News of the WeekMonday, November 21, 2011
DEBT SALE: Air Lease Corp. sold about $200 million in convertible senior notes, net proceeds of which are to be used to buy aircraft and for general corporate purposes. The Century City aircraft-leasing company founded by Steve Udvar-Hazy went public in April. The company said the notes will pay interest semiannually and will be convertible into Class A common stock before they are due in 2018. The conversion rate will be equivalent to about $30.23 per share, a 35 percent premium over the stock’s closing price Nov. 15, the day before the pricing was announced. Air Lease said it is seeing strong demand for its aircraft due to worldwide airline expansion.
EMI SALE: A deal was reached to split up British music company EMI Group and sell it for $4.1 billion to Santa Monica’s Universal Music Group and Tokyo’s Sony Corp. The deal calls for Universal Music to acquire EMI’s recorded music division for $1.9 billion, and Sony to take over the music publishing business. EMI recording artists include Snoop Dogg, Norah Jones and Lady Antebellum. Sony led a consortium that included David Geffen and the estate of Michael Jackson to acquire the publishing unit, which includes songs by the Beatles, Jones and Jay-Z. The transaction with EMI’s current owner, Citigroup, leaves Warner Bros., BMG and Universal Music as the remaining major players in the music industry.
COURT RULING: A federal judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York threw out a patent infringement case against MGA Entertainment Inc. Photographer Bernard Belair claimed that the Bratz fashion dolls infringed on an advertisement he created for designer shoemaker Steve Madden. Judge Shira Scheindlin said “although the Bratz dolls may indeed bring to mind the image that Belair created, Belair cannot monopolize the abstract concept of an absurdly large-headed, long-limbed, attractive, fashionable woman.”
INVESTOR EXIT: Unsubscribe.com, a Santa Monica company that helps consumers unsubscribe from unwanted e-mail, was acquired by TrustedID for an undisclosed amount. TrustedID, a Palo Alto company that provides subscription-based credit and identity protection services, was attracted by Unsubscribe’s proprietary Social Monitor tool, which stops potentially malicious applications and unwanted e-mails from particular sources. The startup, which was founded by James Siminoff, had venture capital backing from Charles River Ventures, First Round Capital, DFJ Frontier and angel investors.
TIGHTER FOCUS: Simulations Plus Inc. has moved forward on plans to emphasize pharmaceutical industry simulation software development by selling its wholly owned Words+ subsidiary to an Ohio company for $2.1 million. Words+ is a legacy business founded by Walt Woltosz, Simulations Plus chief executive, and his wife. The business makes communications software and devices for people who can’t speak or have other communications and motor skills disabilities. Buyer Prentke Romich Co. of Wooster, Ohio, makes similar products and was perceived as being better placed to grow the Word+ market.
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