Missouri trustbusters plan to oppose Aetna’s $37 bln union with Humana absent changes. That probably won’t kill the deal, but the U.S. insurers must still satisfy regulators in five crucial states and Uncle Sam. No wonder investors’ prognosis for this and similar mergers is grim.
Both are rejecting pushes from big investors like CalPERS to beef up disclosure about business risks from global warming. It leaves them trailing peers and may put them at odds with U.S. officials and the G20. Refusing to adapt has serious consequences, now and in the future.
Why do banks seek double-digit returns when interest rates are so low? The Bank of England is among those wondering. Return expectations may be too high, or banks may still be too risky. Investors don’t appear to care. If they did, banks might face calls to break up.
Both the IMF and Europe have compromised in Greece’s new debt plan. Athens’ fiscal targets are looser, but less so than the IMF wanted. Its debt costs will fall, but the relief is vague. There’s a hoary cliche about kicking the can down the road. This doesn’t even go that far.
Turnaround plans unveiled by new chief Steve Rowe have one big wrinkle. His makeover for the UK retailer involves short-term pain but may not solve its main problems - fierce competition for customers and a muddled offering. Bolder thinking is needed in such a tough sector.
Shares rallied despite a profit outlook that fell below expectations. Setting $1 bln of quake damage aside, the Japanese group is faring well. Consoles are humming along, handsets are stabilising, and a duff project has been nixed quickly. Sony’s turnaround is almost complete.
The U.S. seed producer rejected a $62 bln offer from the German chemical giant, but said it was open to talks. Bayer’s shareholders reacted poorly to the initial bid while Monsanto investors are skeptical about chances for a deal. Negotiating power is limited on both sides.
Utility Enel looks likely to win the bidding for fibre-optic group Metroweb, beating Telecom Italia. What follows may have shades of the twins who fought over the building of Rome. If so, Enel should be daunted, TI worried and Italian broadband users overjoyed.
The venture capitalist has been revealed to be a secret backer of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker. That calls into question his media neutrality just as the social network is under fire for bias. As a director, Thiel’s First Amendment position is at odds with Facebook’s.
Moscow is selling its debt to foreigners and lending $25 bln - 2 pct of domestic GDP - to Egypt for a nuclear plant. Such shows of financial strength are all well and good. But the debt sale isn’t quite what it seems, and lending big sums at sub-market rates is risky.
The HP Enterprise CEO is merging its services unit with Computer Sciences. It’s a decent way to salvage an awful 2008 acquisition. At best shareholders might manage to get half the $14 bln value implied by the cost and other benefits HPE is touting. But even that’s a stretch.
Global funds such as KKR and J.C. Flowers are eyeing stressed assets. Indian authorities are pressuring lenders to acknowledge bad loans and, in turn, raise capital. A new bankruptcy code helps too. After years of false starts, India’s bad debt business could finally take off.
The Japanese automaker’s deal with Uber and its German rival’s with Gett come after GM invested in Lyft and Fiat Chrysler hooked up with Google. Each can learn from the other, but the technologists see opportunity while the manufacturers have more to fear about their fate.