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MORRISON & FOERSTER ELECTS 11 NEW PARTNERS

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Morrison &Foerster announced the election of 11 lawyers to the firm’s partnership, effective January 1, 2015. The group, comprised of five women and six men, includes lawyers from nine practice groups across seven offices.

“We are proud to introduce an impressive new partner class that embodies the very best of MoFo,” said Morrison &Foerster chair Larren M. Nashelsky. “These talented lawyers, with wide-ranging experience across their practices, have shown a deep commitment to clients and the firm. We look forward to their future contributions as our partners.”

The following lawyers have been elected partner:

Marc Hearron, a member of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Group, resident in the Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Hearron has prepared more than 100 appellate briefs in cases at every appellate level, including in the Supreme Court of the United States, federal courts of appeals, and several state appellate courts. He also has argued multiple cases in federal courts of appeals. Mr. Hearron is particularly experienced in patent and bankruptcy appeals. He served as a law clerk for Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and for Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Mr. Hearron received his J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

Jeff Kayes, a member of the Financial Transactions Group and the Project Finance Group, resident in the San Francisco office. Mr. Kayes focuses on the representation of financial institutions, other institutional lenders, and borrowers in complex debt and equity financings. He has extensive experience in leveraged acquisition finance and project finance, including the development and financing of manufacturing facilities and renewable energy projects and tax equity investments. He has represented clients operating in a variety of industries, including biotechnology, clean technology, finance, gaming, renewable energy, semiconductors, and software, among others. Mr. Kayes also has extensive experience representing clients in acquisitions of energy projects in all phases of development, including investments in individual or portfolios of projects. He has advised clients in connection with such transactions for natural gas, wind, biomass, hydro, and solar facilities. Mr. Kayes earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Angela Kleine, a member of the Financial Services Litigation Group, resident in the San Francisco office. Ms. Kleine’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation and enforcement, with an emphasis on defending and advising financial services companies in matters under banking, fair lending, consumer reporting, and unfair and deceptive acts and practices laws and regulations. In 2014, she was named one of the “Thirty-five Under 35” women rising stars in the mortgage banking industry. Ms. Kleine received her J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Jennifer Marines, a member of the Business Restructuring and Insolvency Group, resident in the New York office. Ms. Marines has experience representing chapter 11 debtors, creditors, investors, and other parties in interest in all aspects of complex corporate restructurings, including chapter 11 cases, out-of-court restructurings, and distressed acquisitions. Her practice includes advising senior management and boards of directors of financially troubled companies with respect to restructuring and business operations in chapter 11; advising official committees of creditors with respect to restructuring strategies; negotiating and structuring financings and other commercial transactions; and advising clients seeking to purchase businesses and related assets out of chapter 11 proceedings. Ms. Marines also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert D. Drain, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York. She earned her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Tritia Murata, a member of the Employment and Labor Group, resident in the Los Angeles office. Ms. Murata’s practice includes a broad range of employment and commercial litigation in both state and federal courts. She is an experienced wage-and-hour litigator and has successfully defeated class certification in multiple actions alleging violations of state and federal wage-and-hour laws. She also has significant experience successfully litigating complex employee and customer raiding cases involving duty of loyalty, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair competition issues. In 2013, The Recorder named Ms. Murata among its 50 “Lawyers on the Fast Track.”  She received her J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.

Keith Print, a member of the Real Estate Group, resident in the New York office. Mr. Print regularly represents lenders in syndicated mortgage, mezzanine, subscription, and corporate/REIT credit facilities, as well as construction loan transactions involving prominent developers of multi-family apartment buildings and office buildings, among other asset classes. He spends a significant amount of his time representing the lead lenders in large construction financings, including large-scale credit enhancement for government-issued tax-exempt and taxable bonds, the proceeds of which are used to finance luxury multi-family projects throughout New York City that offer affordable-rate and market-rate housing. More recently he has been advising lenders on the purchase of such tax-exempt and taxable bonds. Mr. Print is also experienced in advising clients on real estate sales and acquisitions, ground leases, and office leases. He has counseled clients on a variety of sales and acquisitions, including those involving landmark hotels and complex industrial land. He has also represented clients on various office lease transactions. Mr. Print earned his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law.

Jessica Rice, a member of the Federal Tax Group, resident in the San Diego office. Ms. Rice advises both public and private companies on a wide range of executive and equity compensation and employee-benefits matters, including with respect to equity incentive plans, nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, retention, severance and change-of-control arrangements, employment agreements, tax-qualified retirement plans, and other incentive and benefits arrangements. In addition, Ms. Rice has substantial experience advising on compensation and benefits matters in U.S. and cross-border corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions and public offerings. She received her J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law, and her LL.M. from New York University School of Law.

Jeremy Schropp, a member of the Corporate Group, resident in the Northern Virginia office. Mr. Schropp’s practice focuses on representing technology and emerging-growth companies in a variety of sectors, including government contracting, defense, cybersecurity, data analytics, clean technology, software, communications, and construction. He is experienced in advising on and managing a broad range of corporate transactional matters, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital and debt financings, and corporate governance matters. Mr. Schropp earned his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Shane Shelley, a member of the Federal Tax Group, resident in the San Diego office. Mr. Shelley has a comprehensive tax practice with a focus on federal income tax matters. He has substantial experience advising on the tax aspects of business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, fund formations, venture capital investments, and international structuring. In addition, his expertise includes familiarity with a range of complex capital markets transactions, and experience advising real estate investment trusts and regulated investment companies. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Nathan Taylor, a member of the Financial Services and the Privacy and Data Security Practice Groups, resident in Washington, D.C. Mr. Taylor’s practice focuses on assisting companies that handle consumer data in navigating through complex privacy and data security issues. He has assisted hundreds of companies in preventing and responding to data security incidents. Mr. Taylor regularly advises clients on federal and state financial privacy laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Right to Financial Privacy Act. He also advises clients on a wide spectrum of state privacy and information security laws. Mr. Taylor earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Stephanie Thomas, a member of the Private Equity Funds Group, resident in the San Francisco and Sacramento offices. Ms. Thomas focuses her practice on private equity fund formation, where she represents fund sponsors and institutional investors in connection with the formation of, and investments in, buyout funds, venture capital funds, secondary funds, debt funds, fund-of-funds, and other private equity funds, ranging in size and investment focus. Ms. Thomas has been involved in several hundred significant fund formations, involving foreign and domestic funds, including many of the largest private equity funds ever formed. She routinely advises fund sponsors and investors on cross-border structuring alternatives, ongoing investment and co-investment activities, and regulatory compliance. Ms. Thomas received her J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.

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Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises

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Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises 1

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – A combination of heightened risk appetite in global markets and UK-specific optimism lifted the pound on Wednesday, as it strengthened to its highest in nearly three years against the dollar and five-month highs against the euro.

The dollar weakened against major currencies for the third straight session, helped by U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s urging lawmakers to “act big” on spending and worry about debt later.

The pound rose above $1.37, hitting $1.3720 — its highest since May 2018 — at 1045 GMT. By 1136 GMT it had eased some gains and changed hands at $1.3687, up 0.4% on the day and up 0.2% so far this year.

Versus the euro, the pound hit a five-month high of 88.38 pence per euro, before easing to 88.51 at 1137 GMT, up around 0.5% on the day.

The pound’s recent strengthening can be attributed in part to relief among investors that the impact of Brexit has not caused the chaos some feared, as well as a lessening of negative rates expectations, said Neil Jones, head of FX sales at Mizuho.

“Going into early 2021, there was a bearish sentiment building into the pound on the Brexit deal, in terms of maybe it had a limited reach, and then secondly an expectation of negative rates and so to some extent the market has been cutting down on sterling shorts because neither of those things have been quite so apparent as they were,” he said.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said last week that there were “lots of issues” with cutting interest rates below zero – a comment which caused sterling to jump.

The UK’s progress in rolling out vaccines is also seen as a positive for investors, Jones said.

Currently, the United Kingdom has vaccinated 4.27 million people with a first dose of the vaccine, among the best in the world per head of population.

“Further progress in vaccinations (a pick-up in the daily rate) by the time the BoE MPC meeting takes place on 4th February may prove enough to hold off on any additional monetary easing,” wrote Derek Halpenny, head of research for global markets at MUFG.

Inflation data for December showed that prices in the UK picked up by more than expected in December, to a 0.6% annual rate.0.6

Inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target since mid-2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it close to zero as the economy tanked.

(Graphic: CFTC: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/oakpeyayxpr/CFTC.png)

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Larry King)

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Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar

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Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar 2

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON (Reuters) – The euro struggled to join a broader risk rally against the dollar on Wednesday as analysts said the risk of extended lockdowns in Europe to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the continent’s lag in a vaccine rollout were weighing on the currency.

Down 0.1% against the dollar at $1.2117 by 1130 GMT, Europe’s shared currency had only the safe-haven Swiss franc and Sweden’s crown for company in resisting a broad rally against the greenback by the G-10 group of currencies.

“We’re getting more headlines that the current lockdowns will be extended further, which could mean that the euro zone would be flirting with a double-dip recession before long,” said Valentin Marinov, head of G10 FX research at Credit Agricole, noting Europe’s lag in rolling out a coronavirus vaccine compared to the United States and Britain.

“So all of that plays into the story that tomorrow’s ECB meeting, while uneventful in terms of policy announcements, could convey a relatively dovish message to the market. On top of that, President Lagarde could once again jawbone the euro, so the euro is kind of lagging behind.”

Marinov also noted price action in the pound, which hit $1.3720 – a 2-1/2-year high – and 88.38 pence – its highest since May 2020 against the euro – as a contributing factor to euro weakness. [GBP/]

There was also focus on a story by Bloomberg News, which reported the European Central Bank was conducting its bond purchases with specific yield spreads in mind, a strategy that would be reminiscent of yield curve control.

Elsewhere, the risk-sensitive Australian dollar gained 0.4% to $0.7727. The New Zealand dollar, also a commodity currency like the Aussie, gained 0.25% to $0.7133.

DOLLAR WEAKNESS

While the world will be watching Joe Biden’s inauguration as U.S. president at noon in Washington (1700 GMT), traders were more focused on his policies than the ceremony.

U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers at her confirmation hearing to “act big” on stimulus spending and said she believes in market-determined exchange rates, without expressing a view on the dollar’s direction.

The index that measures the dollar’s strength against a basket of peers was up almost 0.1% at 90.510. The euro forms nearly 60% of the dollar index by weight.

It also fell 0.1% against the Japanese yen to 103.81 yen per dollar.

While the dollar has perked up in recent weeks on the back of a rise in U.S. Treasury yields, investors still expect the currency to weaken.

“We remain bearish U.S. dollar, and expect the downtrend to resume as U.S. real yields top out,” said Ebrahim Rahbari, FX strategist at CitiFX.

“Continued Fed dovishness remains important for our view, in addition to global recovery, so we’ll watch upcoming Fed-speak closely.”

Positioning data shows investors are overwhelmingly short dollars as they figure that budget and current account deficits will weigh on the greenback.

(Graphic: Dollar positioning: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/oakveyombvr/Pasted%20image%201611132945366.png)

UBS Global Wealth Management’s chief investment officer Mark Haefele reiterated a bearish view on the dollar, saying that pro-cyclical currencies such as the euro, commodity-producer currencies, and the pound would benefit “from a broadening economic recovery supported by vaccine rollouts”.

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin fell 4%, trading at $34,468.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry

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England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry 3

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – Burberry stuck to its full-year goals on Wednesday after a media campaign fronted by high-profile English soccer star and social justice advocate Marcus Rashford drew a younger clientele to the British luxury brand.

Higher full-price sales would boost annual margins and Asian demand remained strong, Burberry said, while warning that it could suffer more sales disruption from COVID-19 lockdowns.

Manchester United striker Rashford, 23, has won plaudits for his campaign to help ensure that poorer children do not go hungry with schools closed during the pandemic.

A first coronavirus wave last year cut Burberry’s sales by as much as 45% before a bounce back on strong demand in mainland China and South Korea, which continued in the last few months.

Shares in Burberry were up 5% to 1,825 pence at 0905 GMT, with Citi analysts saying that improved sales quality from fewer markdowns would drive full-year consensus upgrades.

Burberry’s 9% sales decline in its third quarter was worse than the 6% fall in the second, and the company said that 15% of stores were currently closed and 36% operating with restrictions as a result of measures to curb COVID-19’s spread.

“We expect trading will remain susceptible to regional disruptions as we close the financial year,” Burberry said, adding that it was confident of rebounding when the pandemic eases given the brand’s resonance with customers.

In the third quarter, comparable store sales in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa declined 37%, hit by shops shut in lockdowns and a lack of tourists visiting Europe, but in the same period, it posted sales growth of 11% in Asia Pacific.

Burberry said that Britain’s new relationship with the European Union would cause headwinds, warning of a modest increase in costs to comply with new rules and also the impact of an end to a scheme for VAT refunds for non-EU tourists.

This would make Britain a less attractive destination for luxury shopping when tourism returns after the pandemic, Burberry said, adding that it would try to mitigate the effect.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton, James Davey and Alexander Smith)

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