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New York Corporate Law Blog

Corporate law and tax reform: New York gets tax cuts all around

Corporate tax cuts here in New York—how can such a thing be? Well, hold on to your hats because that's exactly what happened on April 7. In a move sure to impact corporate law in a huge way, New York lawmakers cut taxes last Monday evening and passed a $140 billion budget for 2014. Much of the tax reform involves phasing out utility tax surcharges and offering property tax rebates, but the most notable cut revolves around New York's corporate income tax.

In case you're wondering what this really means and how it will affect New York, consider the generally poor opinion New York has gained in terms of its business climate. For some time now, businesses have made the decision to relocate their workforce outside of the region or leave New York state altogether. Add to this the trend of governors from states with low-to-no income tax trying to recruit businesses for relocation to their states and you can probably see why this change has come about.

Acquisition likely to help Manischewitz expand customer base

As Jewish households here in New York City and around the country prepare to celebrate Passover, a company that provides many of the staples of Seders is being acquired by a private equity firm. The Manischewitz Company, the well-known purveyor of kosher products, is being purchased by private equity firm Sankaty Advisors.

Sankaty, known for helping companies change their corporate strategy, can lend its expertise to helping the 126-year-old Manischewitz as it strives to expand its customer base beyond the Jewish population. One expected change is to help the company associate "kosher" with healthy, organic eating rather than just a religious dietary restriction. This means expanding its product line to compete outside of the kosher aisle of grocery stores.

New York takes big bite of last year's GrubHub/Seamless merger

Last year, Chicago-based GrubHub began to give New York's Seamless a run for their money in the ever-more lucrative online takeout space, so the two companies forged a merger. The new company, with the GrubHub brand at the helm, realized $1.3 billion in sales last year and acquired more than 3 million different diners -- a recipe for success if ever there was one.

On Friday, the merger began to pay off in spades when GrubHub went public, and New York investors flocked to the market to get a slice of the pie. Opening shares went for $40, a figure well above its list price of $26, and remained at just around $35. This means GrubHub realized a 35% bump in its first day of trading.

New York CIty Council extends protections to unpaid interns

We have seen some high-profile lawsuits filed in New York City and across the country recently involving the rights and pay of interns. Just last summer, a Manhattan federal judge ruled in favor of unpaid interns who had worked on the film "Black Swan." He determined that the studio, Fox Searchlight Pictures, violated laws regarding minimum wage in not paying them for their work.

Many employers here in New York City and other large cities depend on the hard work of mostly young unpaid or low-paid employees anxious to gain experience and gain a foothold in a competitive industry or company. However, they have few workplace protections compared with regular employees.

Business plans: New health insurer appeals to New York residents

The country is all abuzz with talk of health care and health insurance, but one New York start-up has put a unique spin on the insurance industry. The health insurer start-up is called Oscar and so far the buzz about this innovative new company is good and New Yorkers are starting to sign up.

Founded by two veterans of high technology, Oscar stands apart from the rest of the insurer pack by trying to leverage the tech-world skills of its founders to offer an easier health insurance shopping experience to consumers. Oscar boasts a snazzy yet user-friendly website but its greatest innovation, at least for now, is the use of telemedicine and better price transparency.

New York creater of Cronuts gets bakery to rename 'Crauxnuts'

Cronuts have become all the rage in New York and beyond. The uber-sweet vanilla-flavored cross between a croissant and a donut was created by Dominique Ansel, a chef here in New York City. He takes his creation and its name very seriously, as the owners of a small bakery in Maine recently learned.

As "The Wall Street Journal" noted, the gooey treats created in the SoHo bakery have become so popular that a veritable black market has developed for them, with some selling for as much as $45 each. Further, bakeries worldwide have begun selling their own Cronut knock-offs.

Acquisition of TravelClick benefits both entities

In a deal nearly as large as Yahoo's $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr in 2013, private equity firm, Thoma Bravo, has acquired TravelClick for $930 million from Genstar Capital. Announced just last week, the business transaction between Thoma Bravo and TravelClick/Genstar Capital is expected to reach the finalization stage in the second quarter of 2014.

According to TravelClick's website, the company provides website development and guest reservations technology to more than 36,000 hotel clients in over 160 countries, according to its website. Moody's Investors Service Inc. and Reuters reported that the company generated about $257 million in 2012. Genstar Capital acquired TravelClick in 2007 from Bain Capital. At that time, the software company's high-profile client list included names like Accor Hospitality, the Ritz London, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels, La Quinta Inns and Suites and many others, this according to TechCrunch.

Manhattan store succeeds with unique, rotating themes

It takes a lot for a business to stand out in New York City; however, Story, a Chelsea boutique, recently garnered a large "New York Times" write-up, and its founder counts Donna Karan and Martha Stewart among her fans.

Story is part store, part gallery. Its owner compares it to a magazine. It has a theme that changes every month or two. The current theme is "Love Story," with scented candles, lingerie and chocolates for sale. Story also features events tied to the theme. Every month or two, Story closes for about a week while the 2000-square-foot space is completely revamped. Previous themes have included "Home for the Holidays," which focused on gift items, and "Making Things," which featured cutting-edge products from General Electric including 3-D printers and robots.

Paycom announces initial public offerings on New York Exchange

Companies decide to offer public stock for a variety of reasons, but in many cases, they do so when they need to raise capital and can't do so either internally or through their key investors. By going public, these companies extend the market for their securities while acquiring additional capital to put back into the company.

Paycom, a payroll service company of Oklahoma City, recently took the public plunge and filed paperwork with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission to offer stock on American markets. The company seeks to raise approximately $100 million in its initial offering of common stock.

Company prepares for potential New York marijuana legalization

As momentum for legalized medical marijuana builds in our state, one publicly traded hydroponics company is starting an East Coast division to explore opportunities for growing the plant in New York. TerraTech Corp., which grows hydroponic plants, is working with advocates for legalized marijuana to find New York sites suitable for growing the plants.

They want to be ready whenever New York legislators vote to make marijuana legal for medicinal use. Gov. Cuomo has said he's prepared to sign such legislation when it gets to his desk. The New York Assembly has already passed a bill. In the New York Senate, even several Republicans have shown their support for it.