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Baton Rouge Business and Commercial Law Blog

Dish Network service restored after contract deal reached

Louisiana residents who are TV aficionados can breathe a sigh of relief that portions of their Dish Network TV service has been restored after a 14 hour outage. The outage ended when Dish Network and Hearst Television were able to meet each other half way and come to terms with their latest agreement. Finalizing the agreement meant that 25 different markets, including New Orleans, that were receiving Hearst stations had those stations finally restored.

The outage started immediately after both companies' prior retransmission-consent contract expired. Until a new contract could be drawn up and negotiated, nearly two million Dish Network active members lost their feeds to about 29 different Hearst stations; not only in the Louisiana market, but other states as well.

Louisiana firm acquired by a major wealth management firm

Growth of businesses occurs through various means such as through partnerships with other businesses, and through mergers & acquisitions. Our Louisiana residents will find it interesting to learn that one of the major wealth management firms, Focus Financial Partners, which has roughly $70 billion in client assets recently acquired a Lafayette, LA advisory firm Summit Financial.

According to a Summit advisor the deal finally became a reality after three years of negotiations. With the resources and help of Focus Financial, it is expected that Summit will be able to acquire more practices in the region. For nearly eight years prior to this recent acquisition, Summit Financial was associated with the Wells Fargo advisors financial network. According to reports, this recent deal is one of the biggest this year for Focus Financial and Summit is expected to add about $600 million in client assets. In addition to Summit Financial, Focus also acquired a wire house group that had managed about a billion dollars in assets at USB.

Bus system expected to run regardless of contract

Most people, at some point in their lives, have used public transit for work, school and more. In fact, according to reports, nearly 1.2 million people ride the bus annually. Thus, if bus service were to halt due to a contract dispute or failure to renew a contract, a large segment of the population which relies on the public transit for their daily activities could be adversely impacted.

Louisiana residents may find it interesting to learn that the City of Monroe has elected to allow First Transit Management Company to continue operating the city's bus system even though their contract expired. According to reports, when First Transit's contract was up for renewal last December, the City Council voted against renewing the contract. This did not cause a lapse in operations however, since the funding for First Transit's operations was secure through the end of April.

Contract awarded to build natural gas plant in Louisiana

Most people are likely familiar with the natural gas boom, and the need for communities to find sources of energy other than imported oil. What Louisiana residents may not know, but may find interesting to learn, is that a contract worth nearly 6 billion dollars was recently struck between CB&I and a Japanese company to build a plant to turn natural gas into liquid form, to be located in southwest Louisiana.

The plant, which is expected to be fully operational by year 2019, is anticipated to result in thousands of new jobs. The expected employment opportunities will be not only at the proposed site of the plant, but also in corporate offices in Baton Rouge, as well as elsewhere in Louisiana. The contract was agreed between CB&I and an American subsidiary of Chiyoda Corp. of Japan on the one side, and Cameron LNG LLC on the other.

Louisiana bill may help small businesses grow

Louisiana residents may be interested to learn that a proposed bill -- House Bill 479 -- would prove to be a huge boon for the southern state's small businesses and budding entrepreneurs. The bill, which is currently in the House, is strongly backed by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber which was behind its inception. The bill would essentially allow members of Louisiana's Small Entrepreneurship Program, also known as the Hudson Initiative to view and bid on all state business contracts.

The Division of Administration, which is responsible for advertising all state contracts, will have to advertise all said contracts with the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (LA PTAC). The LA PTAC was established in 1989 to help business firms get governments contracts at all levels. Though it is active in 54 parishes, the LA PTAC has no physical presence in the states capital, thus it will be partnering with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, which has agreed to provide it with much needed office space to conduct operations, hold meetings and the like. Since the LA PTAC's inception, the center has diverted over $4.5 billion dollars in government contracts to businesses in 54 parishes in the state of Louisiana.

First Bank announces merger agreement

Banks offer businesses and individuals alike the opportunity to borrow funds to invest in a business, to buy a home, save for the future, investment options and more. Most people routinely use banks for their day-to-day activities. Thus, when banks are acquired or merge together into one, customers may wonder how the action may affect them, their assets, bank services and the like.

Louisiana residents familiar with First Bancshares Inc., which is headquartered in Mississippi but with several locations in Louisiana, may find it interesting to learn that the bank recently announced that it would acquire BCB Holding Co. Inc. for a little over $6.5 million in cash and stock. Pending regulatory and shareholder approval, the merger deal is anticipated to be finalized sometime in the second quarter of this year. If approved, First Bank will be have about a billion in total assets, including a little over $835 million in total deposits, and about $624 million in loans.

Lawsuit filed in contract dispute over loan

In order for a business to grow and prosper in this economy, businesses routinely have to borrow money, typically in the form of loans. However, there are times when a business may be unable to repay its loan and a contract dispute might arise.

Louisiana residents and business owners may find it interesting to learn that a contractor recently filed a lawsuit against a construction firm for failure to pay back a loan. The contractor, KMT Painting and Decorating, alleges in its lawsuit,that it entered into an oral agreement with Inman Construction Services wherein KMT would give ICS about $30,000 in the form of a loan. KMT's lawsuit was filed in the Orleans Parish Civil District in early December, 2013

New video streaming deal could benefit Louisiana viewers

Louisiana subscribers of the online video streaming service Netflix, and customers of Comcast will find it interesting to learn that the two well-known companies recently announced a deal which will guarantee that movies, TV shows and other shows on Netflix will be smoothly streamed for their customers.

Louisiana residents may already be aware that Comcast is a TV and Internet service provider. Reports indicate that in an effort to decrease strain on its networks, and to allow the smooth transmission of its content, Comcast worked with Netflix to negotiate a structured deal. According to a research firm, presently Netflix has over 30 million subscribers, and during peak hours the company accounts for nearly a third all the Internet traffic on networks.

Two largest U.S. cable companies to merge

In a world where many people want high broadband speeds, demand high quality video and are constantly craving new internet and video technologies, a merger between two well-known cable providers may be exciting news for consumers. However, our Louisiana residents may find it interesting to learn such mergers are not always easy, and require regulatory approval before the actual merger becomes a reality.

Recently, two of the largest U.S. cable companies, namely Time Warner Cable and Comcast, announced an all stock merger deal. Under the deal, Comcast is expected to get nearly all of Time Warner Cable's 285 million shares. On the other hand, Time Warner will get Comcast stock, which is worth a little over $45 billion. If approved, this merger will likely create a massive pay-television entity for millions who subscribe to their services, and expected to create about 1.5 billion in savings.

International business dispute halts Panama Canal expansion

In today's global economy, businesses across of the world rely on one another for trade, movement of goods and more. In the long run, global business relationships help world economies grow and are potentially good for nations and their citizens. However, sometimes business relationships can get complex, and when an international business dispute arises, the consequences can ripple through the world.

Louisiana residents who may be familiar with the Panama Canal, which connects two of the world's oceans and plays a very important role in international maritime trade, may find it interesting to learn that a multibillion dollar Panama Canal expansion project recently came to a stop after a major disagreement over the cost of the ambitious project surfaced. The international business dispute is over nearly $1.6 billion in overrun costs. Several international companies are part of the Panama Canal expansion consortium. However, according to reports, amid negotiations about solutions on paying the extra cost, the Panama Canal Authority and a Spanish construction company, who are leading the project, appear to be pointing fingers at each other for the extra costs.

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