Changes in tax and other laws and regulations could reduce our profits or increase our costs. Our businesses are subject to regulation under a wide variety of U.S. federal and state and foreign laws, regulations and policies. In response to the recent economic crisis and the current recession, we anticipate that many of the jurisdictions in which we do business will review tax and other revenue raising laws, regulations and policies, and any resulting changes could impose new restrictions, costs or prohibitions on our current practices and reduce our profits. In particular, U.S. and foreign governments may revise tax laws, regulations or official interpretations in ways that could have a significant impact on us, including modifications that could reduce the profits that we can effectively realize from our non-U.S. operations or that could require costly changes to those operations or the way in which they are structured. For example, most U.S. company effective tax rates reflect the fact that income earned and reinvested outside the United States is generally taxed at local rates, which are often much lower than U.S. tax rates. If changes in tax laws, regulations or interpretations were to significantly increase the tax rates on non-U.S. income, our effective tax rate could increase, our profits could be reduced, and if such increases were a result of our status as a U.S. company, could place us at a disadvantage to our non-U.S. competitors if those competitors remain subject to lower local tax rates.
If we cannot attract and retain talented associates, our business could suffer. We compete with other companies both within and outside of our industry for talented personnel. If we are not able to recruit, train, develop, and retain sufficient numbers of talented associates, we could experience increased associate turnover, decreased guest satisfaction, low morale, inefficiency, or internal control failures. Insufficient numbers of talented associates could also limit our ability to grow and expand our businesses.
Delaware law and our governing corporate documents contain, and our Board of Directors could implement, anti-takeover provisions that could deter takeover attempts. Under the Delaware business combination statute, a stockholder holding 15 percent or more of our outstanding voting stock could not acquire us without Board of Director's consent for at least three years after the date the stockholder first held 15 percent or more of the voting stock. Our governing corporate documents also, among other things, require supermajority votes in connection with mergers and similar transactions. In addition, our Board of Directors could, without stockholder approval, implement other anti-takeover defenses, such as a stockholder's rights plan to replace the stockholder's rights plan that expired in March 2008.
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