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Outcome of business litigation could help Florida vets

One of the benefits of having served and/or fought for this country is being given preferential treatment for federal contracts to a business owned by a veteran, whether located here in Florida or elsewhere in the country. Federal laws are in place that require federal agencies to ensure that veteran-owned companies receive this benefit. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court entered a business litigation ruling that bolsters the position of these businesses when it comes to bidding for federal contracts.

According to the law, anytime two or more businesses that are owned by veterans are willing to offer a reasonable and fair price to provide services to a federal agency, a bidding process must take place. It is this "rule of two" that came under scrutiny in a lawsuit filed by an out-of-state company. The suit claimed that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) failed to use the prescribed bidding process as dictated by this law.

Mergers and acquisitions of financially distressed companies

When a Florida business falls on hard financial times, it might not be possible to recover. Selling the business could provide its owners with a way to recoup their personal losses and possibly allow the company to remain open and get a second chance at success. Mergers and acquisitions of distressed companies can be complex; whether you are buying or selling, it would not be a good idea to enter into the process alone.

If you are looking to expand your existing business, finding a company that is faltering due to financial issues could provide you with a unique opportunity. Before agreeing to purchase it, however, it's important to make sure that it is the right fit for you. Just because a company is for sale at an attractive price does not mean that it is ultimately a good deal for you and your business.

Rehab center files business litigation against insurance giant

It can sometimes be a challenge to deal with the requirements of health insurance companies. Many Florida residents have experienced the need for a certain type of care or treatment, but they first had to satisfy the insurance company of their medical necessity. These struggles are not limited to individuals. A drug and alcohol rehabilitation center recently filed business litigation against Wellmark Blue Cross-Blue Shield, alleging that the insurance giant owes it nearly $12 million in claims that remain outstanding.

Last year, the insurance company quit making payments to the rehabilitation center. It claimed that the treatments for which the payment requests were submitted were not medically necessary. Wellmark goes on to say that the medical records it received regarding the payments in question did not support the amounts requested. The company further asserts that it attempted to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with the Iowa rehab center, but no settlement was achieved.

Some companies use Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a defense

Creditors can be demanding to the point that a Florida company must begin to consider strategic legal and business moves in order to remain intact. One creative option that some companies use is Chapter 11 bankruptcy. During the proceedings, creditors are kept at bay, which provides the companies that file the time they need to reorganize their finances.

This is what an almost 100-year-old recycling and trash company in New England is doing. The company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but not because its owners consider it to be in financial distress. The company has a creditor that was demanding to take possession of some of the company's property, and the owner did not want that to happen. He sought the protections provided by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, including the stay that halts all collection activities by creditors.

Another oil and gas company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

When oil prices dropped below $30 a barrel, however briefly, it had a significant impact on the oil and gas industry. Many of the country's oil and gas companies experienced financial difficulties, and some filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Florida readers might not be surprised that the latest of these is SandRidge Energy.

The financially distressed oil and gas company was busy working out a restructuring plan with its creditors prior to filing its petition. In its petition, SandRidge claimed to have approximately $4 billion in debts and $7 billion in assets. The plan would allow the company to turn nearly $3.7 billion of its debt into equity.

Business litigation heats up between Groupon and IBM

Nearly everyone in Florida has heard of both IBM and Groupon. IBM has been a recognized brand for decades, and Groupon provides discounts to its members for a variety of products and services in its customers' geographic locations. However, it is safe to say that not everyone has heard that the two companies are involved in business litigation surrounding the use of each other's patents -- and it is heating up quickly.

A couple of months ago, IBM filed a lawsuit alleging that Groupon violated some of its patents. In response, Groupon filed a lawsuit alleging that IBM is infringing on its patents. In its suit, Groupon refers to IBM as a "dial-up era dinosaur" that is using its patents in an attempt to revive its company and shed its reputation as a relic in the technology business.

Another retailer seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Many retailers here in Florida and across the country have been hit hard in recent years due to the recession and the housing market crisis. Aeropostale recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after its plans to turn around the company did not turn out as anticipated. A dispute with one of its largest suppliers made it necessary to take more drastic measures to ensure the future of the company.

According to court filings, the company has $390 million in debts and only $354 million in assets. Crystal Financial LLC has agreed to provide the retailer with bankruptcy financing in the amount of approximately $160 million, so that the company can continue to operate and pay its employees. However, that may mean that some of the company's 739 stores in the United States will need to be closed in order to save the company.

Not all mergers pass regulatory scrutiny

Halliburton, the world's second largest oilfield services company, is going to be writing a check to Baker Hughes, but not because a deal is going to happen. Florida readers might have been aware that Halliburton was going to purchase the smaller company for $28 billion. However, like some other mergers, the deal just could not pass regulatory scrutiny here in the United States, as well as abroad. 

The two companies decided to cancel the merger due -- at least in part -- to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The suit alleged that the merger would only leave two oilfield services companies to dominate the industry. In fact, the combined worth of the two companies when the merger was first announced ($34.6 billion) would actually exceed that of the largest provider, which is Schlumberger.

Timing is essential when it comes to corporate restructuring

Part of being a perceptive business owner is being able to look ahead and make any changes necessary to give the company the best chance of success. In some cases, that means knowing whether corporate restructuring is needed in order to keep the business going. Many Florida businesses encounter financial setbacks at one time or another, and the trick is figuring out the best way to deal with those setbacks.

Determining how much restructuring will be needed can be a daunting process. In many cases, it is not necessary to go to extremes in order to turn things around. Restructuring debts, selling assets and eliminating processes that are not contributing to the success of the business can all help give your company a chance to thrive. Determining the best course of action will most likely require the assistance of an attorney and perhaps other advisers.

PacSun becomes latest mall retailer to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy

In the last few years, brick and mortar retailers in malls around the country and here in Florida have come up against a common problem -- trying to compete with the increase in online shopping. Many of those retailers have turned to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to restructure their businesses in order to remain alive. Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. recently became the latest mall retailer to file for bankruptcy protection.

PacSun's problems began in the 2000s, but an online presence was not the only challenge facing the company. The skate and surf styles the company was known for have fallen out of grace with younger consumers. When new leadership was introduced in 2009, positive changes were made to fix the problem. However, rapid expansion and high rental rates made those changes inadequate for saving the company.

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