Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Monday, September 1, 2014

  • 8:41 AM
    • Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) does not want to remain a shareholder of Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) once it finalizes its deal for Vivendi's (OTCPK:VIVHY) Brazilian wireline carrier GVT, says Chairman Cesar Alierta.
    • Telefonica has already taken steps to sell part of its 14.8% stake in Telecom Italia, which it owns through holding company Telco.
    | Comment!
  • 8:20 AM
    • EU antitrust authorities will decide whether to clear Eli Lilly's (NYSE:LLY) $5.4B offer for Novartis (NYSE:NVS) by Oct. 3.
    • The acquisition is part of several deals recently announced in the healthcare industry, and would create the world's second-largest animal health company.
    | Comment!
  • 8:11 AM
    • Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak has announced that Moscow and Kiev will hold a new round of talks revolving their gas dispute on Sept. 6.
    • The two are now awaiting the European Commission's decision whether their representative will join the negotiations.
    | Comment!
  • 7:18 AM
    • Despite its first bid at T-Mobile USA (NYSE:TMUS) being rebuffed, Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) says it is continuing to pursue a 56.6% stake of the mobile operator, and may now even partner with private equity funds to raise its offer.
    • Iliad previously offered a bid of $33/share, although T-Mobile USA called the offer "a very inadequate value proposition."
    • A report from Bloomberg last week announced that parent Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) is open to holding talks to sell T-Mobile USA for $35/share or more.
    | Comment!
  • 7:15 AM
    • Fending off a challenge from Under Armour (NYSE:UA), Nike (NYSE:NKE) holds on to the Oklahoma Thunder's Kevin Durant, signing him to a new deal possibly worth $300M over the next ten years, and $350M over the next twenty, reports the WSJ.
    • With Durant's original 7-year, $60M deal set to expire, Under Armour had made an aggressive play for superstar, but Nike had the right to match any offer and reportedly exceeded Under Armour's bid on Saturday night.
    • Nike has the dominant share in the $4.5B basketball shoe market, and 2013 sales of Durant's Nike KD shoes of $175M compared to $300M for those under the name of Lebron James. Under Armour's total footwear net revenues were $299M in 2013.
    | 1 Comment
  • 7:05 AM
    • The Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.7 in August vs. 51.8 in July and against a preliminary estimate of 50.8. Looking at some individual countries, the PMI slipped to 51.4 from 52 in Germany - the lowest level in about a year; Spain continues growth at 52.8 (down from 53.9); Italy falls into contraction, at 49.8 from 51.9 in August.
    • "The slowdown in industry is likely to add further fuel to the fire for analysts expecting additional monetary or fiscal stimulus to be implemented," says Markit's Rob Dobson.
    • The euro is flat on the session at $1.31.
    | Comment!
  • 6:30 AM
    • EU antitrust authorities will decide whether to clear Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) $19B offer for WhatsApp by Oct. 3.
    • U.S. regulators have already cleared the takeover in April, provided WhatsApp sticks to its current privacy practices after the merger, including not to use users' personal data for targeted ads.
    | Comment!
  • 6:12 AM
    • In another round of Samsung restructuring, Samsung Heavy Industries (OTC:SMSHF) will absorb Samsung Engineering in a 2.5T won ($2.5B) deal.
    • Under the terms of the transaction, Samsung Heavy will issue around 94M new shares to Samsung Engineering shareholders at 26,972 won per share.
    • Samsung's restructuring has accelerated since the May hospitalization of the group's chairman Lee Kun-hee, and has sparked investor speculation to the group's succession.
    | Comment!
  • 5:43 AM
    • A clinical study presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress has concluded that AstraZeneca's (NYSE:AZN) heart drug Brilinta is safe to use in an ambulance when heart attack patients are being rushed to hospital, although its early use does not provide any extra benefit.
    • Some experts had hoped that a Brilinta-aspirin combo taken before the patient arrives would further boost the chance of restoring healthy blood flow to the heart by minimizing delays.
    • However, prospects for the drug did improve last month, after the U.S. government closed an investigation into a major clinical trial of Brilinta that was used to win marketing approval.
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  • 5:13 AM
    • The euro hit a new one-year low this morning, falling as far as $1.3119 against the dollar, as worries of escalating violence in Ukraine kept the currency on the defensive ahead of the ECB policy meeting later this week.
    • The ruble also tumbled to a fresh low, as the dollar rose by 0.7% to 37.33 against the ruble in early trade. The plunge follows the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's warning over the weekend that the situation in Ukraine was approaching "a point of no return."
    • Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%; DAX -0.4%; FTSE 100 -0.3%; CAC 40 -0.5%.
    | 1 Comment
  • 4:31 AM
    • Vladimir Putin has called for immediate talks on the "statehood" of southern and eastern Ukraine, although his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this does not mean that Moscow endorses rebel independence on the territory they have seized.
    • The announcement comes as the EU and U.S. prepare for another round of sanctions on Russia due to their increased military involvement in Ukraine.
    • Meanwhile, Australia has issued new sanctions on Moscow, restricting arms exports and the access of Russian state-owned banks to the Australian capital markets. The new restrictions build on the financial sanctions and travel bans enacted by Australia in March.
  • 4:01 AM
    • China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce has given Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) 20 days to respond to queries resulting from its investigation into the compatability of its Windows operating system and Office software suite.
    • At least 30 foreign companies have been recently probed by Chinese regulators as the government seeks to enforce a 2008 anti-trust law.
    • Microsoft says it is "serious about complying with China's laws and committed to addressing SAIC's questions and concerns".
  • 3:30 AM
    • Heineken (OTCQX:HEINY) has agreed to sell its Mexican packaging business Empaque to Crown Holdings (NYSE:CCK), resulting in an after-tax gain of €300M ($393M).
    • The $1.2B in cash deal will close by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval.
    | 1 Comment
  • 3:13 AM
    • General Motors (NYSE:GM) is readying production for cars with eye and head tracking technology that can tell whether drivers are distracted or alert them if they are not spending enough time looking in certain areas.
    • The tracking devices will be provided by Seeing Machines (OTC:SEEMF), which has teamed up with Takata (OTCPK:TKTDY) to supply the equipment for up to 500K vehicles over the next three to five years.
    • "Safety doesn’t sell cars – sexy sells cars," says Seeing Machines CEO Ken Kroeger. "But once cameras are there, they can be expanded for other features and purposes."
    • In the future, the tracking devices may allow for drivers to activate an app by sight or may even be used to detect the identity of a driver.
    | 1 Comment
  • 2:42 AM
    • Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) is now the last to settle allegations against the world’s largest private equity groups, which previously accused the firms of conspiring to fix the prices of LBOs.
    • Although Carlyle has now agreed to pay $115M, it still denies wrongdoing and does not regard the settlement as an admission of guilt.
    • The decision follows similar settlements from the Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), KKR (NYSE:KKR), Bain Capital, Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital, which were all accused of conspiring not to jump each others' deals.
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  • 2:11 AM
    • Caixabank (OTCPK:CAIXY) has announced that it will buy Barclays’ (NYSE:BCS) Spanish operations, including its retail bank, wealth management business and commercial banking business for €800M ($1.1B).
    • The deal will cement Caixabank’s position as the largest retail bank in Spain by adding 250 branches and 550K new clients, along with assets worth €21.6B.
    • The acquisition will not include Barclays' Spanish credit card and investment banking arms.
    | Comment!
  • 1:56 AM
    • America Movil (NYSE:AMX) has hired Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to sell a significant amount of its wireline/mobile assets, in order to lower its market share by less than 50%.
    • Potential buyers include AT&T (NYSE:T) and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), a source tells Bloomberg.
    • The move is in response to new Mexican regulation designed to curb the company's dominance. America Movil announced the sale in July.
    | Comment!
  • 1:32 AM
    • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NASDAQ:NCLH) is said to be in advanced talks with Prestige Cruises, and may announce an agreement to acquire the latter for $3B as early as this week, Reuters reports.
    • Prestige Cruises posted revenues of $1.2B in 2013, up 6% from the year earlier.
    • Private equity firm Apollo Global (NYSE:APO), the owner of Prestige Cruises, also owns a 20% stake in Norwegian Cruise. Prestige filed for an IPO in January.
    • Competitors: CCL, RCL
    | Comment!
  • Sunday, August 31, 2014

  • 11:08 AM
    • Alibaba (Pending:BABA) is aiming to launch its IPO early in the week of Sept. 8, with shares possibly trading as soon as Sept. 18 or 19, sources tell the WSJ.
    • The company initially wished to launch the deal by the end of August but moved the date to September due to investor summer vacations and regulatory approvals.
    • Alibaba was also waiting to finalize the timing of the launch until after it received final feedback from the SEC. The company is still in talks with the regulator, but expects to wrap up the approvals surrounding its IPO this week.
  • 10:29 AM
    • EU leaders are planning to formulate options within a week for new sanctions against Russia, should Moscow not back down from its involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
    • "Should the situation stay as we see it today, or should there be further escalation, sanction in the areas the commission has looked at up until this point, such as on the energy and financial sector, will be heightened," says German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
    • Until 72 hours ago, EU leaders weren't expected to take any action against Russia. However, fresh news of rebel gains and a NATO warning that stated Russia had moved "well over 1,000 troops" across the border have prompted the EU to consider its next round of additional sanctions.
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