Wall Street Breakfast: Ukraine Passes Deadline, Williams Merger, Medtronic Acquisition

by: Wall Street Breakfast
Wall Street Breakfast
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Ukraine has gone over Gazprom's deadline to pay its $1.95B gas bill by this morning. Ukraine now faces a potential shut off to its supply, as all gas going forward must be prepaid. The two attempted to continue the EU-brokered talks yesterday evening, although they could not settle their pricing dispute. Gazprom (OTCPK:OGZPY) has also filed a lawsuit at the Stockholm arbitration court to try to recover Ukraine's $4.5B debt for gas.

China has passed the U.S. as the world’s largest issuer of corporate debt, according to a report released today by S&P. However, S&P approximates that around one-quarter to one-third of China’s corporate debt comes from the country’s shadow banking sector - non-bank lending that caters to borrowers who have difficulty obtaining financing. In turn, this raises red flags of the ability for Chinese companies to make interest payments and repay their bank loans.

After their 2010 version was rejected by an appeals court in January, the FCC is now revising the web's "net neutrality" rules - the regulatory laws which ensure Internet providers do not block or slow down users' access to content on the web. With lobbies on both sides of the spectrum, the agency is considering whether to apply the new regulations to wireless internet traffic as well, due to the rise in mobile Internet use.

Before the escalating violence in Iraq, Brent crude was expected by many Wall Street analysts to rise to an average of as much as $116 a barrel by the end of the year. Brent crude climbed above $114 on June 13 for the first time in nine months, and is now expected to soar above previous estimates. Iraq is OPEC's second largest producer, and is forecast to provide 60% of the group’s growth through 2020.

Williams Companies has agreed to pay nearly $6B to acquire the 50% stake it does not already own in Access Midstream Partners (NYSE:ACMP) from infrastructure fund manager Global Infrastructure Partners. Another potential deal is being looked at - merging Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) with Access Midstream Partners. Williams (NYSE:WMB) also announced plans to increase its third-quarter dividend by 32%, to 56 cents per share. Dividend growth is estimated to grow 15% annually between 2014 and 2017.

Airbus and Safran are looking to come together in a joint venture to compete against low-cost U.S. rival SpaceX. The partnership will integrate Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF) Defense & Space with Safran's (OTCPK:SAFRF) Herakles space propulsion unit. The heads of each company are meeting with French President Francois Hollande early today, and are expected to talk about the country's space program in response to increased pressure from industrial groups to changeover Europe's rocket building "public-private system".

Medtronic is buying Covidien in a cash and stock deal valuing Covidien (COV) at $93.22 per share based on Medtronic's (NYSE:MDT) Friday close of $60.70. The price represents a near-30% premium to Covidien's share worth. The tax inversion will allow Medtronic to be domiciled in Ireland, where Covidien is based, and permit the company to pay a lower corporate tax rate.

Vodafone has announced it plans to buy Cobra Automotive Technologies for €145M ($197.5M). The acquisition will increase Vodafone's (NASDAQ:VOD) machine-to-machine capabilities, and provide a greater amount of services for automotive customers. The offer is still pending antitrust approvals, and is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2014.

After a Marine Corps F-35B model experienced an in-flight emergency last week, the U.S. military has ordered mandatory inspections on all Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) F-35 fighter jets before any further flights. The issue relates to the engine's oil flow management valve fitting, built by Pratt & Whitney (NYSE:UTX).

Siemens and Mitsubishi are set to announce their joint bid today over Alstom's (OTCPK:ALSMY) energy business. Going head-to-head, GE (NYSE:GE) has already offered $16.9B for all of Alstom's energy assets with the promise to create 1,000 new jobs in France within three years. Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) and Mitsubishi (OTCPK:MHVYF) are expected to propose a bid consisting of cash, transfer of Siemens' rail-technology operations and job guarantees following the closing of the deal.

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Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan -1.1% to 14933. Hong Kong -0.1% to 23301. China +0.7% to 2086. India -0.2% to 25190.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris -0.5%. Frankfurt -0.3%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow -0.3%. S&P -0.4%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude +0.1% to $107.05. Gold +0.6% to $1281.30.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -3 bps to 2.58%

Today's economic calendar:
8:30 Empire State Mfg Survey
9:00 Treasury International Capital
9:15 Industrial Production
10:00 NAHB Housing Market Index

Notable earnings before today's open: LAYN, MPAA

Notable earnings after today's close: ANFI, KFY

See full real-time earnings coverage »

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