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Long Beach Business & Commercial Law Blog

Asset-based loans for small businesses

In California, almost every business will need access to funding in order to grow at some point. Fortunately, business owners can take one of several routes when looking for funds: They can sell some of their equity in return for a sizeable cash flow injection, or they can try to borrow the funds from a reputable lender, such as banks and wealthy investors.

When trying to borrow money, businesses are primarily influenced by their ease of access to credit, which is another way of gauging how willing institutions are to lend out cash. The good news is that access to credit has been increasing over the past few years, evidenced by a 9.3 percent increase for small companies over the past year alone. in addition, businesses are having more success securing asset-based loans, resulting in an increase of 7.2 percent of small businesses reporting that they have received asset-based loans over the past year and 16.6 percent of middle-market companies making the same claim.

Lucy Arnaz files a trademark infringement claim against CBS

California residents may be interested in learning more about a lawsuit that Desilu Productions, the television company that produced "I Love Lucy," filed against CBS. The lawsuit claims that CBS intentionally violated the Desilu brand name that was originally created by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The lawyer representing Desilu claims that the legal rights to use the trademark were never legally transferred to CBS. The suit states that the trademark infringement caused Desilu to lose a considerable amount of money and property.

Furthermore, the lawsuit stipulates that CBS formerly attempted to gain control over Desilu's creative efforts, which were managed by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. The lawsuit was filed because the celebrity couple's daughter, Lucy Arnaz, wanted to use the name Desilu in an attempt to reestablish the trademark. Desilu claims that CBS caused irreparable injuries to their brand and forced Arnaz to stop working on new projects.

Passive investment in real estate brings rewards

Investors in California may be interested in exploring the world of commercial real estate for a passive, successful income stream. This type of asset may seem quite different than investments like stocks or bonds, but commercial real estate can be a highly profitable and successful means of securing an ongoing income stream. For investors who want to play a passive role in a real estate project, a few tips can help them to select ideal investments.

A sponsor is a commercial real estate firm or company that acquires and develops a particular commercial real estate complex or project. These sponsors owe their investors a fiduciary duty and must execute their business plans for the project. Experienced sponsors can be more conservative in their projections, but this can reflect a high level of historic success that they wish to maintain. There could be higher returns with less experienced sponsors, but there could also be escalated levels of risk. Investors can choose the type of real estate investment that best works for their style.

Digital company for Major League Baseball facing lawsuit

California baseball fans might be interested in a lawsuit that has been filed by a former executive of Major League Baseball's digital company. The executive filed a lawsuit against BAMTech and Baseball Advanced Media in New York Supreme Court.

According to the court documents, the plaintiff worked for 17 years as the executive vice president of content before he was summarily fired in late 2017. The non-baseball content of BAM was spun off as BAMTech two years ago. In Aug. 2016, Disney acquired a 33 percent stake for $1 billion and later announced an additional 42 percent stake acquisition of $1.58 billion in Aug. 2017.

Breach of fiduciary duty alleged in shareholder lawsuit

Corporate officials and board members in California and across the country have a responsibility to act in the best interests of a company and its shareholders as part of their fiduciary duties. When they fail to do so, shareholders and others directly affected can challenge their actions in court. In one such case, a shareholder in a large media company is pursuing a lawsuit against Media News Group Enterprises and the New York-based hedge fund that owns it, Alden Global Capital, claiming that they have breached their fiduciary duty.

The shareholder, a company known as Solus, owns around 24 percent of the voting shares of stock in the news company that runs over 50 daily newspapers in various U.S. cities, including the Denver Post. On the other hand, Alden owns 50.1 percent of the shares in Media News Group. The Solus lawsuit claims that the news company invested $10 million in an Alden-affiliated real estate investment fund in December 2014.

The aftermath of Toys 'R' Us bankruptcy

In September 2017, Toys 'R' Us filed for bankruptcy, and it recently announced that all stores in the United States will be closing. This means that there will be many lots available for lease or purchase in California. However, there is no guarantee that they will all be turned into office or retail space. Whether a former Toys 'R' Us store is used for a new purpose going forward depends on many factors.

Recently, there isn't as much demand in suburban areas for a big box retailer. Furthermore, consumers aren't as likely to go to a brick-and-mortar retail store when they could buy that same item online with less effort. If retailers are planning on drawing in customers, they will need to offer an experience worth coming out for. If retailers don't offer such an experience, there may be no reason for a company to move into a space that Toys 'R' Us used to occupy.

Commercial real estate can be a stable investment choice

Some California investors in commercial real estate have concerns about falling values. Over two decades, returns on investments in the sector skyrocketed. In 2016, however, the returns fell below the 10.1 percent average for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008. Some forecasts envision that returns in 2018 and 2019 will hover in the range of 6 percent.

In general, the cyclical commercial real estate market goes through routine upswings and downswings. Despite the expectation of an eventual downturn in the sector, however, it may not be coming soon. Colliers International predicts continued growth in 2018. Since no crash is expected in the commercial real estate market, investments should continue to be profitable in the future.

California's Coinbase hit with class-action lawsuit

San Francisco-based Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, is now the target of a class-action lawsuit for allegedly engaging in insider trading. The lawsuit was filed on March 1 by a man who is representing a group of investors who placed trades between Dec. 19 and Dec. 21, 2017.

According to the court documents, the plaintiffs allege that Coinbase launched bitcoin cash trading in December 2017. Coinbase allegedly tipped off some insiders prior to the launch. This allegedly resulted in the price of bitcoin cash spiking just before the official launch of trading on Dec. 20.

Growth in Los Angeles commercial real estate

Los Angeles is a fast-growing commercial real estate market. While traditionally cities such as New York, London and Tokyo have topped the global CRE market, they are now being challenged by several other cities, and Los Angeles appears to be at the top of this new wave. With transactions totaling $22.9 billion in 2017, Los Angeles surpassed New York City in world rankings and was second only to London.

Los Angeles is more affordable than many of the traditional leading cities, and there are also more opportunities there for investors. Other factors are its size, its economic strength, its connectivity to the rest of the country, and its diverse economy. All of the cities that are rising up to challenge the traditional commercial real estate markets share additional traits such as multiple clustered specializations and global capital's trust.

Tax cuts create optimism in commercial real estate world

The results of a biannual survey of commercial real estate executives in California have started the year on an optimistic note. Produced by a partnership of the UCLA Anderson Forecast and Allen Matkins, the Winter/Spring 2018 survey findings showed an uptick in optimism among investors and developers who six months earlier had believed that the state's CRE markets were peaking.

Survey respondents attributed their improved outlook to the changes in federal income taxes. They expect the new tax plan to improve returns on commercial property investments. Compared to six months earlier, responses from developers showed renewed interest in building offices throughout San Francisco, East Bay and Silicon Valley. Executives knowledgeable about San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles foresee improvements in rental and vacancy rates.

Creative Solutions for Complex Legal Issues

Contact Henry B. LaTorraca

400 Oceangate
Suite 700
Long Beach, CA 90802-4306

Phone: 562-216-2942
Fax: 562-216-2943
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