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Sep 1, 2016

DealBook | Today's News on September 1, 2016: Female Lawyers Challenge Gender Bias, Potential for Banking Mergers, Abbot and Alere Point Fingers and a Silicon Dream Collapses

The New York Times

By Amie Tsang

“Women are no longer going to be cowed into believing that they have to stay silent or suffer the label that says ‘undesirable colleague.’” — Michele Coleman Mayes, chairwoman of the American Bar Association’s commission on women in the profession.
Unequal pay for women has been an issue in Hollywood and Silicon Valley as well as for the United States soccer team, and now lawyers are increasingly pushing back — challenging their employers and accusing them of favoring men.
When Kerrie L. Campbell approached the management at her law firm, Chadbourne & Parke, and said that other colleagues with a similar client revenue were being paid more than her, they responded by telling her that her 2014 revenue was a “fluke.”
In February, the managing partner told her that her practice no longer fit the firm’s goals. She said she was given a departure deadline and her pay was reduced to that of an entry-level associate with no benefits.
Now she is suing, asking for a total of $100 million on behalf of herself and other female partners who she says receive less pay than male partners even when they bring in more revenue. This comes after other major suits against firms like Sedgwick and Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo. Chadbourne says that Ms. Campbell’s suit is baseless.
The Time is Ripe for European Bank Mergers
Europe’s banks have become more secure since the finanical crisis, but also less profitable. So what’s the solution? According to the chief of Deutsche Bank, John Cryan, it’s more consolidation.
Although Mr. Cryan responded to reports that Deutsche Bank had considered a potential merger with Commerzbank by saying that his bank was not considering large mergers any time soon, he said that more mergers were needed across Germany and Europe to improve profitability.
Germany’s banking market is indeed fragmented and without the benefits of scale, low interest rates will bite. Even if Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank do not belong together, other combinations may not be long in the making, Breakingviews contends.
What Happened Between Abbott and Alere?
After plenty of finger-pointing from both sides, the fate of Abbott Laboratories’ $5.8 billion acquisition of Alere rests with a judge.
Alere filed a lawsuit saying Abbott had suffered from buyer’s remorse. It accused Abbott executives of vowing to make life difficult unless Abbott was allowed to walk away.
Abbott had also signed a deal to buy St. Jude Medical for $25 billion — a deal that, with the acquisition of Alere, would put a huge strain on its balance sheet. It blamed Alere for filing its annual report late, thus preventing Abbott from reviewing its finances and delaying regulatory approval attempts.
Alere is now asking to speed up proceedings for the case, which Abbott has called a publicity stunt.
The Collapse of a Silicon Dream
Another tiny start-up bites the dust in Silicon Valley. It should be just another failure that illustrates the reality of trying to make it as an entrepreneur. And yet, Silicon Valley is gripped by the implosion of the start-up, WrkRiot, which aimed to help people find jobs online.
The unraveling has been documented by its former head of marketing, who wrote about how she was “scammed,” describing the internal chaos and accusing the founder, Isaac Choi, of forgery. Mr. Choi’s credentials are also being questioned.
Mr. Choi said his company was like any company. “If you want to talk start-ups, all start-ups have problems,” he said. But people are still fascinated to hear about the struggle to survive in the tech industry’s dysfunctional underbelly. And so are we. If you have a start-up story, share it with us here.
Coming Up
• The latest report on car sales is expected to show some softening in recent months.
• Economists expect the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index to slip slightly.
Tesla and SolarCity Face Cash Crunch
Both companies are facing cash squeezes even as Elon Musk seeks to combine them, according to a securities filing.
Lazard Made Mistake in Tesla Deal
Lazard, the investment bank that advised SolarCity, made an error in its analysis that discounted the value of the solar energy company by $400 million, according to a regulatory filing.
Network Security Firm Said to Begin Negotiations Over Sale
The firm, Infoblox, which helps protect company information technology networks, has begun a process to sell itself after coming under pressure from Starboard Value, according to people familiar with the matter.
Legal and Regulatory
Timothy Cook, chief of Apple, at a product event in Cupertino, Calif., in 2015. Mr. Cook, in an interview, called the tax ruling “maddening” and politically motivated.
Apple Chief Defends Tax Practices and Says Cash Is Heading Back to U.S.
The chief, Timothy Cook, in an interview with an Irish broadcaster, called Europe’s tax decision “maddening” and politically motivated.
Employees standing in front of a screen displaying iPhones during a preview event in July at the new Apple Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The European Union told Ireland on Tuesday that it must collect $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple.
Yesterday, Outraged by Apple’s Tax Dodge. Today, by Its Tax Bill.
Lawmakers have criticized companies that avoid taxes by moving overseas. But they’re rallying to Apple’s defense after a demand by the European Union for $14.5 billion in back taxes.
Officers on Wednesday at a hotel in San Juan, P.R., where a seminar on the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act will be held.
Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Affairs Will Be Overseen by 7 Experts in Finance and Law
Four Republicans and three Democrats — including four Puerto Ricans — will serve on the board to help the island restructure its $72 billion debt.
Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain at a meeting with cabinet ministers on Wednesday.
2 Months After ‘Brexit’ Vote, Britain’s Push to Leave E.U. Is a Muddle
Between turf wars and competing interests, the government is having trouble devising a coherent plan for ending four decades of integration with Europe.
China Said to Cap Value of Reverse Mergers
China’s stock regulator is limiting valuations for reverse mergers, a listing method favored by companies that previously traded overseas, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It is concerned that the high valuations for domestic listings could affect market stability.
Australia Sues Volkswagen Over Emissions Claims
Australia’s consumer watchdog has accused Volkswagen of concealing software in tens of thousands of vehicles to cheat emissions testing.
U.S. Sues to Stop Deere from Buying Precision Planting
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit intended to stop Deere from buying Monsanto’s Precision Planting farm equipment business. It said the deal would make it more expensive for farmers to use fast, precise planting technology.


Justin Trudeau, left, the prime minister of Canada, and Li Keqiang, the premier of China, during a ceremony in Beijing on Wednesday.
Canada to Join China-Led Bank, Signaling Readiness to Bolster Ties
The membership would provide a lift for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is widely seen as a counterweight to the World Bank.
President Obama boarding Air Force One in Reno, Nev., on Wednesday, en route to Hawaii.
Obama Heads to Asia Seeking Breakthrough on Trade and Climate Change
He is hoping to announce progress with China on the Paris climate accord and will state his case with other Asian countries on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Shibar Journal
Women who are part of a farmers union last month in the Shibar Valley in Bamian Province, Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan’s Farm Belt, Women Lead Unions and Find New Status
The farmers’ unions have helped ensure a more reliable and diverse food supply in an often famine-struck region, while also empowering its female leadership.
Kitty Axelson-Berry, center, with her client Sonia Ehrlich, a Holocaust survivor, and Ms. Ehrlich’s great-grandchildren, Jacob, 9; Ayden, 14; and Zachary, 12. At top left is Ms. Ehrlich’s granddaughter, Jordan Levine.
Have a Story to Tell? Your Personal Memoirist Is Here
Personal historians make a business of helping people chronicle the events of their lives in memoirs.