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MoFo Tech

A blog dedicated to information, trend spotting & analysis for science- & tech-based companies

A Yen for Israeli Technology

While Japanese companies have been investing in Israel for the past two decades, M&A activity has picked up significantly, concentrated in the science and technology (S&T) sectors.

 “Japanese investors have traditionally taken a low-key, under-the-radar approach with Israel, typically conducting ‘silent investments’ to keep deals from their competitors’ knowledge,” says Tokyo-based Morrison & Foerster partner Randy Steven Laxer, co-chair of the firm’s Global Corporate Department. “The trend now, however, is toward a more open and enthusiastic approach.” Continue Reading

Takeover Makeover

A New Breed of Activist is Attracted to Tech and Life Sciences Companies

First there were the pirates of the 1980s and their swashbuckling raids of RJR Nabisco and other corporate booty. In the 1990s, blue chip companies legitimized the use of hostile M&A as a credible corporate strategy. Then came the mid-2000s wave of disruptive hedge fund activism. Today, shareholder activism is alive and well, though in shrewder forms.

 “With activism now its own asset class—one that is outperforming the stock market and many other asset classes—activist hedge funds remain focused on the takeover front and M&A transactions,” asserts Morrison & Foerster securities partner David Lynn. Continue Reading

Payments Hit the Road

With New Devices Making Mobile Payments Easier, Banks Are Getting A Run For Their Money

With New Devices Making Mobile Payments Easier, Banks Are Getting A Run For Their Money

The advent of mobile payments is changing consumers’ lives—and reshaping the competitive landscape for the companies that provide payments services to merchants.

Several new companies now offer solutions that use smartphones with small attached card readers or QR codes to accept payments. This gives merchants an easy, inexpensive way to get into mobile payments. As a result, these companies may soon be competing with traditional payments providers, such as banks, for merchants’ business. “These new non-bank providers are making the payment space a lot more competitive,” says Obrea Poindexter, a partner at Morrison & Foerster. Continue Reading

Wiped Out

If you thought Google was the only organization affected by the European Court of Justice’s May decision honoring a Spanish man’s right to have a newspaper story about him erased from its search rankings, you’d be wrong. In fact, following the court’s reasoning, other companies with European operations that republish third-party content—including databases, content aggregators, and social media users—may need to pay attention, says Karin Retzer, a partner with Morrison & Foerster in Brussels.

Under European data privacy laws, individuals may be able to request erasure of information not only if it was unlawful or incorrect but also if it was “inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant,” “excessive,” or not up to date. The ruling creates a quandary for organizations receiving erasure requests: erase information that readers may find interesting, or face possible legal action. The wisest course may be to assess each request on a case-bycase basis at this point, Retzer says. When Google set up a formal channel for individuals’ requests to be “forgotten,” it got 12,000 such requests—on its first day.


Entangled in the Web of Things

By finding new uses for data, the Internet of Things heralds a host of challenges

Within a decade, analysts say, the “Internet of Things” will have transformed our lives. Billions of Internet-connected devices will monitor our homes, businesses, cars, and even our bodies, using the data to manage everything from appliances to heart monitors. Companies like Google— which recently paid $3.2 billion for smart-thermostat company Nest Labs—are already racing to build the IoT. But businesses face fundamental questions regarding the ownership of data, protecting customer privacy, liability when devices fail, and more.

Continue Reading