Pending home sales hint at stabilization

December 30, 2013
LEGAL
Apple hinders work, e-book monitor says

A Washington lawyer monitoring Apple’s compliance with antitrust laws after a judge found it conspired with publishers to raise electronic-book prices said in court papers filed Monday that the company is obstructing his work.

Attorney Michael Bromwich said in a document filed in Manhattan federal court that he’s been largely cut off from top executives at Apple, which argued this month that his investigation was interfering with its business operations.

Bromwich, a former inspector general for the Justice Department, was appointed as an external compliance monitor to review Apple’s antitrust and training policies after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote concluded following a bench trial that Apple disobeyed antitrust laws by trying to raise electronic-book prices in 2010.

An Apple spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bromwich said that in the two months since his October appointment, he and his staff had been permitted 13 hours of substantive interviews or discussions during two visits to California. He said seven of the 11 people he had been permitted to interview were lawyers rather than business people.

Apple said in court papers this month that the judge’s order as it is being carried out by Bromwich was “flatly unconstitutional and will be reversed on appeal.” The company complained Bromwich had launched a “broad and amorphous inquisition.”

— Associated Press

MERGERS
Cooper Tire ends deal with Apollo

U.S.-based Cooper Tire & Rubber said it was terminating a proposed $2.5 billion sale to Apollo Tyres, with both sides threatening legal action over a deal plagued by obstacles from the start.

Cooper Tire said it was walking away after being informed by the Indian tire maker that financing was no longer available for a takeover that would have been India’s second biggest in the United States.

Cooper added that it would pursue legal steps to protect the company. Apollo responded by saying it was “disappointed” that Cooper had prematurely ended the agreement and that it would pursue legal remedies of its own.

Those threats could continue a legal stand-off between the two sides, whose relationship descended into acrimony soon after Apollo agreed to buy Cooper for $35 a share in June, hoping to transform itself into the world’s seventh-largest tire maker and cut its dependence on domestic sales.

The dispute is likely to focus on whether either company is liable to pay a break-up fee. Under the deal terms, Apollo would have been liable to pay a $112.5 million fee, while Cooper could be held responsible for a break-up fee of $50 million. Analysts were surprised that Cooper had announced the termination before the offer from Apollo was set to expire Tuesday.

— Reuters

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