The acquisitive drugmaker attracted huge demand for $21 bln of bonds one notch above junk. They yield 1.75 percentage points over U.S. Treasuries, less than Verizon’s bigger, better-rated issue did in 2013. Buyers of top-tier debt can’t help but keep looking further downward.
The crisis wiped out nearly 2,000 U.S. community lenders. Those left struggled with patchy loan demand, ultra-low interest rates and new rules. An improving economy and a hike from the Fed will help, if none succumb to rate shock. Any that do will only have themselves to blame.
The Spanish bank has already bid 1.1 bln euros for its Portuguese peer, but fellow BPI investor Isabel dos Santos wants a merger with local rival BCP. That would create competition issues. But dos Santos’ blocking stake suggests Caixa may have to pay up – if it can afford it.
The chemical and drugmaker has become one of Germany’s hottest stocks, gaining 55 pct in a year. Solid revenue growth and a dividend hike for 2014 underscore the renewal. To keep investors onside, Merck must now smoothly integrate a $17 bln takeover, the biggest in its history.
Regulators in the former colony have spent five years tightening mortgage controls, but real estate prices are still rising. It’s a reminder not to expect too much from “macro-prudential” policies. Authorities can stop banks from lending too much. Deflating a bubble is trickier.
Sao Paulo’s drought stems from statistical hubris similar to the Wall Street models that failed to predict the 2008 financial crash. Decisions to prop up banks and markets had near immediate effect, though. Climate-related black swans are likely to prove more pernicious.
Chipmaker NXP and networking gear firm HP need strong demand to compensate for falling prices. Trouble is, that has not happened. Buying Freescale and Aruba will help cut costs, build scale and fill in niches. But neither deal turns tech hardware into a growth market.
The U.S. mega-bank has at last offloaded OneMain to rival Springleaf for $4.25 bln. The subprime unit’s 6.7 pct return on assets far exceeds anything else at Citi. And yet the deal provides a one-off income boost, frees up capital, accesses tax breaks and removes a distraction.
The UK bank has cut investment bank bonuses by a quarter, atoning for a PR gaffe last year when pay rose despite a drop in profit. But 2014 results show returns in the unit are also lower. To maintain its turnaround, Barclays may have to shrink the misfiring division further.
Taiwan wants to boot the e-commerce group out for not declaring itself Chinese. Yet Alibaba’s home changes depending on who asks. China’s taxman sees Hong Kong, licensing bodies see China, and investors see the Cayman Islands. The confusion may encourage regulatory meddling.
The top mobile operators are limbering up to renew licences that support as much as 70 pct of their revenues. The worry is that rivals or new entrants such as Reliance Jio may bid aggressively for additional bandwidth. An expensive auction will weigh on balance sheets.
The former BP boss will head L1, a $10 bln energy fund owned by oligarch Mikhail Fridman. The duo once sparred over BP’s assets east of the Urals. Their alliance today highlights the deal opportunities created by oil’s rout - even if L1’s Russian roots are a problem.
Vivendi is selling its residual 20 pct in Numericable-SFR to the mobile operator itself and parent Altice for 3.9 bln euros. This helps Altice’s billionaire boss Patrick Drahi prepare for a follow-on deal with Bouygues. It’s harder to see why Vivendi would accept a big markdown.