Musk Buys Twitter – The Immediate Aftermath and Speculations

Posted by Jonathan Luders.

With the upcoming U.S midterm elections on the horizon, the recent acquisition and purchase of twitter by Elon Musk has caused some uneasiness to say the least. Twitter is one of the leading platforms for news, especially during elections before it gets to main stream new stations. Musk’s firing of CEO and multiple other major leadership roles, including marketing and ad sales, and other employees of Twitter that help manage misinformation. According to the article, “The communications team at Twitter, responsible for engaging with journalists and putting out press releases, was cut from nearly 100 people to two, other people say” along with “Twitter’s marketing organization was among the groups hit hardest, with at most a couple dozen employees remaining from a team that had close to 400 people, according to two sources”.

The spreading of misinformation is of the biggest concern for the American people. If Twitter is not being surveyed by it’s typical employees, it could mean more misinformation could get out, at a crucial time in the US too. The article states, “The dramatic scaling down of the company’s staff immediately drew scrutiny from Twitter insiders, outside groups and disinformation watchers, who say it’s unclear how Twitter will manage its sprawling network, which has an outsized impact on global political and cultural conversation, with far fewer people at the helm”.

Musk’s intention is to make the platform so that anyone and everyone have total free speech, our first amendment right (as long as it is legal) without any restriction. This sounds really good in theory, but as quoted in the article, it might become a dumpster fire without some sort of regulation. People might abuse the platform if not regulated properly.

I am not sure what to think about Musk buying twitter. I hope his intentions are good, which they seem to be at face value. The concept of “twitter blue” is interested too. I am curious to see how this unfolds and if there will be an increase or decrease in twitter usage.

Jonathan is a psychology major and business administration minor student at Seton Hall University, Class of 2023.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-04/twitter-cuts-spur-concerns-about-us-midterms-human-rights?srnd=premium&leadSource=uverify%20wall

Landmark Opioid Settlements

Posted by Kyle Ganning.

Both CVS and Walgreens agreed to pay more than $10 billion in settlements involving opioids and the distribution of opioids. This was originally brought by state and local governments. In addition, according to Bloomberg.com, Walmart will add to the settlements with $3 billion as well. Being that both CVS and Walgreens are two of the largest drugstore chains in the World, these are landmark settlements that could resolve a lot of opioid-crisis. Even though the company agreed to a settlement, the companies will not be required to publicly admit wrongdoing. Walgreens has already come out and said that this settlement “wasn’t an admission of wrongdoing.” We have seen a plethora of cases over the last couple of years, and Like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart being ordered by a federal judge to pay $650 million to two Ohio counties.

In the eyes everyone involved, a settlement seemed like the best option for these corporations. A key part of the settlement agreement is the fact that these companies do not have to publicly admit wrongdoing or admitting what they did was not acceptable. The settlements are to be paid over the next 10-15 years. “CVS said if the settlement is reached, it would pay the states nearly $5 billion over 10 years beginning in 2023. Walgreens said it would also pay $5 billion in remediation payments over the course of 15 years.” (CNN)

With these settlements being spread out, it allows for the companies’ stocks to stay strong as they would not be taking the massive hit all at once. This is also a major reason why the case was settled, if it went to court then there is a good chance, they might have had to pay a higher sum of money upfront to these cities or states. Additionally, some Native American tribes are also making about $155 million. These settlements could be considered an “admission of guilt” by some, or they could be just playing it safe. In addition Walgreens and CVS “also expects to pay up to $753.5 million in attorneys fees over six years.”

The opioid-crisis has killed more than 500,000 people over the last two decades. The opioid-crisis is currently one of the biggest drug problems in the United States. The thought behind this lawsuit is to hold these large drugstore chains to be held accountable for mishandling prescriptions opioids. These settlements could also show how opioids are handled and used in the future years ahead. It will also be interesting to see how many more lawsuits can come up against corporations that are selling opioids. We could see the numbers on the settlement get even higher over the next couple of years.

Kyle is a student in the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cvs-to-pay-5-billion-to-settle-opioid-lawsuits-11667358371

Other sources in addition:

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/02/us/cvs-walgreens-walmart-opioid-settlement

https://www.npr.org/2022/11/02/1133523740/cvs-health-agrees-to-a-5-billion-settlement-in-opioid-lawsuits

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-02/cvs-walmart-walgreens-reach-tentative-12-billion-opioid-pact

Elon Musk Twitter Blockbuster Takeover

Posted by Ana Abraham.

In recent news, Elon Musk takes over Twitter. After spending months attempting to close a “blockbuster” purchase, at 44 billion dollars the deal was finally closed. Officially naming Elon Musk the new owner of Twitter, one of the most influential platforms to exist. “Musk’s Takeover” was finalized Thursday night, October 27th, 2022. Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform has stirred up all sorts of negative, and surprisingly some positive comments. Elon originally sought to buy the company in April of 2022, and had the main goal to make Twitter a platform of “Free speech”.
Elon wants to “Unlock Twitter’s extraordinary potential”. Tesla CEO, wants to rework and rethink Twitter’s approach of content, he wants Twitter to be a free platform where users can comment and say whatever they want without the potential repercussions of being banned or having a post taken down. There has even been talk about changing the Twitter platform to become an “everything” app that is called X. Elon has even talked about changing the outlay of the app to resemble the popular Chinese app WeChat. Along with all the changes Musk is planning to make, he also “plans to boost Twitter’s value which could involve cutting down its workforce, something he’s hinted at before, the previous reporting suggested that he’d planned to cut 75% of staff” (Duffy).
While to some Elon’s new purchase can be controversial due to the changes he plans to make, I believe that Elon’s changes could actually be a refreshing new concept. I believe that today’s society is incredibly sensitive to almost anything, sharing your own opinion can be extremely controversial especially when it comes to politics. It is so controversial to the point where you can get “canceled” or “blacklisted”. Personally, while I do not have Twitter, I believe having a platform where you can actually use your freedom of speech is refreshing for today’s society. I do not think that a person should be banned from expressing their own political opinions. There are obviously cases where a tweet should be removed here or there but when it comes to merely sharing an opinion that is not harmful to anyone, I do not believe that a person should be banned or have their tweet removed.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/28/tech/elon-musk-twitter-changes/index.html

Ana Abraham is a business administration major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

Twitter Employees File Lawsuit Claiming Mass Layoffs Violate Federal Law Requiring Notice

Posted by Vincent Nappi.

Last week Elon Musk completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter. Since he made his intention known more than a year ago to purchase the social media site there has been controversy surrounding it. Musk has promised to make the social media platform the town square of websites that will not discriminate viewpoints of any individuals. Several high-profile users have been banned by the site including former president Donald Trump leading many republicans to claim that Twitter and sister sites like Facebook have an anti-Republican bias.
Musk’s first order of business when taking over was to fire several individuals that he felt were responsible for suppressing freedom of speech, and censoring individuals who they disagreed with. This has led to a significant loss of ad revenue as several socially conscious company now feel that Twitter will become a haven for hate speech and disinformation. Musk has assured the world that this will not happen and that content filters are still in place.
With the loss of ad dollars though Twitter revenue has dropped massively according to Elon Musk. Forms like General Mills, and Audi are among those who have paused advertising on the platform. With that Musk has made a statement that he is planning on laying off roughly half of the companies to promote cost savings. Employees of Twitter have filed a lawsuit looking to enforce regulations that layoffs must be announced two months in advance. Musk has already stated that employees will be given more than the required severance and benefits.
It remains to be seen how this will play out. Mr. Musk is doing what he feels is in the best interest of the company; however, he is harming the stakeholders of the company (the employees) by cutting them loose with little or no notice. I see how that could be unfair for the employees; however, the companies who have stopped advertising without giving Musk an opportunity to show how he will run the company seem to be bowing to pressure from the liberal side of the country. Some of these companies are the same ones who have significant revenue coming from countries like China who history of human rights abuse are well noted.
If both sides would settle down and monitor how Mr. Musk runs the company instead of a quick knee-jerk reaction, I believe these cuts could have been avoided and with it the harm to the stakeholders involved.

Vincent is a sports management major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2024.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/twitter-employees-file-lawsuit-claiming-mass-layoffs-violate-federal-law-requiring-notice

Is Legalization Actually Legal?

Posted by Natalia Silverlieb.

For this blog post I chose to write about an article that I found on Fox Business. The title for the article reads, “Lawsuit filed against California weed companies for not getting consumers high enough.” This article was published a couple weeks ago at the end of October, highlighting the law suite being brought to the courts by customers. Allegedly, two California based cannabis companies have faced legal action for allegedly failing to deliver on their promises of providing customers with stronger products.
The two cannabis companies in question are against DreamFields Brands, Inc. and Med for America, Inc. According to the lawsuit, Jeeter prerolls falsely claim to have substantially greater THC contents than they really do. Advertised throughout Jeeter’s packaging, the THC percentage of its pre-rolled products ranges from an average of 35% to 46%, all depending on the product itself. The advertisement goes as far as to state “the one Joint that will get you to Mars quicker than Elon Musk.” Despite this, the case was brought to the courts in light of finding the true THC contents within the products being advertised. The products were tested through an outside lab, and found the Baby Jeeter Fire OG Diamond Infused 5-Pack Preroll, which states that it contains 46% THC, really only containing between 23% and 27% of that substance. The store was advertising a product to be almost double the actual contents of the products.
This allegation not only harms the company’s reputation within the cannabis industry, but also turns consumers away from buying such products and services. Along with that, with such high taxes on these products, it makes it hard for both the seller and the buyer to find a middle ground on not only prices, but product quality as well. Within the industry, we are starting to see many different companies inflate their products’ potency percentage to stay relevant and popular within the smoker community. In turn, situations like these come to light, where companies turn to direction to keep consumer rate higher. All of these just lead and pussed consumers and buyers to the streets and black market drug rings, where prices are cheaper, but product integrity is out the door. It’s a balancing act that needs to be properly balanced for both the consumers and sellers, making it the experience many want.

Natalia is majoring in marketing and management at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/lawsuit-filed-against-california-weed-companies-not-getting-consumers-high-enough

Moderna v. Pfizer: What the Patent Infringement Suit Means for Biotech

Posted by Amanda Marzigliano.

The well known Covid vaccine company Moderna sued one of its largest competitors, Pfizer, for patent infringement. Patent infringement is best defined as a “Violation of a patent owners rights with respect to some invention. Unless permitted by the patent owner, one commits patent infringement by making, using, offering to sell, or selling something that contains every element of a patented claim or its equivalent while the patent is in effect” (Cornell Law School). While many companies raced to develop vaccines in 2020, the company pledged not to enforce its patents. Yet in 2022, amended this pledge to begin enforcing its patents in higher-income regions.
Moderna received massive growth and popularity during the 2020 pandemic. But the company is more complex than just a Covid-19 vaccine – and has recently filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, a name that also saw its recognition grow during the pandemic. This was seen by surprise as the move came after Moderna agreed not to file patent suits while manufacturing and advertising Covid vaccines during the peak of the breakout. Peter Loftus, author of the book The Messenger: Moderna, the vaccine, and the Business Gamble That Changed the World, stated, “This lawsuit is no surprise to people who’ve followed the Covid-19 patent situation.” Several patent lawyers and Wall Street analysts speculated that Moderna could someday use its mRNA technology and mRNA in vaccines to sue Pfizer and possibly others, which predicted the lawsuit that was filed.
The best-case scenario would be Moderna proving that Pfizer copied bits of its IP to make its own vaccine because that would financially benefit them. Because they are both very competitive products that came out at the same time and advertise to do the same thing, it could become tricky to say who is in the wrong. But ultimately, Moderna could come away with a portion of Pfizer’s profit, which continues to sell billions of dollars’ worth of Covid-19 vaccines.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that both Moderna and Pfizer saw windfall profits as a result of their Covid vaccinations. Interestingly, while the Biden Administration is currently talking about a windfall tax on oil companies, I do not believe any discussion has come about regarding the record profits drug companies made on the Covid pandemic. Though one can certainly argue that in a capitalist society, such windfall profits can be expected in certain industries from time to time. With respect to the Moderna/Pfizer patent lawsuit, it will ultimately be decided by a judge. Moderna is claiming it is protecting its intellectual property whereas Pfizer is insisting it only utilized its own proprietary technology. Time will tell the outcome of this case.

Amanda is a business student at Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.
https://hbr.org/2022/09/moderna-v-pfizer-what-the-patent-infringement-suit-means-for-biotech

Musk Must Complete Twitter Deal by Oct. 28 to Avoid Trial

Posted by Kieran Durkin.

A Delaware Chancery Court judge ruled Thursday that Elon Musk has until Oct. 28 to close his acquisition of Twitter if he wants to avoid a trial, granting Musk a slight delay. He asked Twitter to end all litigation to close the deal, but they did not agree. He wanted them to change the original court date from 10/17 to 10/28 so he can secure the finances necessary, and Musk believes the trial will distract him from obtaining the finances he needs. After Twitter responded, lawyers said Musk’s team intended to close.

Twitter then claimed that Musk’s “proposal is an invitation to further mischief and delay.” Twitter had already sued Musk in July so he could stick to his purchase agreement signed in April. His text messages revealed he was ready to take this case to court. Twitter agreed to his offer in September, but they may walk away from the lawsuit since all the finances may not be situated in time. Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are among the banks that originally agreed to provide $12.5 billion in debt for Musk. Since then, the markets have tanked, particularly for risky tech assets.

Musk’s attorney thinks funding will be available by 10/28, so the deal should close. “The lawyers added that “counsel for the debt financing parties has advised that each of their clients is prepared to honor its obligations under the Bank Debt Commitment Letter on the terms and subject to satisfaction of the conditions set forth therein.” Each party should prepare to sort out finances on behalf of the terms of the Bank Debt Commitment Letter. Twitter agreed to close the transaction at $54.20 a share, and this is the first time they have spoken on the issue in a while.

Kieran is a finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/06/musk-seeks-to-stop-oct-17-trial-date-to-close-twitter-deal-on-original-terms.html

Summary and Response to CVS and Walgreens Settling Opioid Lawsuits

Posted by Mario Stampone.

The business law article that I have chosen to summarize and respond to is from The Wall Street Journal and is titled “CVS, Walgreens to Pay More Than $10 Billion to Settle Opioid Lawsuits.” The article explains that CVS Health Corporation and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. agreed to pay over $10 billion in a settlement. The settlement was needed to resolve lawsuits based on the opioid crisis, and the lawsuits were brought by states, cities, tribes, and other governments. According to the article, CVS and Walgreens, the two largest drugstore chains, “said they reached a framework to settle the collection of lawsuits brought by governments and Native American tribes blaming pharmacies for helping fuel the nation’s opioid epidemic” (Terlep). Under this deal, it has been said that “CVS would pay $4.9 billion to states and municipalities and $130 million to tribes over the next 10 years starting in 2023” (Terlep). In response to this settlement, CVS has stated that the settlement was not an admission of guilt. They have declared that they would continue to defend themselves against any litigation that was not resolved in the settlement.

Moreover, the article explains that Walgreens has offered to pay up to $4.79 billion over the next 15 years to states. They agreed to pay around $155 million to tribes. Walgreens is also expecting to pay about $753.5 million in attorney fees over six more years. Just as CVS did, Walgreens explained that the settlement was not an admission of guilt. Just because the settlements were agreed upon by CVS and Walgreens does not mean everything is over. The states, local governments, and tribes must still agree to participate. Their attorneys are encouraging them to join the settlement. If the settlement is agreed upon by both parties, the article says that “cities and counties have said they would use the money to bolster social services focused on the harms of opioid addiction as well as for funds for first responders” (Terlep). The money will not be directly distributed to families or individuals. CVS Chief Executive Karen Lynch has said that she supports the settlement, and she believes that states would join because attorney generals were part of the negotiations. Furthermore, the article goes on to say that the opioid crisis has taken over half a million lives and triggered over 3,000 lawsuits. Many of these lawsuits say that pharmacies did not do enough to stop the opioid crisis. Drugstores say they followed all regulations.

Back in August, a federal judge in Ohio “ordered CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart Inc. to pay $650 million over 15 years to two Ohio counties after a jury found the companies liable for contributing to the opioid epidemic” (Terlep). This case was closely watched, and it was the first decision in opioid lawsuits targeting pharmacies. CVS and Walgreens have paid various other settlements in the past few months, as CVS paid $484 million to the state of Florida for opioid-related claims. Additionally, the article highlights other lawsuits from pharmaceutical companies. Another example is Johnson and Johnson agreeing to a $5 billion settlement. J&J also said the lawsuit was not an admission of guilt. Moreover, CVS explained that spreading out the payments in the settlement will help the company reinvest in itself as it pays the settlement. CVS has been trying to expand itself from being only a pharmaceutical chain. They also want to be a medical provider.

All in all, I found this article to be very interesting. We have all heard of the opioid crisis, and we know the grave effects that it brought to so many citizens in America. I feel that it is good that some justice is being handed out, as the pharmaceutical companies that are partially responsible for the opioid crisis must now pay their fair share. Something that caught my attention from this article is that CVS and Walgreens, as well as other companies that have paid lawsuits in the past, such as Johnson and Johnson, all claimed that their settlements were “not an admission of guilt.” In my opinion, this is very disrespectful to say. The opioid crisis ruined the lives of so many people, and I feel that it is sickening that these big companies would just try to save their reputation by saying the settlements were not an admission of guilt. It makes it feel like these companies only settled to protect their reputation and move past the lawsuits, which is probably exactly what happened. Overall, I feel that this article has helped to reinforce my beliefs that these big companies do not care about doing right by the people. They just want to make a profit and protect their reputation so they can continue to make money. To conclude, I enjoyed reading, summarizing and analyzing this article, and I am glad that the pharmaceutical companies that were responsible for aiding the opioid crisis are facing some justice.

Mario is a finance and sports management major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

Works Cited

Press, Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Zuma. “CVS, Walgreens to Pay More than $10 Billion to Settle Opioid Lawsuits.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 2 Nov. 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/cvs-to-pay-5-billion-to-settle-opioid-lawsuits-11667358371.

Article Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/cvs-to-pay-5-billion-to-settle-opioid-lawsuits-11667358371

CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens Settle on a Billion-dollar Settlement Over America’s Opioid Crisis

Posted by Natalie Hamblin.

America has been faced with an opioid crisis, leading to death, addictions, and overdoses. Three major retailers; CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart have all concluded on a settlement rounding out to $13.8 billion regarding their involvement with the opioid crisis. The three retailers have been dealing with lawsuits from state and local governments for years, accumulating over three thousand since 2017. CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens will have years to pay off this settlement.
If the retailers do settle on this, this would be the highest recorded opioid settlement with a retail pharmacy company. Most of the lawsuits accused the companies of downplaying the risks of opioids and not carefully watching for signs of patients trafficking their prescriptions. The three retailers in this settlement are the largest retail pharmacies in the United States. There have been settlements with smaller retailers, such as Johnson and Johnson, with smaller amounts of lawsuits and money settlements.
These retail pharmacies are at fault because they distributed the opioids without sharing knowledge of the side effects and strong addiction factors. Starting in the 1990s, pharmacies were promoting opioids as a safe and healthy way to treat one’s pain. Failing to mention that although it might help the pain, one can easily get addicted to the substance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid dependence rapidly grew as an issue, increasing the overdoses caused by opioids. The opioid crisis is also a pressing issue in the economy. Since 2020 (Covid-19 pandemic) the opioid crisis has cost the economy $1.5 trillion within just two years. The hope is that this settlement will increase the retail pharmacies’ involvement in stopping the opioid crisis.

Natalie is a marketing major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

Link: https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/cvs-walmart-walgreens-agree-pay-13-8-b-settlement-report

Danske Bank Fined For Money Laundering

Posted by Ben Hutz.

One of Denmark’s Largest banks, Danske Bank, is under investigation for money laundering. The US and Danish authorities started their investigation in 2018 and it has been dragged on for years as they are trying to reach a settlement by the end of this year, 2022 . The reason behind this is they have been convicted of laundering money in Russia and other former Soviet states. They were able to do this because they have a branch in Estonia where most of the laundering happened.
The US treasury department is saying, “more than $230 billion flowed from Russia and other former Soviet states through its tiny branch in Estonia between 2007 and 2015. ” Most of the transactions were done mostly with US dollars and euros, but a large part of the money was illicit money. This not only hurts the bank of Danske, but Denmark’s reputation as a whole, as they were known to be the most transparent and least corrupt banks in the world.
This isn’t the first time that a big bank hasn’t been under fire as the HSBC holding, a UK bank, was linked to money laundering in Mexico in 2012. They got fined 1.9 billion dollars and other banks who have been found for similar money laundering accusations being fined up to 8.9 billions dollars. Danske Bank is estimated to be fined $2.1 billion. The public clearly thought that this was a light fine as when the news came out the bank’s shares rallied up 12% in that day alone. I agree with the public as they were able to launder money for years and it was over 230 billion dollars, which is over 100 times the amount of their fine.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/danske-bank-expects-2-1-billion-settlement-of-money-laundering-probe-11666885571

Ben is a finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.