A NEW HOPE
The Walt Disney Co. said that it has reached an agreement with filmmaker George Lucas, who created the Star Wars film franchise, to purchase the entertainment company Lucasfilm Ltd. in a deal worth roughly $4.05 billion. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is advising Disney. Lucasfilm, meanwhile, has turned to Latham & Watkins.
A HEALTHY MERGER
Bayer HealthCare, a subsidiary of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer A.G., said it has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to acquire Salt Lake City-based Schiff Nutrition International, which makes vitamins and nutritional supplements including Airborne. The deal values Schiff at $34 per share, which represents a 47 percent premium over the company’s October 26 closing price.
BIG TOBACCO FIGHTS LABELS
Lawyers for major tobacco companies said last week they do not want the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to touch a panel’s ruling that went against the government’s controversial graphic warning-labels requirement. Last week, lawyers for tobacco companies urged the D.C. Circuit not to tangle with a panel decision in August that ruled against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s requirement that cigarette packs carry graphic images that depict the dangers of smoking.
PARTIES GIVEN CIVICS LESSON
Democratic and Republican political committees should not be allowed to keep $1.6 million in donations from R. Allen Stanford and his companies. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has affirmed a district court judgment that granted summary judgment in favor of Ralph S. Janvey, the court-appointed receiver tasked with recovering Stanford assets.
ORRICK’S NEW LEADER
With its choice of Mitchell Zuklie as its new chairman, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has turned to a Silicon Valley-based partner to assume its leadership. The announcement capped an 18-month search for a replacement for longtime chairman Ralph Baxter, who transformed Orrick from a 250-lawyer regional firm to a 1,100-lawyer international operation.
ARGENTINA LOSES AGAIN
Argentina lost its long battle against bond holdouts in the U.S. courts when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected every argument it made against paying $1.33 billion to investors who refused to accept as little as 25 cents on the dollar for the country’s defaulted debt. The circuit rejected a dozen appeals Argentina had filed over the years, and ordered the country to pay holdouts an equal amount whenever it makes payments on other debt restructured since the country’s economic collapse a decade ago.
The New York state high court has upheld the civil commitment of a chronic sex offender, with three judges deeply troubled over the potential to indefinitely lock up wrongdoers based only on a hazy diagnosis of mental abnormality. The four-judge majority of the New York Court of Appeals concluded that psychologists’ findings that the defendant has “paraphelia not otherwise specified” and an anti-social personality disorder was sufficient to warrant civil confinement.