[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's corporations and securities law news, SEC Chairman William Donaldson [SEC biography] stated in a speech today that the agency is considering changes to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act [text, PDF] to ease burden on foreign companies. Companies in both Europe and the US have complained of the costs to meet the act's requirements. European companies also contend that some of the regulations conflict with EU practices. Donaldson has asked the SEC staff to "consider whether to recommend that we delay the effective date of the internal control on financial reporting requirements for non-US companies" in wake of the complaints. Read the text of Donaldson's speech. AP has more.
In other news...
- The SEC [official website] announced an $80 million settlement with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. [firm website] and Morgan Stanley [firm website] over claims the two firms improperly induced investors to buy IPO shares. Each firm will pay $40 million. The settlement marks the end of a two-year-old SEC probe which targeted Wall Street firms accused of favoring their largest customers at the expense of individual investors during the technology boom of the 1990s. Read the SEC press release. Read the SEC litigation release and complaint [PDF] against Goldman Sachs. Read the SEC litigation release and complaint [PDF] against Morgan Stanley. Bloomberg has more.
- Portland General Electric [corporate website], the last remaining asset of bankrupt energy giant Enron Corp. [corporate website, JURIST Hot Topic], will be bought by the city of Portland, Oregon if state regulators reject a $2.35 billion bid by Texas Pacific Group. The Texas Pacific bid has faced increased scrutiny after the nearly unanimous opposition by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission. Read the mayor of Portland's press release. AP has more.
- As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, a group of seven federal judges will meet in Fort Myers, FL, Thursday to consider how to handle mounting lawsuits over the painkiller Vioxx [FDA overview; Merck information website], which was pulled from the market by manufacturer Merck & Co. [official website] after it was linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The News-Press has more.
- The SEC announced former Netease.com wireless division executive Jun Singo Liang has agreed to a $1 million settlement related to alleged insider trading. Read the SEC litigation release. CBSMarketWatch has more.
- As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the US government has joined the entertainment industry in arguing before the US Supreme Court that file-sharing services such as Kazaa and Grokster, accused of enabling widespread copyright infringement, should be shut down. The case is MGM Studios v. Grokster, 04-480. The Washington Post has more.
- The SEC charged Penthouse magazine's former publisher, one of its former executives, and a former investor with accounting fraud. The agency also settled with the magazine's founder Robert Guccione over accusations of poor financial disclosures. Read the SEC litigation release and complaint [PDF] in the matter. AP has more.
- Halliburton Co. [corporate website] announced its plan to pay about $2.8 billion to complete the funding of the asbestos and silica settlements for its DII Industries and Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiaries that had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Read the Halliburton press release. The Houston Business Journal has more.