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California Business, Insurance And Environmental Law Blog

The potential antitrust issues of a Hasbro-Mattel merger

When parents in California go shopping for holiday gifts for their young children, they are likely to run into two major brands: Hasbro and Mattel. For decades, these two companies have been known for their extensive toy catalogs as well as their fierce rivalry, which is a major reason why the public merger proposed by Hasbro to Mattel has raised eyebrows.

Mattel made headlines by rejecting the bid presented by Hasbro, describing it as being not just too low but also inconsiderate of potential antitrust issues. Since details about the proposed corporate strategy formulated by Hasbro have not been released, it is not easy to assume whether Mattel is correct to imply that the Department of Justice would scrutinize the merger. While it is true that a single Hasbro-Mattel entity would be the most dominant force in toys around the world, it should be noted that not a single toymaker has complained about this potential merger.

The basic tenets of starting a new business

For California entrepreneurs, starting a new company may be a lot like starting a new musical group. Both ventures take a lot of hard work, sleepless nights and time spent working without necessarily earning a paycheck. However, those who are successful might have greater future opportunities and control over their careers. Like creating a business, starting a band requires that a person take stock of his or her skills.

In many cases, it is necessary to form relationships with others who possess unique skills. Having a strong network can make it possible to find business partners or other talent for the organization. No matter what a person's skill set may be, passion is necessary for the venture to be successful. Having passion for a company makes the work easier and could help a person stay motivated during down or lean times.

Creating a new business

People in California who want to become entrepreneurs should be aware that starting a business is an involved process. There are many steps they should take to ensure that their enterprises have the best chances of being successful.

The first step someone should take before investing significant time, money and effort into launching a business is to conduct market research. Market research is used to determine if an idea can become an actual successful business. Information gathered from nearby business owners and possible customers can be used to explore the business idea and create a strategy for becoming competitive in the marketplace.

Were California's wildfires caused by negligent power companies?

The recent wildfires in Northern California left numerous people wondering how such widespread devastation could occur. One atmospheric scientist decided to look for answers in weather forecasts from early October.

What the atmospheric scientist from the University of Washington discovered was clear: Weather -- particularly winds speeds -- on Oct. 8 indicated the risk of firestorms. If power companies and municipalities in Northern California had been paying attention to wind conditions, they would have known to turn off the power grid.

About errors and omissions insurance

Having the right type of insurance coverage is a part of operating a successful business in California. One type of insurance that tends to be ignored by people who run businesses is errors and omissions insurance.

As a type of business liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance provides coverage for those who receive professional services. Mistakes can have a negative financial impact and occur during nearly all types of transactions, regardless of the nature of the profession.

Mistakes entrepreneurs should look to avoid

Most startups in California and elsewhere will run into problems at some point. Even if an entrepreneur has a quality idea, his or her company may not be as successfully as imagined. In some cases, this is because of a lack of planning on the part of the entrepreneur. Ideally, a company will know who its target customer is, what that person's price point is and other variables before beginning operations.

Not knowing who the target customer is may result in time and money spent marketing to the wrong person. It is also possible that a business will market where the target customers won't see the message. Failure to use technology or to not use the right technology may also result in a business idea failing to reach its potential.

Why startups may fail

Those who are thinking of starting a business in California or elsewhere should know that only 20 percent of businesses survive past the first year. Half of these companies fail because of a lack of funding or ability to generate a profit. This often is due to business owners taking any deals that they are offered when first starting their companies.

However, doing so may compromise either the founder's values or the standards that the company wants to follow. By looking for the right fit, an organization may prosper in the long run even if it means losing a few deals in the present. A startup also may struggle if it does not have a proper name. It is important to remember that a company's name is the first thing by which an investor or client will judge it. The name also goes on a website and an app. Therefore, it should be short, catchy and an accurate reflection of the brand.

Potential merger of Sprint and T-Mobile falls through

California business owners might be interested to learn that the potential merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has apparently fallen through. The two companies issued a joint statement on Nov. 4 that the merger would not happen.

In the statement, the companies said that their talks had ended. There has been ongoing speculation for several years that the companies would merge. Recently, T-Mobile has enjoyed a growth in its customer base while Sprint has been saddled with debt. T-Mobile stated that it could not proceed with a deal unless doing so would add value for its customers.

Why security is important for new companies

Business owners in California and elsewhere should have a cybersecurity policy from the minute they start their companies. While technology strategy was once an afterthought, it now plays a major role in running a successful company. In many cases, how a company uses technology will dictate how the company operates. This is generally true even if a business isn't in the technology sector.

Documents such as emails, financial information and other records may be kept on a server or some other network. These documents may be just as or more valuable to someone else as they are to a business owner. In some cases, an information thief simply observes as emails are sent or other data is revealed inside the network. At some point, the hacker may choose to sell information to another party who may be able to use it for their own business purposes.

Reasons why many small businesses fail

A majority of new small businesses in California will fail within the first few years. A whopping 75 percent of startups that receive venture funding fail. Most other types of small enterprises fail within the first 10 years after opening. There are multiple reasons that small businesses fail, and entrepreneurs might avoid these problems with careful planning.

The leading cause of small business failure is a product that does not fit its market. Business owners should conduct market research to determine what consumers in the market need and what type of products might help them solve different problems. Another issue that can lead to business failures is the use of the wrong types of marketing channels to advertise the products.

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