August 22, 2009
Business Law Prof Wanted - University of Arizona
The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law anticipates hiring several new lateral and entry-level faculty members over the coming year. Our goal is to find outstanding scholars and teachers who can bring new perspectives to extend the existing strengths of the law school and the University of Arizona.
We are interested in all persons of high academic achievement and
promise, and wish to enhance the diversity of our faculty by including among
our candidates persons of all races, cultural backgrounds, genders, creeds,
ages, as well as members of other groups that traditionally have been
underrepresented in the legal profession. We will consider applicants in a wide
variety of subject areas, but we are particularly interested in hiring people
with established interests and experience in tort law, commercial law,
corporations/securities regulation, and patent law (including law and science).
Appointment and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Candidates should send resumes, descriptions of areas of interest,
and representative works, to:
Chair, Appointments Committee
The University of Arizona
James E. Roger College of Law
1201 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85721
August 21, 2009
It’s not news to anyone who loves sports that Sam Zell’s Tribune Co. has been in negotiations to sell the Cubs to the Rickett family since 2007. Given the obvious White Sox-bias of the current administration in DC there wasn’t much hope that Zell was going to get any bailout money to sweeten the pot, so in the end, he did the deal with the Rickettsfor $845 million. The deal includes Wrigley Stadium as well as 25% of the local Comcast sports network.
Acquisitions of sports teams are interesting for a couple of reasons. First, all of the transactions involve change in control conditions with real bite. The league – i.e. other owners – has to approve any transfer of control of a franchise. This makes any sale a clubby affair. If the other owners are unhappy with the identity of the purchaser or if the terms of the sale somehow set a precedent that causes fellow owners to hesitate, the deal can die. So negotiations with the seller often have to involve the league and other owners very early on.
Second, all these transactions involve ball parks in one way or another. Ball parks are large “specific assets.” Specific assets are assets that have value when used in one way, but then lose all their value if they are put to another use. Every try to hold an academic conference in a baseball stadium? Right, it’s not going to happen. You can’t even play soccer in a baseball stadium. A baseball stadium, particularly a big one like Wrigley has only one economic use and that’s as a baseball stadium for the Cubs. Separating ownership of the stadium from the team is hard to do. In fact, when it happens more often than not ownership passes to a public entity. Here's a paper by Mildner and Strathman with some data on stadium ownership in baseball and the NBA over the past few decades.
The specificity of the assets involved in sports transactions makes this kind of deal a perfect one for a Deals class. (I’ll write more about Deals classes next week after the semester starts.)
August 19, 2009
Travis Laster Nominated to Delaware Chancery Court
Governor Markell's nominating statement follows below:
Markell Announces He Will Nominate J. Travis Laster To Serve On The Court of Chancery
Wilmington Lawyer Spent His Career Litigating High-Stakes Disputes Before the Court
WILMINGTON – Governor Jack Markell announced Tuesday that he will nominate J. Travis Laster, a Wilmington attorney, to serve as Vice Chancellor on Delaware’s Court of Chancery.
“Travis Laster has spent his career litigating in front of the Court of Chancery, and has developed an outstanding reputation for his intelligence and integrity,” said Markell. “If confirmed, I think he will be a great addition to a court known for its professionalism, its hard work, and its leadership in matters of corporate law.”
Laster, a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia Law School, currently practices with Abrams & Laster, a law firm he helped create in 2005. Before founding Abrams & Laster, Laster practiced with Richards, Layton & Finger. Laster will be nominated to fill the Vice Chancellor seat vacated by the Honorable Stephen P. Lamb upon his retirement.
“I am honored to be nominated by Governor Markell,” Laster said. “I have profound respect for the Court of Chancery and for the many jurists who have given that court its national reputation for excellence. If confirmed, I hope to contribute to the court’s tradition.”
It's Alive - Update from the Hummer Deal
OK, so I thought this deal would never really happen. I thought maybe that the Chinese government would have the good sense to look at some of the recent offshore acquisitions by Chinese companies and decide that wasting foreign exchange on bad deals is perhaps not the best way to reduce their excess of foreign reserves. Well, I'm man enough so it looks like some form of this deal will actually happen. Now, it's at a reduced price - $170 million. But, Tengzhong Heavy has hired the former president of international business of the Chinese car manufacturer Chery. Chery signed a deal with Chrysler in 2007 to export low cost cars to the US, so this guy has real car experience. He'll open and then run a sales division in Shanghai. A sales division? I guess that's like a big dealership.