A sign is displayed on the Morgan Stanley building in New York U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
March 21, 2019
By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley was ranked as the top adviser to companies targeted by activist investors publicly for the third straight year in 2018 while Goldman Sachs vaulted past two competitors to the number No. 2 spot, according to Refinitiv data published on Thursday.
In 2018, Morgan Stanley advised on 22 campaigns, working with Akamai Technologies, SandRidge Energy and Cigna when those companies faced pressure from prominent agitators such as Elliott Management and Carl Icahn, the data showed.
Unlike announced mergers and acquisitions, many companies that fend off activists do so quietly and do not want their advisers making the situations public. This can create discrepancies in the data gathered in the league tables.
Goldman Sachs advised on 18 public campaigns in 2018. In 2017 Goldman advised on six public deals, trailing Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Raymond James, claiming the fourth spot, Refinitiv data shows.
Lazard dropped to the number three spot in 2018, advising 16 companies. In 2017, a less busy year overall, Lazard advised 14 companies.
Spotlight Advisors, founded by Greg Taxin, a lawyer who worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Banc of America Securities, made its first appearance on the list, capturing the No. 4 four spot ahead of UBS, Citi, Raymond James, Credit Suisse and Moelis & Co.
Activists were busier than ever last year and launched 500 campaigns, 5 percent more than in 2017. They pushed companies to spin off divisions and asked for board seats, among other demands.
Consumer cyclical companies were the most heavily targeted last year, Refinitiv said, with 90 campaigns in the sector. One prominent campaign was at Campbell Soup Co, where Daniel Loeb’s Third Point tried to replace all directors and initially pushed for a sale of the company.
Elliott Management, which launched campaigns at BHP Billiton Ltd, Qualcomm Inc, Bayer AG and Pernod Ricard last year, was ranked as the busiest activist, having launched 27 campaigns in 2018.
It beat out GAMCO Investors for the top spot.
Starboard Value, ranked as the third-busiest activist with 11 campaigns in 2018.
Innisfree and Okapi were the top proxy solicitors, firms hired to gather shareholders’ votes, while Olshan Frome Wolosky beat out two competitors to rank as the busiest law firm with 101 mandates working for activists.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Dan Grebler)
A Qualcomm sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song
March 21, 2019
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s antitrust regulator has lowered a decade-old penalty imposed on U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc by 18 percent to $200 million, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said on Thursday.
The cut comes after the Supreme Court in January overturned one of several lower court rulings against the U.S. firm for abusing its dominant market position.
In 2009, the KFTC fined Qualcomm 273 billion won ($242.6 million) for abusing its market power in CDMA modem and radio frequency chips, which were then used in handsets made by South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and LG Electronics Inc.
The KFTC said it had reset the penalty to reflect the Supreme Court’s ruling, adding however that a “monopolist enterprise’s abuse of its market position cannot be tolerated”.
The fine is the latest in a series of antitrust rulings and investigations faced by Qualcomm from regulators across the globe.
In a separate case, the South Korean regulator fined Qualcomm $854 million in 2016 for what it called unfair business practices in patent licensing and modem chip sales.
Qualcomm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Ju-min Park; additional reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Stephen Coates)
An Apple company logo is seen behind tree branches outside an Apple store in Beijing, China December 14, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee
March 15, 2019
(Reuters) – Mobile phone chip supplier Qualcomm Inc on Friday won a legal victory against iPhone maker Apple Inc, with a jury in federal court in San Diego finding that Apple owes Qualcomm about $31 million for infringing three of its patents.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qualcomm last year sued Apple alleging it had violated patents related to helping mobile phones get better battery life. During an eight-day jury trial, Qualcomm asked the jury to award it unpaid patent royalties of up to $1.41 per iPhone that violated the patents.
The case is part of a series of lawsuits around the world between the companies. Apple has alleged that Qualcomm engaged in illegal patent practices to protect a dominant position in the chip market, and Qualcomm has accused Apple of using its technology without compensation.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Richard Chang)
FILE PHOTO: A woman holds her phone near an Apple company logo in Beijing, China December 14, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee
March 15, 2019
By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm Inc owes Apple Inc nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebate payments, though the decision is unlikely to result in Qualcomm writing a check to Apple because of other developments in the dispute.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Thursday ruled that Qualcomm, the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone chips, was obligated to pay nearly $1 billion in rebate payments to Apple, which for years used Qualcomm’s modem chips to connect iPhones to wireless data networks.
The payments were part of a business cooperation agreement between the two companies amid the peculiar patent licensing practices of the consumer electronics industry.
In general, the contract factories that built Apple’s iPhones would pay Qualcomm billions of dollars per year for the use of Qualcomm’s patented technology in iPhones, a cost that Apple would reimburse the contract factories for. Separately, Qualcomm and Apple had a cooperation agreement under which Qualcomm would pay Apple a rebate on the iPhone patent payments if Apple agreed not to attack in court or with regulators.
In a lawsuit filed two years ago, Apple sued Qualcomm, alleging that the chip supplier had broken the cooperation agreement by not paying nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebates.
Qualcomm in turn alleged that it stopped paying the rebate payments because Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making “false and misleading” statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which was investigating Qualcomm over antitrust allegations. Apple responded that it was making lawful responses to regulators in an ongoing investigation.
Judge Curiel sided with Apple, ruling that Qualcomm owed the missed rebate payments.
“Qualcomm’s illegal business practices are harming Apple and the entire industry,” Apple said in a statement.
Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, told Reuters in a statement, “Although the Court today did not view Apple’s conduct as a breach of Apple’s promises to Qualcomm in the 2013 Business Cooperation and Patent Agreement, the exposure of Apple’s role in these events is a welcome development.”
The decision will not become final until after the trial in the case, which begins next month. And it is unlikely that Qualcomm will make a new payment to Apple.
Apple’s contract factories, which under normal circumstances would pay Qualcomm for patent royalties owed on iPhones, have already withheld the nearly $1 billion in payments to Qualcomm. Qualcomm’s Rosenberg said those withheld iPhone payments have already been accounted for in Qualcomm’s existing financial statements.
“Apple has already offset the payment at issue under the agreement against royalties that were owed to Qualcomm,” Qualcomm’s Rosenberg told Reuters.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)