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Advice for Businesses in Dealing with the Expanding Coronavirus Events

Updated April 3, 2020

The expanding scope of the Coronavirus has created uncertainty and anxiety on a global scale, encompassing both public health and economic impacts. As business leaders around the world grapple with a wide range of questions, Paul Hastings is here to help.

We have established an interdisciplinary task force to advise clients on these critical concerns, in light of the evolving crisis and the continuing flow of information and issues. Please reach out to any of our lawyers listed on this page to discuss issues or concerns specific to your business.

We have also created this web hub to help our clients stay up to date on the latest insights from our lawyers, as well as other useful information and resources related to the Coronavirus. In addition, we recommend following the latest updates from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control.

Labor & Employment

Financial Regulation
& The CARES ACT




Europe

Securities & Capital Markets


 

 

Navigating Share Repurchases in Volatile Markets
The global outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”), together with the oil price war, have fueled the volatility and historical losses in the stock market. Despite this turmoil, a down market also could present opportunities for companies considering buying back their shares. Share repurchase strategies range from traditional open-market share repurchase programs to issuer puts on its own stock to accelerated stock repurchase programs (“ASRs”), which may include embedded floors or caps.
IRS / California FTB: Tax Payments Can be Delayed
On March 18, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice stating that corporations can defer up to $10 million and individuals can defer up to $1 million in tax payments for 90 days. During that three-month deferral period, taxpayers will not be subject to interest, penalties, and additions to tax. Importantly, the Notice does not extend the date to file tax returns or extensions. Filing of federal tax returns can be placed on extension, but taxpayers should still file the extension to file.
Issues for Private Fund Managers in the Age of COVID-19
The spread of the COVID-19 virus and related effects on the market present unique challenges for managers of private investment funds including hedge, private equity and credit funds. Now is the time for these managers to review their fund's governing documents to prepare for liquidity pressure, ensure ongoing compliance with their obligations to the fund and investors, and prepare for future contingencies. Private fund managers should also be ready to address investor inquiries, ongoing regulatory compliance, and portfolio management issues
The WARN Act and Similar State Laws
Hospitality and Leisure Industry Considerations
A survey of more than 400 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) member companies last week found that two-thirds of respondents reported cancelling meetings. The coronavirus (COVID-19) could cost the global business travel industry $47 billion in one month. The coronavirus has infected nearly 150,000 people worldwide and killed thousands. As of this writing, the United States and Puerto Rico have over 3,300 laboratory confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least 63 deaths caused by the virus, with a dramatic uptick in confirmed cases expected as testing becomes more widely available.
SEC Facilitates Cboe Shift to Electronic Trading
The Cboe Exchange Inc. (“Cboe”) announced that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, and until May 15, 2020, it will temporarily close its options trading floor in Chicago amidst growing Coronavirus concerns.
HSR Filings Impacted by COVID-19
On Friday, March 13, 2020, the Premerger Notification Office of the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release detailing changes to the normal procedures for accepting and reviewing premerger notification filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (“HSR Act”).
SEC Releases Additional Guidance to Promote Virtual Annual Meetings and Grants Additional Relief to Investment Advisers and Investment Funds
On March 13, 2020, the SEC issued additional guidance to assist market participants with upcoming annual shareholder meetings, and in particular, to facilitate their ability to hold these meetings and engage with shareholders virtually while maintaining compliance with federal securities laws in the wake of the Coronavirus.
Community Spread, Social Distance, and the Economic Gap: More Dramatic Governmental and Institutional Responses to the Coronavirus
Even as criticism of the timing and extent of the federal response to the Coronavirus remains, and financial markets remain extraordinarily volatile, state and local governments and private institutions have dramatically increased their responses, focusing in particular on closures and cancellations as a means to enforce “social distancing,” thereby reducing community transmission of the virus. Those actions will cause significant short-term disruption and economic pain, but likely are essential to avoiding longer-term and higher rates of infection.
The Impact of Coronavirus on SEC Reporting Obligations and Public Disclosure
We provide a brief overview of the actions taken by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, disclosures made by publicly traded companies in light of COVID-19, and considerations for SEC reporting companies as they continue to confront the evolving situation.
A Global Perspective for the International Employer
We have asked our colleagues and local counsel to provide their insights and commentary on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis. From this, we have identified the key points from a global perspective to assist employers to devise a coordinated and coherent COVID-19 policy for their workforce outside the U.S. After all, local realities impact global strategies.
Attys Prep For Phone Hearings As Fed. Circ. Braces For Virus
Yar Chaikovsky was quoted by Law360 regarding adjustments to the argument schedule at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit where attorneys and clients will need to adjust to cancellations or oral arguments held via teleconference.
Dealmakers See Range Of Renegotiations As Virus Spreads
Brian Richards is extensively quoted by Law360 on how market disruptions are affecting private equity deal negotiations.
Interpreting the Federal Government’s Next Steps Regarding the Coronavirus
In light of the March 11, 2020 Oval Office address, we provide a summary of the federal government’s immediate and likely next steps concerning the Coronavirus.
California Prohibits Mass Gatherings to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
The policy provides that large gatherings that include 250 people or more (e.g., concerts, conferences, sporting events) should be postponed or canceled. Smaller gatherings may proceed but only where there is sufficient space for social distancing (i.e., six feet per person).
Democrats’ Proposed Coronavirus Emergency Aid Package Includes Relief for Employees
Among others, the bill provides paid medical leave to sick and quarantined employees, requires employers to provide additional sick leave, and provides funding for unemployment insurance programs.
Tracking Rising Cases of COVID-19
The World Health Organization has officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. COVID-19 has now affected more than 126,000 individuals in nearly 130 countries, and has resulted in more than 4,600 deaths worldwide.
Coronavirus Impact on Investment Fund Board Meetings
The SEC Division of Investment Management (the “Division”) issued a statement on March 4, 2020 concerning the impact that emergency circumstances related to the Coronavirus might have on investment fund board meetings required under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Act”) and related rules.
SEC Advises Staff to Telework
On March 10, 2020, the SEC encouraged its Washington, D.C.-based employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future following an announcement that a doctor referred one of its employees for Coronavirus testing. The move likely will result in postponement of SEC meetings, as well as upcoming SEC depositions and testimony.
Annual Shareholders Meetings Delayed or to Be Held Virtually
Corporations are considering whether and under what circumstances their annual shareholder meetings should occur.