them.  We have extensive experience with all types of funds (formations and operations); mezzanine and senior secured financing; leveraged buyouts, roll-ups, build-ups, and consolidations; divestitures and exits; and complex litigation on behalf of investors and privately financed companies.  In addition, over the past 10 years, Ice Miller has represented hundreds of emerging growth businesses in various industries on such matters as entity formation, capitalization, capital raising, alternative financing, intellectual property rights and protection, growth and exit strategies, corporate governance, tax matters, and many other legal issues that are critical to the growth and success of an emerging company.

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This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice.  The reader must consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.
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