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Venture capital funds sitting on pile of cash Venture capital firms are sitting on an estimated $68 billion in funds that they have yet to invest in start-up companies, according to a new survey. The giant uninvested pot, along with signs that venture capitalists are once again in a spending mood, are the latest rays of hope in the ravaged start-up sector. The amount of money raised by venture capital funds has plummeted during the last several years. According to VentureOne, the industry research firm that conducted the survey, venture capital funds raised a little more than $8 billion last year compared to the high-water mark in 2000, when they raised some $83 billion. But of the $83 billion raised in 2000, the funds have still not invested 25% of the money. And more than half of venture capital money raised in 2001 is still on the table. The result is an “overhang” of $68 billion, which is expected to be plowed into fledgling companies over the next couple of years. $400M and counting With awards last week of more than $123 million, a federal judge in Delaware has to date awarded nearly $400 million to a trio of banks in their disputes with Royal Indemnity Co., the U.S. subsidiary of the London-based insurer Royal & SunAlliance, over its refusal to cover defaulted student loans. The ruling in MBIA Insurance Corp. v. Royal Indemnity was a victory for David H. Pittinsky and Lawrence D. Berger of Philadelphia’s Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, whose client, PNC Bank, was awarded $110.4 million-a sum that Pittinsky said would grow to at least $114 million because the judge also included “any additional sums” that become due under the policy. In a 23-page opinion handed down on March 26, U.S. District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. rejected Royal Indemnity’s claim that it was entitled to deny coverage on the ground that the policies were procured through fraud. New legal chief for troubled Freddie Mac Freddie Mac is coping with the fallout from a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal that has forced the departure of much of its corporate brass and put the mortgage dealer on the political hot seat. Enter Ralph Boyd Jr., a one-time federal prosecutor and former high-ranking appointee of President Bush, who began last week as the new chief of the Federal Home Mortgage Corp.’s lobbying and legal department. The 47-year-old former partner in Atlanta’s Alston & Bird knows how to manage controversial situations. He spent two years in the spotlight as chief of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and faced criticism that he weakened civil rights enforcement. That experience, coupled with his ties to the Bush administration, may help him build political bridges for Freddie Mac. Boyd inherits a long list of troubles. The company, after conceding that it had lowered company earnings by almost $5 billion from 2000 to 2002 in order to please Wall Street, in December agreed to pay a $125 million civil fine to its regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. IP legal giants share Biotech giant Amgen Inc.’s $1.3 billion purchase of Tularik Inc. brought two Los Angeles law firm competitors to the same side of the table. Latham & Watkins and Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker both guided Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, through its acquisition of Tularik, a South San Francisco biotechnology research and development outfit. Across the table from the tag-team law firms was Cooley Godward of Palo Alto, Calif., representing Tularik in the stock-swap transaction. Pairings such as Latham & Watkins and Paul Hastings are becoming increasingly common, particularly on deals involving intellectual property issues, said Kate Patterson of Patterson Davis Consulting. “As deals in tech companies become more complex, so do the demands on the firms who represent them.” Stanford gets Lemley Renowned intellectual property professor Mark Lemley is leaving the University of California, Berkeley School of Law for Stanford Law School in June. Lemley was a visiting professor at Stanford last fall, and soon after his term ended, Kathleen M. Sullivan, dean of the law school, asked him if he would join the faculty. He will become director of Stanford’s Center for Law, Science & Technology, succeeding Margaret Jane Radin. The center is an umbrella organization that encompasses the Center for Internet and Society, the Center for Law and the Biosciences and the Center for E-Commerce. He will also continue to spend some time as of counsel at Keker & Van Nest of San Francisco. The 37-year-old Lemley joined the University of California in 1999 and has been one of five directors of its Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.

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