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What business owners should know about reverse mergers

Texas companies may be able to use a reverse merger to transition from a private company to a public one. This is done by trading its shares with those of a public shell company. A shell company can be registered with the SEC prior to the reverse merger taking place. One of the benefits of this strategy is that a company doesn't have to raise capital to go public.

There is also less risk that the deal will be cancelled because of unfavorable stock market conditions. When a company goes public, it enjoys greater liquidity and may trade at a higher multiple compared to a private company. Initial investors may be able to cash out or otherwise get the benefit of additional liquidity for their investment. However, in such a transaction, it is important to determine that the shell company is not tainted in any way.

Netflix sues Relativity Media over contract breach

Netflix subscribers in Texas may be interested to learn that the streaming giant has filed a lawsuit against Relativity Media, alleging that the studio breached an exclusivity contract when some of its content landed on competing streaming services. Relativity is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings in New York.

According to the complaint, Netflix paid $9.6 million for exclusive rights to stream the films "Beyond the Lights," "The Lazarus Effect" and "The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death." It also paid $2.9 million to stream the movies "And So It Goes" and "Hector and the Search for Happiness." However, competitors Amazon and Starz also ended up landing rights to the films.

Fighting over an estate? These probate tips can help

There is nothing worse than the thought of fighting over an estate after a loved one has passed on. Unfortunately, it's not out of the question that you could find yourself in this position at some point.

If the time comes, you need to understand how the probate process works, where you fit in and the steps you can take to put yourself in position to feel good about the end result.

Targeting strategic buyers

Entrepreneurs in Texas can take certain steps to position their businesses for acquisition. By targeting strategic buyers, such as a competing business, another company in a related industry, or a larger business in the same industry, entrepreneurs can reap more than one benefit.

Strategic buyers tend to focus on acquisitions that can enhance the operations, products or services of businesses that they already own or work for. As a result, they are able to receive better returns on the investments they make. This often leads them to pay more for their acquisitions.

Strategies to limit the chance of a construction contract dispute

Construction companies in Texas rely on contracts to establish the terms for price, schedule and building standards when setting up a project with investors. Many situations could cause a contract dispute to flare up, leading to minor delays or snowballing into costly breaches of contract. Most problems arise from the parties misunderstanding a contract, experiencing delays, failing to administer a contract or making unsubstantiated claims against other parties. Before any ground is broken, builders and investors can take proactive steps to reduce the possibility of misunderstandings and disputes.

Planning for success and the possibility of dispute could create an agreement that allows the parties to complete the project without significant disruption. At a minimum, each party should read the contract carefully and gain a full understanding of its terms. When a clause is unclear, the parties should strive to clarify the issue before executing the contract.

How to handle a fiduciary breach in Texas

A person or entity is said to have a fiduciary duty if they're obligated to act in another party's best interest. If that person or entity fails to do so, they have breached their duties. Examples of a fiduciary include an attorney representing a client or a corporate officer representing a shareholder. It is important to note that this relationship must exist in accordance with applicable laws.

Such a relationship can either be established informally, through a statute, or formally by the terms of a written contract. For example, a breach can take place if a fiduciary withholds information prior to taking an action on behalf of whomever they owe a duty to. To prove that a breach happened, it must first be shown that there was a duty of full disclosure or loyalty owed, depending on the facts of the case. It must then be shown that a breach of that duty occurred and that it resulted in financial damages.

Desilu lawsuit highlights relevance of historic IP

Texas entrepreneurs may often find that their intellectual property can be the most valuable part of their enterprise. From the trade name and logo of a business with high levels of goodwill, to the information systems that power a tech business, IP issues can be decisive in a business's success or failure. In addition, historical intellectual property can be particularly important, both for the current value of the income it produces as well as the positive associations that it is able to create.

Desilu Studios is one such example. The company was originally created by classic stars Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, and it produced famous television shows like "I Love Lucy," "The Lucy Show" and even "Star Trek." After Ball bought the company for herself, she sold it to Gulf & Western Industries, which later became Paramount Pictures. Later on, the Desilu company was dissolved and integrated into Paramount, which then became part of CBS upon its acquisition of Paramount's television properties.

Do you need a cease and desist order?

As a small business owner here in Austin, there may come a point where you find yourself the subject of a baseless harassment campaign. Perhaps you had a particularly acrimonious parting with a now-disgruntled former employee who started bad-mouthing you to all and sundry.

Alternatively, a dispute with a customer may have taken a wrong turn, causing him or her to defame your good name and the stellar reputation of your business. If something similar occurred with you, it's vital that you understand that there are legal remedies available to you.

What an executor should know about his or her role

Texas residents who have been selected to be the executor of an estate must complete several tasks. For instance, it will be necessary to obtain a copy of any existing will and submit it to the proper court. The executor will also need to account for and locate the entirety of the deceased person's estate, and this could mean searching a home for hidden assets.

After business and personal assets have been found, it is the executor's responsibility to safeguard them. It may also be that person's duty to manage any rental properties that the deceased person owned at the time of his or her death. In some cases, assets will also need to be appraised to determine their current value. If claims have been made against the estate, the valid ones will need to be paid while those that are questionable can be defended against in court.

Protecting intellectual property is critical for tech industry business development

Intellectual property can be a major concern for entrepreneurs and inventors in Texas and across the country. This is especially true for anyone developing software or other tech startups, as the technology industry is driven by the value of intellectual property. Well-known disputes over copyrights, trademarks, patents and other IP issues have resulted in long-running business litigation involving major players in the industry. Due to the high value of tech IP, handling the transfer of copyrights and patents as well as assessing their value can be some of the most critical aspects for evaluating a potential merger or acquisition.

When considering an investment or acquisition of a startup, a thorough review of your company's own intellectual property as well as that of any potential partner can be particularly critical. It is important that no gaps in ownership are left that could lead to later disputes, especially after a buyout or merger has driven up the value of the IP involved. Business litigation involving intellectual property has become a hallmark of the modern tech industry as major players like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft have battled with each other over copyrights, patents and trade secrets.

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