The $1.6 trln lender secured a provisional stamp of approval from regulators for its living will. Less credible plans from 11 other titans suggest size isn’t the issue. Wells ranks fourth in assets and first in market cap. The real problems are complexity and interconnectedness.
A Citi analyst settlement and a probe into an HSBC hedge fund leak aren’t about grey areas. The alleged transgressions break clear rules. As in a recent experiment reported by Nature, they betray bankers’ tendency to eschew what they should do for what they can get away with.
If the former British Telecom buys Telefonica’s UK mobile business, it will regain a unit demerged in 2001. The round-trip is unusual but forgivable. 02’s demerger delivered good returns for BT investors who kept their stock. BT refocused, and its re-entry to UK mobile is timely.
Europe’s biggest online fashion retailer says it might eke out an operating profit in 2014. That helped propel shares in the recent 5.3 bln euro IPO. Cost discipline is good but may come at the expense of growth, which Zalando needs to sustain its share rating.
The UK insurer is a bite-sized acquisition for bigger European peers. But both foreign and domestic buyers can see that Aviva has offered Friends a full price that pays away lots of synergy value. And matching Aviva’s premium could be just as tough for consolidators like Phoenix.
The new chair of Spain’s biggest bank has replaced her chief executive and appointed three new board members. The CEO shift suggests Ana Botin is moving on from her father’s era. And a more independent board makes it more likely Santander can address its strategic challenges.
A legal defeat on EU bonus caps has the UK calling for global rules to claw back bankers’ fixed pay too. The BoE governor’s idea to pay part of salaries in deferred bonds would achieve that. But there are limits: cut pay too far - or delay it too long – and London might suffer.
The EC president is pushing a 315 bln euro infrastructure project, using a sliver of taxpayer-funded equity. Europe’s economy needs the stimulus, but this one relies on old money and financial engineering. Investing the funds as quickly as the region needs will prove a challenge.
Not long ago an overheating housing market was seen by many as the big UK danger. Now mortgage approvals are dropping and house inflation is easing – even though mortgages are getting cheaper. Tighter home-loan regulation is a factor. Workers’ low earnings are the main restraint.
The South Korean conglomerate’s de facto holding company is an odd mix. Cheil Industries operates theme parks but most of its value is in a stake in an insurer. For those seeking exposure to Samsung’s wider shake-up, the $1.4 bln IPO is a way to get close to its heir apparent.
Louis Chenevert decamped abruptly from the $100 bln conglomerate without explanation. Unlike with many other corporate shakeups, including Sotheby’s last week, its stock hardly budged. UTC may yet be put on the defensive, but having a dispensable boss is a sign of strength.
Canada’s Onex has bought Swiss packager SIG for up to $4.7 bln in a secondary buyout. It’s one of Europe’s biggest LBOs in five years and deploys pre-crisis levels of leverage. Private equity restlessness and a shortage of big targets created the conditions for a landmark deal.
Shares in the UK do-it-yourself retailer have slid on the impact of currency and exposure to the weak French economy. It’s probably not what outgoing chief Ian Cheshire wanted. But as Tesco has shown, it can be helpful to a successor to start with already lowered expectations.