George's Feed
May 30, 2012

Delaware struggles to sustain its MERS lawsuit

WILMINGTON, Del, May 30 (Reuters) – Attorneys for the state
of Delaware struggled at a court hearing on Wednesday to keep
alive a closely watched lawsuit against MERS, the electronic
mortgage registry accused of abuses in housing foreclosures.

The state’s lawsuit, announced at press conference in
October, is seen as a test case for addressing concerns that
homes were being seized from defaulted borrowers without
following proper procedures.

May 30, 2012

Martin Marietta’s Vulcan appeal seen as long shot

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) – Martin Marietta Materials Inc (MLM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) may have little chance for success when it goes to Delaware’s Supreme Court on Thursday for what could be a last-gasp attempt to revive its $4.5 billion hostile bid for Vulcan Materials Co (VMC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Martin Marietta, which wants to complete the deal to become the world’s biggest producer of sand, gravel and other construction materials, hopes to reverse a ruling made earlier this month by Delaware’s Court of Chancery. In that decision, Judge Leo Strine blocked the company from pursuing the hostile bid and a proxy contest for four months as punishment for violating confidentiality agreements with Vulcan.

May 25, 2012

Feeding frenzy for lawyers in botched Facebook IPO

By Tom Hals and Dan Levine

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s bungled initial public offering has gone from one of the most highly anticipated stock offerings to a hot legal opportunity for lawyers on both sides of shareholder litigation.

Court battles over the fizzled IPO could run for years, as the social networking company, the banks that took it public and the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc face claims that they short-changed investors.

May 24, 2012

UK watchdog should starve “free” banking

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own)

By George Hay

LONDON, May 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Andrew Bailey has a
point. The UK’s chief bank regulator-in-waiting has taken aim at
one of the peculiarities of Britain’s retail banking system:
customers generally do not pay for services like current
accounts, using cash machines and writing cheques. As Bailey
notes, this perpetuates the UK’s banking oligopoly. It is also
fiendishly difficult to unwind.

May 23, 2012
via Breakingviews

Eurovision a good metaphor for lack of euro vision


By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The euro zone crisis is everywhere. The political and economic plight of Greece and Spain has reached fever pitch. And now awareness of the splintering currency area’s economic realities has reached the Eurovision Song Contest.

May 22, 2012

“Mini-Madoff” ordered to pay ex-partners $35 mln

May 22 (Reuters) – The founder of a hedge fund was found on
Tuesday to have defrauded his former partners and was ordered to
pay them $35 million in a case described by one lawyer as a

James Crombie, a one-time JPMorgan Chase & Co
trader, was ordered by a Delaware Court of Chancery judge to
compensate Peter McConnon and Timothy Lyons for their
contributions to starting Paron Capital Management LLC and for
lost future earnings.

May 18, 2012

Martin Marietta appeal moved to eve of Vulcan meet

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) – Martin Marietta Materials Inc’s (MLM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) appeal of a lower court ruling that halted its $5 billion hostile tender for rival gravel maker Vulcan Materials Co (VMC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was postponed to May 31, the day before a key Vulcan shareholders meeting.

The Delaware Supreme Court had originally scheduled the oral argument for May 25.

May 18, 2012
via Breakingviews

Cyprus’ bank bailout may not be the last


By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Is nomen omen? Last month Cyprus appointed an economist called Panicos Demetriades as central bank governor. On Friday, the euro zone minnow committed to pump 1.8 billion euros, or 10 percent of GDP, into Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) if its second largest lender can’t raise it privately. What’s more, this may just be a holding operation. If Greece quits the euro, Cypriot banks and the state itself will need more help.

May 16, 2012

Greek banks’ twin crutches are rickety

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own)

By George Hay

LONDON, May 16 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Greek banks are in
suspended animation. The stricken state’s lenders had been
waiting for elections on May 6 to deliver not only a new
government, but also much-needed details on how they will be
recapitalised. Instead, domestic political deadlock means they
will have to wait another month for a new election. In the
meantime, deposit flight has accelerated. The country’s
president revealed that depositors had taken 700 million euros
out of the system on Monday alone.

May 14, 2012

Dimon’s ‘stupid’ admission: catnip for lawyers?

WILMINGTON, Del, May 14 (Reuters) – Jamie Dimon sounded more
like a plaintiff’s attorney than a chief executive when he
described JPMorgan Chase & Co over the weekend as
“stupid” and “sloppy” for its $2 billion trading loss.

But for any shareholder seeking to seize on those comments
as grist for a securities lawsuit against the bank and its
executives, it likely will be tough to use Dimon’s words against
him, according to lawyers and legal experts.

    • About George

      "George Hay coordinates European financial coverage and writes about macroeconomics, the euro zone and UK/European financial policy. He covered European banks for Breakingviews during the financial crisis, and has also worked as a correspondent for AFX News and at United Business Media. He attended Edinburgh University and his work has been recognised at the UK’s Business Journalist of the Year Awards. Follow George on Twitter @gfhay"
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