Last week, Netflix announced that it received a Wells notice from the SEC. Apparently, while the SEC was cruising Facebook (what else is there to do while neglecting to investigate Wall Street?), someone noticed Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posting that Netflix had surpassed one billion hours of streaming old episodes of Facts of Life to shut ins.
The SEC staff thinks Hastings disclosed material information in this Facebook post, possibly violating Reg FD, the 2000 regulation that put a stop to companies giving an advantage to small subsets of investors by disclosing material information between blowing rails of coke off strippers.
But Facebook isn’t a seedy strip club full of free drugs and prostitutes (read: Christian Mingle). Reed Hastings has over 200,000 “fans,” many of whom are analysts and reporters. In pursuing enforcement without exercising a little discretion, the SEC ignores these facts.
Netflix is arguing that the disclosure was not material and that most investors knew that the CEO’s Facebook page is recognized as an avenue for public disclosure.
Regardless of the specific resolution of this matter, this is one more reminder that the SEC is woefully behind when it comes to adapting to technological developments. Like, oh I don’t know, HFT perhaps?
* In the 7th grade, we abided by the “one best friend” law, so we could totally pledge our loyalty to just one dog who also definitely wouldn’t steal our boyfriend. [New York Times]
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel admits to an incident of youthful “corruption,” but would you have rather she bartered sexual favors for her driver’s license? We’re letting this slide too. [The Times]
* We hear freshmen housed in state school dorms are joining the lawsuit. [Los Angeles Times]
* Since all of my disposable income after rent, I-Pod upgrades and therapy goes to clothes, I for one can say that status is one of the more noble causes a person can embrace. I mean, honestly, without fashion, 90% of third world kids would be unemployed. [University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog]
* Honor among greedy bastards: Corporate greedy bastards deserve their obscene paychecks, says greedy bastard M&A lawyer Martin Lipton. [Reuters]
[Ed. note: Please note that this post is signed by Stella Q. Some of us were very happy to receive obscene paychecks courtesy of Mr. Lipton. (And if Wachtell Lipton's midyear bonuses are any indication, year-end bonuses at the firm will be especially obscene this year.)]
* “Surfing champion Sunny Garcia… looked gloomy as the sentence was handed down.” Nice. [CNN]
* Justice O’Connor sat by designation on the Ninth Circuit this week. She must have had so much fun the last time she flipped a coin in California , she’s back for more. [San Jose Mercury-News]
* Another swing justice in NoCal. Justice Kennedy: “[T]he verdict on democracy is still out.” Didn’t he give this speech somewhere before? [San Francisco Chronicle]
* “The only thing missing from [Wednesday's] three-judge Third Circuit oral argument panel was any judge from the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.” [How Appealing]
* Busy bees at the SEC: Civil securities-fraud suits against former execs of Delphi Corp. are expected soon. [Wall Street Journal via WSJ Law Blog]
* Poor Dick Grasso. The former New York Stock Exchange chairman must return about $100 million of his $139.5 million payout. [New York Times]
* A federal judge has ordered that Vice President Dick Cheney’s visitor logs be opened. There’s at least one name that won’t be on there. [Associated Press]
* Justice Department lawyers have lost their Federal Circuit appeal in their long-running class action suit for overtime pay. Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be DOJ attorneys. [Washington Post]
* The Ninth Circuit has ruled against a freelance journalist and blogger who refused to testify to a grand jury or turn over video footage he took of a violent protest at last summer’s G8 summit. The journalist, Josh Wolf, will seek an en banc rehearing. [New York Times]
* The latest news in Spitzer v. Grasso: Dick Grasso’s looking for a new judge, baby, a new judge. Eliot Spitzer is looking for a way to make his eyes look less beady. [Wall Street Journal via WSJ Law Blog]
* The fellow we mentioned yesterday, who had sex with his 14-year-old sister, has lost his suit to keep his identity off Virginia’s online sex offender registry. [Washington Post via How Appealing]
* Not directly related to the law, but interesting: Harvard University is ending its early admissions program next year. (And it has an indirect connection to the law, insofar as it might affect the educational paths of future lawyers.) [Wall Street Journal]
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.