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Task 1: Changing the corporate names to protect the guilty

In this first task you will learn that a company has many subsidiaries.
Also companies are in the habit of changing their names.
Also there are many difficulties recouping an investment should a company go Bankrupt.

Extract 1:
...As the deals continued, a very troublesome issue arose. Companies do business in other countries through subsidiaries -separate legal entities. For example, Monsanto Company itself could lend the U.S. dollars in the United States to the other party, but it would be receiving the pounds sterling through its British subsidiary, Monsanto Limited, vvhich was the entity that would put those pounds to use. The other party would also have two separate entities lending the pounds and borrowing the dollars. This could possibly create a disaster in the event of insowency of one of the parties. Francis started examining what might happen if one of those companies got into financial trouble. The answer -to the extent there was any answer -was found in old British legal decisions regarding the "banker's right of set-off." Set-off is a matter that rarely appears in court, but during the economic depression of the 1930's, it became quite important. We found to our horror that our using separate legal entities meant there would most likely be no right of set-off. If the other party became insowent and could not pay back its loan as payments became due, we could be obliged to return the money we had borrowed from it, without being able to subtract the money it owed us. Naturally, this was unacceptable...

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Extract 2:

...By the CNN Wire Staff | June 1, 2011 Xe, the security company formerly known as Blackwater, announced Wednesday that it has a new chief. Ted Wright will become CEO, the company said, weeks after former Attorney General John Ashcroft joined to lead Xe's governance unit. Wright has been a top official at KBR, the Texas-based defense giant once owned by Halliburton that serves as "the largest contractor for the United States Army," according to its website. In a statement, Wright vowed to "help Xe navigate its next phase of development and growth...

Now, purely as a consequence of the Long Count's numerical value,
many Mayan scholars agree that the calendar will "run out" after 5,126 years (or, at least, it's first cycle does).
The Mayans set this calendar to begin in the year 3114 B.C. (according to our modern Gregorian calendar).
If the Long Count began in 3114 B.C. and it's calculated to continue for 5126 years,
the "end date" will be -- you guessed it -- 2012 A.D.
Further refinement sets the date to Dec. 21, the day of the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere. ...

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Extract 3:

...This week, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is investigating government contracting, released a chart that identified 31 affiliates of Blackwater, the report said. The investigation revealed the steps Blackwater took to continue winning contracts after September 2007. Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement quoted by the Times that it was worth "looking into why Blackwater would need to create the dozens of other names." He has requested the Justice Department investigate whether Blackwater misled the government when using these subsidiaries to obtain contracts. The CIA recently awarded the company a 100-million-dollar contract to provide security in Afghanistan, a move that has been severely criticized by some members of Congress. The Times cited former Blackwater employees as saying that at least two of the affiliated companies, XPG and Greystone, obtained secret contracts from the CIA...
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Okay recap.
Ask yourself the following questions.

If a company goes Bankrupt will the investors get their investment? (Answer: probably not)
What happens if someone owes money to a company?(Answer: You will still have to pay the company the money owed)
Can you offset any debts you owe a company with any debts that the company owes you? (Answer: It depends!)
Can you name a company which changed its name and has created subsidiaries resulting in some 'confusion'? (Answer: Blackwater)

Task Discussion