Mazda and Sumitomo Agree to Transfer Shares of MMVO, a Joint Venture Production Base in Mexico MMVO to be owned solely by Mazda by the end of this fiscal year


Mazda Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation officially agreed today to Mazda obtaining all the shares Sumitomo owns in Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation (MMVO). After the formalities regarding the transfer, MMVO will be a production base owned 100 percent by Mazda by the end of the fiscal year ending in March 2021.

MMVO was jointly established as a cooperative enterprise between Mazda and Sumitomo in September 2011 that leverages the strengths of both companies. Receiving support from both parties as well as the local community, MMVO has striven to realize Mazda’s high-quality and flexible car manufacturing while also promoting localization and personnel development. 

More than nine years since its establishment, MMVO became one of Mazda’s major production facilities with its localization strengthened thanks to Sumitomo’s experience and knowledge as well as its cumulative production volume reaching as many as 1 million units. It was agreed that as MMVO reaches its 10th year since its foundation, Mazda will become the sole proprietor of MMVO as a result of discussions between Mazda and Sumitomo on MMVO’s future plans and management.

In the future, Mazda and Sumitomo will continue to cooperate as important business partners in various business areas in and out of Japan. MMVO will continue to contribute to the local economy as well as further development of the automotive industry in the country.

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10 Steps to Become a Fiscally Responsible Person


If you’ve wanted to take charge of your financial situation, you’re not alone. While fiscal responsibility is usually a term associated with the government, you can apply the concept to personal financing.

Managing and being accountable for your finances can begin today. Follow these 10 steps to becoming a fiscally responsible person.


1. Determine Your Goals

Becoming fiscally responsible requires you to set goals and make an action plan for yourself. Being accountable for your finances requires determination — no one else can do it for you.

Write out a statement of what you want to achieve with your money, whether it be paying off small debts or saving money for an item like a car. Setting yourself up for success from the beginning will help you see things through to the end.


2. Know Your Money Status

After determining your goals, you have to create a budget, including where money is coming in and going out. If you don’t already have a budget, keep track of your spending for a few months.

Use your budget to get a complete picture of your financial habits. If you spend more than you take in, you should reassess your goals to start saving money.


3. Pay Debts

Debts tend to linger. If you want to become fiscally responsible, you’ll need to pay off any outstanding debts with high interest rates, which could include student loans or credit card debt.

Start by putting as much as you can afford toward your debts each week. As your debt shrinks, you’ll owe less each time.


4. Save for an Emergency Fund

Use an emergency fund to cover any emergency costs, like medical expenses or substantial bills. To put it simply, it’s buffer money.

The emergency fund should equal the amount of money you get from three months of paychecks. If you feel you are more likely to be in a situation where you need an emergency fund, contribute more when you can.


5. Invest, Invest, Invest

Investing for the future will help you achieve your financial goals because it enables you to attain some wealth and allows for more of a buffer in emergencies. Begin by investing for yourself in things like a retirement fund or a 401(k).

Once you’ve started building your nest egg, you can invest in other things like stocks or real estate.


6. Protect Yourself and Your Family

Insurance is there to cover you and your family in the case of an emergency. Types of insurance include auto, medical, home and life insurances.

Some employers will provide their employees with an insurance plan. If not, research insurance companies and choose one that will suit your needs.


7. Build Your Credit

When you have a higher credit score, you have lower interest rates, and you have a better chance of applying for a loan or renting an apartment. It’s essential that you are responsible with your credit cards, though. Pay off your credit card bill as soon as you can, just like you do with all your others.


8. Spend With Caution

Even if you have paid off your debts and begun to save for your future, you should continue to be cautious with your money. Avoid temptations — if you like to buy shoes, maybe stay away from shoe stores or websites.

It’s essential to be wise with your spending habits. A few frivolous purchases can add up quickly.


9. Don’t Wait to Pay Bills

As soon as a bill comes due, pay it as quickly as possible to keep your payments from accruing. Once you allow bills to pile up, the expenses may soon become more than you can handle at one given time.

Spread out your payments and mark all due dates on your calendar. Keeping a monthly bill schedule will make you more fiscally responsible.


10. Maintain These Habits

If you have achieved your financial goals, that’s great! However, you must continue these steps to be financially responsible. You can’t stop paying bills on time or cancel all your insurance coverage.

Continue to save and manage your budget as time passes. Be wise with your spending, and keep increasing your credit score.


Your Financial Future Begins at Step One

Achieving a life goal like becoming a fiscally responsible person begins with small, practical steps. Once you have defined realistic objectives, you will be well on your way to controlling your financially accountable future.

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Best IP Law Firm – North Carolina


Pedigo Law Firm has most recently been awarded “Best IP Law Firm – North Carolina” by U.S. Business News Magazine in its Legal Elite Awards 2020, a research and merit-based selection by an independent panel based on criteria including, but not limited to:  client dedication, innovation, business growth, longevity, online reputation, customer feedback, and business performance.  Intellectual property is all about proving uniqueness in a saturated and competitive global market full of innovative technology, medical advancements, and specialty products.

Pedigo Law Firm is a boutique IP counseling practice based in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Its managing attorney, Paul Pedigo, believes that “the best quality intellectual property products are the collaborations of many minds including the attorney and the creator among them.”  

Martindale-Hubbell® has accepted Pedigo Law Firm to the Bar Register of Preeminent LawyersTM since 2011, which is exclusive to AV® PreeminentTM attorneys.  Managing attorney Paul Pedigo has held the highest possible peer review rating of 5.0/5 in both legal ability and ethical standards for nearly 20 years, since 2001.  He has been listed among Super Lawyers North Carolina and among the North Carolina Legal Elite on four occasions and as early as 2006.  The American Registry placed Paul among America’s most honored lawyers, the top 1%, from 2016 through 2020, and most recently he was also recognized in 2020 for Excellence in Intellectual Property by Lawyers of Distinction and as a Top Attorney of North America by The Who’s Who Directories, each of these based on factually substantiated criteria, including peer-based selection.   

Intellectual property, although intangible, has remarkable consequences prompting businesses to avidly seek protection for their ideas and investments and to stop infringements. Oftentimes businesses and their stakeholders, whether it be a large corporation or a startup, fail to register the need for legal services, let alone develop a comprehensive and proactive IP strategy. That is where Pedigo Law Firm functions at its best:  resolving such findings for its innovative clients in the life science, chemical, packaging, and machinery fields, whether medical devices, pharmaceuticals, or cosmetics, just to name a few.  Clients have concluded that Pedigo Law Firm’s “unique insights have enabled [the Firm] to patent innovations that [the client was] not even aware of being novel and inventive.”   

Pedigo Law Firm’s multi-disciplinary IP approach includes work experience drawn from top-tier corporate firms in Chicago as well as Charlotte in addition to major international organizations. The Firm has consistently helped its clients take a proactive approach in preserving and protecting their intellectual property in up to as many as 70 countries, validating Abraham Lincoln’s claim that “the patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”  Significant patents written by Mr. Pedigo in the poly(ethylene glycol) chemistry field became blockbuster drugs earning over one billion dollars a year in annual revenue.  The Firm’s relationship-focused representation allows it to offer IP expertise in a strategic, hands-on way that has extended to the pharmaceutical, medical devices, chemicals, optics, life sciences, biotech, packaging, and complex machinery arenas.

Management is by example and proves that “the breadth of the lawyers background, depth of curiosity and the quality of being a quick study of people and technologies provides the raw material to build effective intellectual property protection.”  For the managing attorney, becoming an intellectual property lawyer was a natural progression from engineering practice, requiring both technical knowledge, engineering experience, and a mastery in writing.  Paul’s foundational education in English and Philosophy with expanded course work in topics such as Anthropology, Botany, and Zoology from Vanderbilt University (B.A., 1976) grounded his pursuits in Chemical Engineering, also from Vanderbilt (B.E.,1980), Law from Loyola University of Chicago (J.D., 1985), and post-graduate study in the LL.M. program in intellectual property law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago prior to moving to North Carolina.  This foundation and fascination with how things work helped engineer his patent, copyright, and trademark career. 

Paul advises his IP colleagues that “by obtaining, over their lifetimes, as broadly based an education as possible, well grounded in the arts, sciences, literature, and engineering,” lawyers can better serve their clients.”  The notable inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell once postured that “great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.”  Paul has proved Graham’s statement several times over the course of his years in IP that clearly defining roles – the inventor as a technical expert, the advertiser as the brand advocate, and the lawyer as the professor of all the patent and trademark knowledge – is advantageous for all contributors.

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Hundreds of millions of eCommerce parcels into the US set to be rejected unless higher data quality threshold is met from January 1, 2021


Several hundred million mail parcels destined for the United States will be rejected when the requirement for a higher threshold of advance electronic data comes into force on January 1, 2021.

Posts have had it confirmed that as of that date any parcels arriving in the US with incorrect or incomplete data will be refused and returned to origin.

Hurricane Commerce, a specialist in cross-border eCommerce trade data and compliance technology, says the United States Postal Service (USPS) deadline leaves posts with a huge challenge to meet in just a few weeks.

The January 1 deadline marks the latest step in the enforcement of the US STOP Act which is primarily intended to crack down on the importation of illicit opioids into the country.

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “The USPS is under pressure to fully implement the STOP Act and posts have been informed that the quality threshold for valid advance electronic data on mail parcels is being raised to a whole new level from the start of next year.

“From January 1, posts will be expected without exception to provide complete and valid data on all inbound mail parcels into the US.

“As things stand that means several hundred million parcels are likely to be rejected and eventually returned to their origin.

“This kind of volume will not only create immense logistical challenges but will also have a serious impact on air cargo capacity.

“Refused parcels will be returned to their country of origin which, in turn, will lead to mail parcel blockages of tens of millions of items. This problem will be exacerbated by the huge reduction in the number of planes flying due to Covid-19.

“The cost implications are significant in terms of warehousing, storage and returns, while there is also the issue of customer dissatisfaction and the increase in carbon footprint.”

Earlier this year, Hurricane Commerce launched its easy to integrate Zephyr data enhancement product which allows bulk clearance facilities to check the accuracy of data including product descriptions and HS6 codes, and receive additional pertinent or missing information all under a single quick check function.

Zephyr can process over 700 million requests a day and can, on an item by item API call base, provide for a real time feedback with response times of 100 milliseconds. The screening of a file consisting of a maximum of 10,000 items that is sent to Hurricane takes no more than 15 minutes.

David Spottiswood, a co-founder of Hurricane Commerce, said: “The USPS deadline is real and is just a few weeks away from being rigorously enforced.

“Our Zephyr solution has been created specifically to meet this challenge and can be activated and delivering enhanced data quickly.

“We know from customer results that Zephyr enables posts to achieve the required data quality threshold.

“Posts which are able to meet the rigorous higher standards being set by the USPS are likely to gain a competitive edge in the world of cross-border trade.”

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Identifying Fraud In Cross Border M&A

m and a

By Philip Young, Partner and Peter Stewart, Associate at Cooke Young & Keidan

Q3 2020 was the busiest third quarter on record for global M&A deals. During the national lockdowns caused by the coronavirus crisis, activity in the deal-making arena stagnated. As some nations have relaxed restrictions and/or the world has adjusted to a new reality, there appears to be a keen desire to make up for the lack of activity in the early part of the year.

However, whilst this impetus in the market is undoubtedly to be welcomed, it is important to be wary that as pressure mounts to ensure the swift conclusion of deals, so may the temptation to cut corners or, worse, engage in fraudulent activity. A 2016 report into cross-border M&A disputes found that approximately 10% of post M&A disputes involved allegations of fraud central to the claim[1].

It is therefore critical, particularly during times of market turbulence, that participants in the M&A market are aware of the risk of fraud, any specific risks that may arise out of a given deal (for example, if it is cross-border) and the steps that should be taken to prevent the need for future litigation.


The risk of fraud in cross-border M&A

The term ‘fraud’ can encompass a variety of different meanings. In the context of M&A transactions, however, it usually refers to the situation in which a buyer alleges in a civil dispute that the seller made false or misleading statements in order to induce the buyer to agree to the terms of the contract. As a matter of English law, a buyer would ordinarily need to show that the seller made a false representation, which was material, made dishonestly (i.e. intentionally or recklessly), the buyer relied on the representation and suffered loss as a consequence. Under most common law systems including the USA, the test for fraud in a civil claim includes similar elements.

A frequent situation in which such allegations arise is where the seller purports to provide valuations to the buyer, which, in fact, the sellers have inflated.[2] Clearly, in order to show that the provision of such valuations amounted to fraud (as opposed to negligence), the buyer would need to show that the seller knew that the valuations were inaccurate. This is precisely the nature of the allegation in the long-running transatlantic saga relating to the acquisition by Hewlett-Packard of the UK software company Automony in 2011, in which it is alleged that the former Autonomy CEO, Mike Lynch, and former CFO, Sushovan Hussain, fraudulently overstated Autonomy’s value causing a loss of approximately US$ 5 billion.

It should be noted that a buyer’s risks from fraudulent conduct are not limited to substantial financial loss of the type demonstrated in the Autonomy case. A failure to identify fraud at the pre-acquisition stage may have the consequence that the fraud continues to be perpetrated once the acquisition has taken place, for which the buyer may be held accountable and which could lead to fines, penalties and even criminal sanctions. It is therefore critical that buyers protect themselves by discovering any fraudulent conduct at the earliest possible stage. 


Mitigating the risk

Naturally, professionals involved in cross-border M&A transactions will be aware of the risk of fraud and the need to undertake due diligence to mitigate that risk. Nevertheless, even in complex international transactions, fraud can be very difficult to detect because sophisticated fraudsters are likely to know that due diligence will be conducted and will take every possible step to prevent their fraud from being discovered by that process.

One common misconception on the part of buyers is a belief that audited accounts provide sufficient due diligence. As David Dunckley, CEO of Grant Thornton, told a parliamentary select committee, “if people are colluding and there is a sophisticated fraud, that may not be caught by normal audit procedures”. Purchasers should therefore be wary of this expectation gap, particularly in relation to a cross-border transaction where accounting and audit conventions or practices may differ between the respective countries involved in the transaction. One solution is as part of the due diligence team to instruct appropriate forensic accountants, who will conduct a detailed investigation into the financials of the business by examining assets, revenue streams and other relevant matters (such as the company’s position within the market) in order to determine whether any valuations and/or audited accounts can be trusted.

However, whilst forensic accountants may be the most thorough option, it may not be realistic to incur such fees during the competitive process of securing a deal. Buyers may therefore need to conduct their own investigation into the business and look for any particular tell-tale signs of a risk of fraud, including exceptional financial results, high turnover of staff in central roles and any dramatic annual changes in the company’s financial statements.

Whilst it is critical that a targeted due diligence plan should be created as early as possible and that as much of the diligence as possible should be completed pre-acquisition, in some cases this may not be possible. In such circumstances, it is important that due diligence continues after the transaction has been completed in order to prevent the risk of (i) incurring liability for inadvertently continuing a fraud and (ii) of being accused, in any subsequent litigation in which the buyer alleges fraud against the seller, of having failed to mitigate loss.

Ultimately, there is no substitute for asking the right questions, and testing the answers, before exchanging contracts. Buyers who seek to place reliance elsewhere, such as on warranty and indemnity insurance for example, may rue that decision if, for example, that insurance provides no cover for the seller’s fraud, as is commonly the case.



The additional pressure on those operating in the M&A market resulting from the lost time at the beginning of 2020 and the continuing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic means that it is imperative to be vigilant against the risk of fraud. The importance of sufficient due diligence cannot be overstated both prior to and after the transaction has been completed in order to reduce the risk of criminal sanctions and civil litigation or arbitration.



[2] A less common situation, sometimes encountered in respect of a MBO transaction, is where it is alleged that the management team intentionally understated the performance of the company.

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More Money is Spent on Higher Education When There Are More Young Voters

US Election

Preregistration laws in the US increase the number of young voters, which in turn increases government spending on higher education, finds new research from BI Norwegian Business School.

US citizens cannot go straight to the polling station on Election Day and must first register either online or in-person. This can involve a cost in effort, time, and involvement, especially for young people who have never voted before and may not be familiar with the process or deadlines involved. To make it easier, some states have introduced preregistration laws, which allow young people to register at locations they frequent – such as schools – so they are automatically able to vote once they come of age.

Assistant Professor Alessia Russo, and colleagues, examined the link between preregistration, political participation, and policy decisions in the US. They examined the effects of preregistration using data on registration and voting records and found that states with preregistration laws have a smaller voter registration gap between the young and the old: On average, there are more than 20,000 additional young voters in each state with voter preregistration. That is 20,000 young people who otherwise would have been without a political voice.

They then estimated the effects of preregistration on state spending using annual financial data. As well as increasing young voter turnout, they also found that preregistration raises the amount spent on higher education by the state.

Prof. Russo says, “Preregistration shifts state government spending toward higher education, the type of spending for which the young have the strongest preference. However, when there is a predominance of older voters, governments spend more on pensions and health care, and less on education. Young people need increased representation in elections to ensure the government is responsive to their interests. This reinforces the idea that increased electoral participation by a politically disadvantaged group leads to the advancement of politics that benefit them.”

However, some republican controlled states have tried to roll back preregistration, as it is becoming clear young voters prefer to vote democrat. Removing preregistration would make voting registration more restrictive, impacting the number of young voters and weakening political incentive to implement fiscal policies that are to their benefit, such as the provision of public education.

These findings were published in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

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