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May 2013 Archives

New jobs to be created by lozenge company

A new lozenge company will open distribution operations and headquarters in Danville, Virginia, a move that is expected to create about 150 jobs over the next three years. The business formation by AllergEase is predicted to ease unemployment in both Guilford and Rockingham County, where the unemployment rate is currently 11.3 percent.

Real estate fund closes $1.2 billion merger deal with hotel chain

A Virginia real estate investment fund recently merged with a hotel chain in a deal worth $1.2 billion, including the assumption of debt. Richmond-based Apple REIT Six Inc. announced it merged with BRE Select Hotels Corp. (BRE), which is part of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII. The deal allows BRE to expand into new markets, adding to its portfolio of hotels.

Hagerstown propane company purchases Virginia firm

Company acquisitions aren't just for the big corporations who gobble each other up. Business acquisitions and mergers also occur at smaller levels, including between regional companies. An example of this recently took place between two businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Carpet cleaner sues Yelp to reveal identity of online reviewers

One of the benefits of online review sites is that consumers say what they thought of a business without their identities being made public. However, Yelp is embroiled in business litigation after a Virginia company sought to compel Yelp to produce user identifying information.

LAW OFFICE OF RICHARD L DOWNEY

Carpet cleaner sues Yelp to reveal identity of online reviewers One of the benefits of online review sites is that consumers say what they thought of a business without their identities being made public. However, Yelp is embroiled in business litigation after a Virginia company sought to compel Yelp to produce user identifying information. In July, the company sued seven Yelp users for defamation based on negative reviews. There were additional reviews containing similar comments. Those users were not sued. The plaintiff alleged that the reviews were false and may have been written by competitors to harm the company's reputation. The company served a subpoena on Yelp asking the company to identify the users. Yelp objected to the subpoena. The court found Yelp in contempt and imposed a $500 fine for not complying. The fine has been stayed pending appeal. Public Citizen filed an amicus brief arguing that a person should be required to prove that a defamation suit has merit before compelling a company to release information on website users. State defamation laws prohibit a person from making an untrue factual statement about a person or a business if the statement is the type that is likely to harm the reputation of the subject. Reviewers are typically protected if they only state facts or their opinions of the service received. A ruling in favor of the carpet cleaners in this case could have far-reaching ramifications on internet review sites. A local attorney may assist those whose businesses have been negatively impacted by anonymous online complaints or reviews to identify the persons who left the reviews and recover compensation for the harm to the businesses' reputations. Source: The Consumerist, "Yelp Fights Against Outing Anonymous Reviewers In Lawsuit By Carpet Cleaner", Chris Morran, May 8, 2013

Time Warner could eye CBS for acquisition

Virginia residents may have heard that a merger between CBS and Time Warner may be reality in the near future. According to some analysts, a merger between the two media giants makes sense now more than ever. By acquiring CBS, Time Warner could expand into new markets by adding one of the major broadcast networks to its stable of media properties, which includes the Warner Brothers film studio and cable channels HBO and TBS. CBS and Time Warner combined would bring substantial size and bargaining power to the negotiating table with cable providers. Many providers would feel obligated to carry CBS, and that leverage would allow Time Warner to demand higher carriage fees for its other cable channels. Time Warner would then be able to compete with other media giants that also own broadcast networks, such as News Corp, which owns Fox, and Disney, which owns ABC and ESPN.

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