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🧩 A Russian billionaire's $380M art suit

PLUS: Hogan + Shearman call off merger, IVF litigation, billions bet on Adani Group, a high-profile murder verdict...

Lookzy: all your daily legal news in 0.1 billable hours. Plain English coverage of deals, litigation and legal trends trusted by lawyers at Cravath, Latham, Skadden, Gunderson and elsewhere.

Welcome to Lookzy. In today's Lookzy:

  • A Russian billionaire's $380M art suit

  • First of its kind IVF litigation

  • Billion dollar bet on Adani Group not being a fraud

  • Hogan and Shearman call off their merger talks

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THE VERDICT

Arguing today's litigation news

Guilty verdict. Alex Murdaugh, a former attorney from South Carolina, was found guilty of murdering his wife Maggie and his son Paul in 2021. The jury reached the verdict after three hours of deliberations and five weeks of testimony from more than 70 witnesses in a highly publicized trial. Murdaugh had hired a hitman to kill him in an insurance fraud scheme, but survived and confessed to his involvement in the killings. He faces potential life in prison without parole at sentencing.

Billionaire's art. A US judge dismissed most of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev's claims in his $380 million suit against Sotheby’s for allegedly helping his former art dealer Yves Bouvier overcharge him by hundreds of millions of dollars on 15 pieces of world-class art, including paintings by Picasso, Modigliani, Gauguin and Rothko. The judge allowed Rybolovlev to pursue two counts of fraud and one count of aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty. The judge also advised both parties to settle their remaining claims outside of court to avoid a costly and “potentially embarrassing trial”.

Prosecution not deferred. Ericsson AB agreed to pay about $207 million to resolve criminal charges that it violated a 2019 deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice. The DOJ said that Ericsson failed to implement an effective compliance program and continued to engage in bribery and corruption in several countries. The Swedish telecom equipment maker also admitted that it made false statements to the DOJ and the SEC.

IVF litigation. A California couple sued Huntington Reproductive Center for allegedly implanting an embryo that carries a rare gene that causes deadly stomach cancer. The couple say they chose in vitro fertilization to avoid passing on the gene to their child, as Jason has a family history of the disease. The lawsuit claims that the clinic failed to test the embryos for the gene before transferring them to Melissa’s uterus, and then falsified records to hide its error. The couple discovered that their son, who is now 18 months old, has inherited the gene after doing a home DNA test. They are seeking unspecified damages for medical expenses, emotional distress and fraud.

THE DEAL

Wheelin' and dealin' today's corporate news

Exploring options. PE firm Leonard Green & Partners LP is reportedly exploring a sale of Pro Mach Group Inc., a US packaging company, which could value Pro Mach at around $5 billion. Leonard Green is also considering the sale of a minority stake in Pro Mach as an alternative to an outright sale. Leonard Green bought Pro Mach from another buyout firm, AEA Investors LP, for about $2.2 billion, including debt, in 2018.

Regulatory delay. TD Bank disclosed that its planned $13.4 billion acquisition of US-bank First Horizon Corp has been delayed by regulatory reviews. The deal, which was announced in October 2022 and expected to close in the first half of 2023, would make TD the 6th largest US bank by assets. TD said it remains committed to the transaction and expects to receive all necessary approvals in due course.

Adani Group. GQG Partners LLC, a US-based investment firm, has acquired shares worth $1.87 billion in six companies of the Adani Group, the Indian conglomerate which was forced to scrap a $2.5 billion share sale and lost $100 billion in market cap after a short seller reported alleged Adani Group was one of history's biggest frauds. The deal is one of the largest foreign portfolio investments in India and gives GQG Partners a stake of about 5% in each of the Adani companies.

EU antitrust. Microsoft Corp. is expected to secure EU antitrust approval for its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard with its offer of licensing deals to rivals. The company struck agreements with Nintendo and Nvidia to allow them access to some of Activision’s popular games. The deal still faces regulatory headwinds in Britain, where the UK competition agency has suggested that Microsoft divests Call of Duty to address its concerns, and the US, where the FTC has asked a judge to block the deal.

BUSINESS OF THE FIRM

Lateral Moves:

  • Maryland’s US District Judge George Hazel is joining Gibson Dunn.

  • SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein announced he is leaving his Supreme Court practice and firm Goldstein & Russell, which has renamed to Goldstein, Russell & Woofter.

  • Shearman & Sterling's 20-person Munich office is leaving Shearman to become a new Munich office for Morgan Lewis.

Industry News:

  • Hogan Lovells and Shearman & Sterling have called off merger talks that would have created a legal behemoth with more than 3,000 lawyers globally and around $3.6 billion in revenue. The firms noted that after careful consideration, they had mutually agreed that a combination at this time was not in the best interest of either firm.

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