navigating the changing digital landscape

Navigating the Evolving
Digital Landscape and Internet of Things

The promise of improved efficiency through embedding digital technology in a business is an easy sell—generating significant value by improving both customer-facing and internal processes. Achieving this transformation is not simply about the technology as a piece of software or hardware, however; digital transformation enables many of the ways business is done to be re-imagined and the interactions of employees and customers redesigned. This improves business impact and effectiveness through better gathering and use of data.

This is particularly important in giving management a better understanding of both market dynamics and buyer behavior. It should provide key decision makers with timely information on all areas of business operations, helping to inform strategy and planning. A well-functioning digital strategy, in short, gives today’s company a virtual view into the whole of its operations that is clear, comprehensive, and consistent.

Our Partners' Perspectives

What do you see as the biggest development impacting companies’ pursuit of M&A transactions in the broadcast television sector?

The conclusion of the FCC spectrum auction removes restrictions that had acted as a pressure cap on the organic drive toward M&A in broadcast television. This deal-making energy, in turn, will be released into a newly deregulatory environment, creating new pathways for growth. Auction winners, armed with cash payouts, are poised to become consolidators and those who came up short in the auction may see M&A as an alternative exit strategy. Taken together, the hammer ending the spectrum auction will become a starting gun for a new wave of broadcast M&A activity.

Eric Greenberg

Washington, D.C.

What are the top regulatory challenges facing our fintech clients in today’s evolving marketplace—and how can our clients best manage them?

Fintech companies’ main regulatory challenge is avoiding being put at risk by well-intentioned regulatory reform. Whether in the U.S. or Europe, fintech finds itself facing legacy players more skilled at lobbying to secure protection from rules and directives that can potentially open the market. Fintech’s response? To become more expert at grouping and giving voice to its concerns, helped by support from regulators keen to see the sector thrive. Fast-growing Lat Am fintech is just getting started on the regulatory front, and needs stronger advocates. By contrast, Asia’s fintech sector has been supported almost from the outset by what is seen as a largely exemplary regulatory regime across the region.

Chris Daniel

Atlanta

When it comes to digital technology, what are the major trends you see driving deal-making in Asia over the next 12 months?

Digital technology is dramatically reshaping Chinese companies’ outbound investment. On the one hand, thanks to technological development, targets can be identified and deals can be closed more efficiently. On the other hand, Chinese investors will be more interested in targets in the digital technology sector, and particularly AI and big data.

Despite the above, regulatory concerns still exist. The latest barrier is conversion of RMB into foreign exchange and its remittance. Many Chinese investors are turning to offshore funds controlled by Chinese entities and individuals, which are estimated to be no less than US$1T. Companies need to develop innovative transaction structures to respond to the changing regulatory environment in the era of digital technology.

Jia Yan

Shanghai

What is the top intellectual property challenge facing Internet of Things-focused companies when it comes to pursuing cross-border technology transactions?

IoT products and services generate valuable data collected or transmitted through devices or provided by users, which can be used in data analytics or monetized. Cross-border IoT transactions must therefore consider the data rights laws in each jurisdiction. Since most countries lack IP protection specific to data, data protection must rely on a combination of trade secret, copyright, and contract law. For IoT, contract law is critical, as there are often multiple stakeholders, including the device manufacturer, software developer, service provider, and end user who wish to own, control, or have rights to the data. Additionally, the parties must also consider data privacy laws which can restrict usage or cross-border data transfer.

Jane Song

San Diego

As the Internet of Things continues to integrate into virtually every industry, what will be the most critical legal issues for our clients to keep top of mind?

Data security and privacy continue to be two of the most important legal issues for the IoT. Regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. and data protection authorities in Europe, are increasing their scrutiny of IoT data security and privacy practices following recent cyber-attacks utilizing improperly secured IoT devices. Companies should implement data security and privacy by design and other best practices throughout the development lifecycle to mitigate risk. The international patchwork of data protection law is constantly evolving, and companies need to keep abreast of these developments wherever they operate on the global stage.

Sherrese Smith

Washington, D.C.

Largest Korean outbound M&A transaction on record

A Closer Look

Case Study: Launching Samsung Pay

Highlights of Our Client Successes

Samsung enters automotive and connected car solutions business with US$8B acquisition

We continue to represent Samsung Electronics in complex transactions that accelerate its growth in connected technologies. Most recently, we advised our longtime client on its US$8B acquisition of Harman International Industries, Inc., the market leader in connected car solutions. This marked Samsung’s largest-ever acquisition, and the largest Korean outbound M&A transaction on record. During the past year, we also represented Samsung in its acquisition of Dacor, a leader in luxury kitchen appliances. Our lawyers have also advised Samsung on previous acquisitions and dispositions, including its purchase of CSR Plc’s mobile connectivity and location technology business and our client’s sale of its fiber optics business to Corning Inc.

Guiding a construction leader’s global cyber and IoT protection

We helped leading construction management firm Hill International establish a global cybersecurity, IoT, and privacy protection program. Our work began with an enterprise-wide cyber and privacy assessment, and encompassed the full array of privacy and security policies and procedures. We also provided privacy and cybersecurity advice and guidelines around new construction-related and smart-city IoT applications. In addition, we guided Hill’s implementation of a new intra-group agreement based on model contracts and assisted with certification under the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield Framework.

MSC Software acquired by global IT leader to drive development of connected factories

We advised MSC Software, a leading provider of computer-aided engineering solutions, and its majority stockholder Symphony Technology Group on Hexagon AB’s agreement to acquire MSC for US$834M on a cash and debt-free basis. The deal furthers global IT leader Hexagon’s drive to develop a smart connected factory for manufacturing industries such as automotive and aerospace.

Launching one of the first Internet of Things practices enables us to better guide clients through the evolving IoT landscape