Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und EnergieBMWi), led by federal minister Peter Altmaier, announced a major revision of Germany’s foreign direct investment control regime (FDI Regime) to come into force in 2020, in what would become the third amendment of the FDI Regime since 2017. This announcement was made as part of the introduction of the BMWi’s “National Industry Strategy 2030”. The aim of this new industrial policy is to “protect and regain Germany’s commercial and technical expertise, competitiveness and industrial leadership at national, European and global level”.

Continue Reading Changes to the German Foreign Direct Investment Control Regime Take Shape Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Over the last few weeks, there has been a flurry of activity at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  In addition to imposing filing fees, which we wrote about here, and issuing proposed amendments to broaden the mandatory CFIUS notification requirements, which we wrote about here, CFIUS recently blocked a robotics joint venture in China with no U.S. assets and limited to operations outside the United States, released detailed information regarding the transactions reviewed by CFIUS during 2018 (as well as summary data for transactions reviewed in 2019), and announced a new electronic filing system. Continue Reading CFIUS Blocks Joint Venture Outside the United States, Releases 2018-2019 Data, and Goes Electronic

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely a watershed moment for the traditional structure of America’s business workforce.  Although there is much uncertainty and opaqueness about the future, it seems clear that in the short term “remote” work arrangements – remote from large commercial office complexes and from concentrated city centers – will become more common for a substantial part of the workforce.

In the medium and longer terms, the pandemic may also support trends toward a more gig-based workforce in sectors of the labor market that are not currently significantly gig-based, specifically for workers in white-collar, business service industries.  We lay out below a few of the reasons to anticipate that result and briefly explore the principal legal implications for business.  As virtually all companies are considering the impact of the pandemic on their businesses, and specifically the cost-saving potential tied to remote work where feasible, they should take the opportunity now to also consider the possibility that gig-based workforce trends will impact them and how the steps they take in the short term may influence any such impact.  For many public companies, the trends and issues discussed below fall under the umbrella of human capital management strategy, as to which the board of directors may be expected to exercise oversight.[1] Continue Reading The Gig is Up? COVID-19 & Remote Work Trend Toward Growth in Gig Labor*

On May 21, 2020, the SEC adopted extensive amendments to the rules governing financial disclosures by registrants about businesses they acquire or dispose of. They primarily relate to disclosures required by Rule 3-05 and Article 11 of Regulation S-X in registration statements and periodic reports, and, for the most part, they reduce the burden of preparing historical financial statements and pro forma financial information.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury published a proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) that would significantly broaden the scope of mandatory filing requirements of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) for foreign investments involving U.S. critical technology businesses.

The Proposed Rule abandons the current restriction to specified industries and focuses on whether the target develops, tests, or manufactures critical technologies that would require a license for export—whether or not the critical technologies are exported or sold to third parties at all (e.g., proprietary manufacturing technologies)—to the jurisdiction of the foreign investor and its parent entities, effectively creating different mandatory notification requirements for different countries.

The Proposed Rule would:

  • Expand the CFIUS mandatory critical technology notification requirement to cover foreign investments in all industries, if the target U.S. business develops, tests, or manufactures technology that would require a license or other authorization under any of the four main U.S. export control regimes to export or transfer to any foreign party in the ownership chain of the investors in the transaction.
  • Complicate the mandatory CFIUS notification analysis by requiring parties to identify the export control status of all products, software, and technology produced, designed, tested, manufactured, fabricated, or developed by the U.S. business (whether or not sold to third parties), all jurisdictions relevant to the investors, and the corresponding licensing requirements, potentially introducing significant delays.
  • Provide a significant exemption from the mandatory notification requirement for a wide range of dual-use goods, software, and technology eligible for export to a list of countries thought to pose a low risk of diversion, based on an existing license exception in the export control rules.

The Proposed Rule also clarifies the ownership rules used to determine when an investor linked to a foreign government is required to file with CFIUS for an investment in a sensitive U.S. technology, infrastructure, or data business.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

On May 18, 2020, partners Michael Albano and Jennifer Kennedy Park participated in a webcast hosted by The Conference Board entitled “Reopen Ready: Managing Governance and Legal Risks in the New Normal.” Michael Ullmann, Executive Vice President, General Counsel of Johnson & Johnson, also participated on the panel. Continue Reading Cleary Partners Participate in Panel Discussion on Reopening Considerations

The COVID-19 pandemic has created market conditions ripe for increased cross border investment as businesses scramble for capital and investors target distressed assets.  The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is focused on the trend.  Senior Department of Defense officials have recently and repeatedly stressed the need for the active use of CFIUS reviews to protect against “adversarial capital coming into our markets for nefarious means” during the current economic crisis.  Against this backdrop, U.S. businesses and foreign investors must be mindful of the CFIUS implications of acquisitions and financing transactions (including the exercise of creditors’ rights with respect to distressed companies).  The attached memorandum explores these issues and available approaches to mitigating them.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

While much of the focus today is on restarting segments of the economy and developing action plans to reopen businesses, history outside of corporate America teaches us important lessons on how incentives can play a role in driving effective outcomes.  It shows us that incentives, not just rules, may be the solution businesses need.  Consider the British prisoner dilemma over two centuries ago as a powerful lesson in incentives and how these lessons can be applied to the current pandemic. Continue Reading Incentives in the Pandemic

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) published an interim rule (the “Interim Rule”) implementing the filing fee provisions of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (“FIRRMA”) along the lines set out in Treasury’s proposal of March 9. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) will assess tiered filing fees for all final notifications filed on or after May 1 (whether or not a draft notification was filed before May 1). The Interim Rule is open for public comment until June 1, 2020.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

This is an updated version of our prior post to address Governor Cuomo’s most recent Executive Orders.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo declared a disaster emergency and ceased operation of all non-essential businesses in New York state with the March 7 Executive Order 202 and its successor Executive Orders.  In particular, the March 20th Executive Order 202.8 provided temporary suspension of several state law regulatory requirements, including with respect to shareholder meetings of New York corporations. Continue Reading UPDATE: Cuomo Executive Order Gives New York Corporations Relief on Physical Annual Meetings