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Showing posts from June 29, 2014

Man Group says in talks to buy Numeric

Man Group said it was in talks to buy U.S. asset manager Numeric Holdings and diversify its quantitative fund offering, giving the UK hedge fund manager's share price a boost. A deal for Boston-based Numeric, part-owned by private equity group TA Associates and up for sale since early 2013, would broaden a quant fund stable currently focused on Man's flagship AHL computer-driven funds. It would also boost its presence in the United States, the biggest hedge fund market in the world, as well as its foothold in the institutional market, dealing with clients such as pension funds, which are driving growth in the broader industry. "This transaction would further diversify Man away from AHL and is consistent with Man's strategy to acquire a US-based asset manager," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Peter Lenardos. "However, given the extremely limited information available, especially on profitability and price - we reserve judgment until more details emerge.

Peugeot share issue underway as new board meets

French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen ( id="symbol_PEUP.PA_0"> PEUP.PA ) launched the second stage of a long-awaited 3 billion euro ($4.2 billion) capital increase to fund its "Back in the Race" recovery plan and tie-up with China's Dongfeng ( id="symbol_0489.HK 0489.HK ). _1"> As its new board met on Tuesday, the troubled firm surprised markets by issuing more stock than expected at a larger discount to raise 1.95 billion euros from existing shareholders. Peugeot shares surged in afternoon trading, outpacing a broader European stock rally on hopes that recovering regional demand can help the recapitalized carmaker rebound. The rights issue, in addition to a 1.05 billion stock sale to the French state and Dongfeng Motor Group, allows investors to purchase seven new shares at 6.77 euros for every 12 held, a 41 percent discount to Monday's comparable closing price. That means future dividends will be divided among 877 million outstanding sh

3D Systems gross margin slips, shares slide

3D printer maker 3D Systems Corp's ( id="symbol_DDD.N_0"> DDD.N ) quarterly gross margins fell for the first time in two years, raising concerns about its growth prospects in an industry, which is drawing the attention of bigger technology firms. _0"> 3D Systems shares fell as much as 11 percent, making the stock one of the top losers on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning. The company said on Tuesday that its gross margin expansion was being delayed as it printers continued to be a major source of revenue. 3D Systems printers, priced at less than $1,000 to about $1 million, generate lower gross margins than its printing materials and services. The company also said it now expects to get most of the revenue and profit it forecast for 2014 in the second half of the year when it launches new products and services. The nascent 3D printer industry has generated widespread interest in the last couple of years. It has, however, also drawn criticism

Pfizer prepares sweeter bid for AstraZeneca: report

Pfizer Inc ( id="symbol_PFE.N_0"> PFE.N ) may sweeten its offer for Britain's AstraZeneca Plc ( id="symbol_AZN.L AZN.L ) to more than 63 billion pounds, or $106 billion, and raise the cash portion of the deal, to kickstart negotiations, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. _0"> Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the report said a new bid may value AstraZeneca at more than 50 pounds ($84.47) per share and could come as early as next week. Pfizer disclosed earlier this week that it had twice approached AstraZeneca about a takeover, only to be rebuffed in both cases. _1"> Pfizer and AstraZeneca declined to comment on the report. Since Pfizer went public with its approach to AstraZeneca, investors and analysts have been expecting the largest U.S. drugmaker would come back with more than its initial offer worth 58.8 billion pounds ($98.9 billion) and increase the cash component. Under British takeover rules, Pfizer has until May 26 to announce

AstraZeneca fights Pfizer bid by predicting sales surge - eventually

AstraZeneca Plc laid out its defense against Pfizer Inc's $106-billion takeover approach on Tuesday by predicting its sales would rise by three quarters over the next decade, although only after a short-term drop. With promising new medicines expected to lift annual revenue above $45 billion by 2023, up from $25.7 billion in 2013, selling out to the U.S. group now would deprive investors of huge gains, it argued. "The increasingly visible success of our independent strategy highlights the future prospects for our shareholders," said Chairman Leif Johansson. "These are benefits that should fully accrue to AstraZeneca's shareholders." Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said plunging AstraZeneca into a disruptive merger would also jeopardize its ability to deliver on the new drug pipeline, which is expected to account for 30 percent of the 2023 sales total. Investors and analysts agree Britain's second-biggest drugmaker has an improving experimental portfo

Twitter shares plumb new lows as stock lock-up expires

Shares of Twitter Inc sank 18 percent to a new low in frenzied trading on Tuesday, wiping out more than $4 billion of its market value, as early investors sold stock in the messaging service for the first time after a six-month "lock-up" expired. The stock closed at $31.85 on the New York Stock Exchange, as losses deepened late in the session to the lowest since its debut on November 7 at $37. On a consolidated basis, more than 130 million shares changed hands - 10 times the daily average volume for the last 50 days. The lock-up agreement that expired this week applied to about 470 million shares, or 82 percent of Twitter's equity, held by insiders, venture capitalists and other investors. Twitter allowed one batch of shares to be sold in February, but that lockup governed only about 10 million shares, most of which were held by non-executive employees. "The move is bigger than expected and is indicative of the negative investor sentiment towards Twitter right n

Insurer Allianz defends Pimco after investors take flight

Europe's biggest insurer Allianz defended its U.S. asset management business Pimco on Wednesday as it came under fire for failing to stem the flow of heavy investor withdrawals. Allianz is under pressure from some shareholders to step up oversight of Pimco, the world's largest bond investor with nearly $2 trillion in assets, because of a run of poor returns and the departure of CEO Mohamed El-Erian amid a row with co-founder Bill Gross. But the insurer's chief executive said that investors needed to ignore short-term volatility and take a longer-term view, pointing out that Pimco had produced better returns than many of its competitors for large parts of the past 25 years. "There is really no reason to rake us over the coals or to sense the end is at hand," Michael Diekmann told the insurer's annual shareholder meeting in Munich. Diekmann said customers had been supportive of the creation of a new team of six deputy chief investment officers to support G

AstraZeneca takeover would benefit science: Pfizer

Pfizer ( id="symbol_PFE.N_0"> PFE.N ) sought to allay fears that its proposed $106 billion takeover of AstraZeneca ( id="symbol_AZN.L AZN.L ) would deal a blow to drug research, saying the new company would bolster innovative science and speed the development of new treatments. _0"> The deal would be the largest foreign takeover of a British company and has raised fears that resulting cost cutting would see the loss of thousands of skilled jobs, undermining the UK's science base. _1"> AstraZeneca, Britain's second-largest drugs company, has rejected successive approaches from its larger American rival. As political opposition to the plan grew, Pfizer reiterated its commitment to the deal, posting a graphic on its website that touted the benefits of a merger. It said the combined group would be able to expand its global research, speed up the development of treatments and broaden its footprint in emerging markets. A combined Pfizer-AstraZ

Cheetah Mobile shares rise about 13 percent in debut

Cheetah Mobile Inc's ( id="symbol_CMCM.N_0"> CMCM.N ) shares rose about 13 percent in their market debut, valuing the Chinese security software maker at about $2.2 billion, after its initial public offering was priced near the top end of the expected range. _0"> Earlier on Thursday, the company said its offering of 12 million American depositary shares (ADSs) was priced at $14 each, raising $168 million . Cheetah had said it expected its IPO to be priced between $12.50 and $14.50 per ADS. The Beijing-based company provides security and optimization software used both in smartphones and PCs. Its apps such as Clean Master and Battery Doctor are popular on Google Play. Cheetah's shares opened at $15.25 and touched a high of $15.89 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company is being spun out of software maker Kingsoft Corp Ltd ( id="symbol_3888.HK_1"> 3888.HK ), which will retain control with about 54 percent of Class B sha

AMC Networks forecasts slower advertising growth

Cable TV broadcaster AMC Networks Inc ( id="symbol_AMCX.O_0"> AMCX.O ) said it expects slower advertising growth this quarter as its latest series, "Turn", draws fewer viewers than its older hits, sending its shares down nearly 18 percent. AMC also reported a first-quarter profit that missed analysts' estimates as it spent more on new programs to replace hit shows such as "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men". The company's newest show "Turn" debuted in April with 2.1 million viewers, less than half of what its hit zombie show "The Walking Dead" started with. ( r.reuters.com/sap29v ) "It sounds like the costs will continue to be higher-than-expected in the second and third quarters, as they are replacing licensed shows with wholly owned shows," Evercore Partners analyst Alan Gould said. "Turn", which tells the story of four childhood friends who became spies during the American Revolutionary War in

Molycorp slumps 17 percent to record low on bigger quarterly loss

Molycorp Inc ( id="symbol_MCP.N_0"> MCP.N ) shares slumped 17 percent on Thursday in the wake of the U.S.-based rare earths producer's results a day earlier which showed a bigger first-quarter loss and production hiccups at a newly expanded processing plant in California. _0"> Market concerns about the rate at which the Denver-area company was burning through cash and the possibility that it may have to tap the market for more funds later in the year sent the stock to an all-time low of $3.76 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company reported a net loss on Wednesday of $86.0 million as rare earth prices dropped, more than double its loss of $38.2 million a year earlier, and it produced less material than expected at its Mountain Pass facility in California. "In one word, it is all about uncertainty... They were not able to really tell the market when Mountain Pass will be running at the levels - production and cost - that they need," said Luisa

UK research foundation concerned about Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca: FT

Wellcome Trust, Britain's biggest medical research foundation said it had "major concerns" about U.S. drug major Pfizer's ( id="symbol_PFE.N_0"> PFE.N ) 63 billion pound offer for AstraZeneca ( id="symbol_AZN.L AZN.L ), the Financial Times reported. _0"> In a private letter to UK chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne, the trust raised doubts about Pfizer's commitment to investment in Britain and said AstraZeneca was critical to Britain's science base. _1"> "Pfizer's past acquisitions of major pharmaceutical companies have led to a substantial reduction in R&D activity, which we are concerned could be replicated in this instance," Wellcome Trust Chairman Sir William Castell was quoted as saying by the British newspaper. Wellcome Trust became the latest in a series of vocal opponents to the potential merger, which would create the world's largest drugmaker. Pfizer is said to be considering raising it

Pfizer defends 'powerhouse' Astra deal as CEO braces for grilling

Pfizer defended the business case behind its plan to acquire AstraZeneca on Monday and questioned the UK drugmaker's ability to stand alone for much longer as the New York-based group's CEO prepared for a grilling from British lawmakers. Aiming to douse questions about its commitments to British jobs, Pfizer also said its agreement to complete AstraZeneca's new research centrer in Cambridge, retain a factory in northwest England and put a fifth of its research staff in Britain if the deal goes ahead were legally binding. The comments are Pfizer's latest counter to critics of its proposed $106 billion deal, which would be the largest foreign takeover of a British firm and is opposed by many scientists and politicians - as well as AstraZeneca itself. With its bid now the subject of heated debate in Britain's Houses of Parliament and across the country's news channels, the U.S. drugmaker took a harder line on Monday, saying the merger would create "a UK-b

Pfizer pledges to ringfence key new drugs in AstraZeneca deal

Pfizer ( id="symbol_PFE.N_0"> PFE.N ) said it would ringfence the development of important drugs if it acquired AstraZeneca ( id="symbol_AZN.L AZN.L ), rejecting a charge from the British company that a takeover would disrupt important research and put lives at risk. _1"> "As we put these companies together, we will continue with our pipeline, AZ will continue with theirs," Pfizer's Chief Executive Ian Read told lawmakers on a second day of questioning about what could be the biggest ever UK corporate deal. "We would ringfence any important products and they would continue to be developed. There is absolutely no truth to any comment that some products of critical nature would be delayed getting to patients, if anything we would accelerate that to patients." AstraZeneca said on Tuesday that Pfizer's proposal risked disrupting its research and delaying getting life-saving new drugs to market, as well as undervaluing the business.

AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer's take-it-or-leave-it offer

Britain's AstraZeneca on Monday rejected a sweetened and "final" offer from Pfizer, puncturing the U.S. drugmaker's plan for a merger to create the world's biggest pharmaceuticals group. The rebuff came nine hours after Pfizer said on Sunday night it had raised its takeover offer to 55 pounds a share, or around 70 billion pounds ($118 billion) in total, and would walk away if AstraZeneca did not accept it. The rejection left some major shareholders fuming as shares in AstraZeneca slumped 11 percent to close at 42.88 pounds after falling as much as 15 percent - their biggest ever intra-day decline. Pfizer rose 1 percent in New York. AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson told Reuters he now saw no prospect of a deal with Pfizer before a deadline of May 26 set under British takeover rules, or any likelihood of that deadline being extended. Experts also said Pfizer had left itself no room to return with a last-minute higher offer due to the strict takeover code.

See you later? Slim Pfizer deal hopes prop up AstraZeneca

Pfizer's ( id="symbol_PFE.N_0"> PFE.N ) chances of striking a deal to buy AstraZeneca ( id="symbol_AZN.L AZN.L ) in the coming days look vanishingly small, but the notion it could return later this year is propping up the British drugmaker's shares. _1"> The stock rose 3 percent on Wednesday, despite AstraZeneca insisting on Tuesday there wasn't the slightest chance of Pfizer's $118 billion offer being increased by a May 26 deadline set by UK takeover rules. While Pfizer agrees it cannot raise its final offer of 55 pounds a share, its advisers have been urging investors to speak up against AstraZeneca's decision to reject its proposal, according to several people familiar with the matter. One suggestion now circulating is that disgruntled AstraZeneca shareholders could call an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to put Pfizer's offer to a vote. The support of just 5 percent of shareholders is needed to call such a meeting. Even if

Pfizer walks away from $118 billion AstraZeneca takeover fight

Pfizer abandoned its attempt to buy AstraZeneca for nearly 70 billion pounds ($118 billion) on Monday as a deadline approached without a last-minute change of heart by the British drugmaker. The decision ends a month-long public fight between two of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies that sparked political concerns on both sides of Atlantic over jobs and corporate tax maneuvers. British rules now require an enforced cooling-off period. AstraZeneca could reach out to Pfizer after three months and Pfizer could take another run at its smaller British rival in six months time, whether it is invited back or not. Pfizer's move came two hours before a 5.00 pm (1200 ET) deadline to make a firm offer or walk away, under UK takeover rules. Its decision to quit the stage, at least for now, had been widely expected after AstraZeneca refused its final offer of 55 pounds a share. "Following the AstraZeneca board's rejection of the proposal, Pfizer announces that it d

Diamond set to fall short of $400 mln fundraising goal -source

Former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond is set to fall short of his target to raise another $400 million for his African banking venture Atlas Mara, a person with knowledge of the situation said. _0"> Diamond, who spearheaded the growth of Barclays' investment bank before being forced out as CEO in 2012 by UK regulators after the bank was fined for attempted rigging of Libor interest rates, plans to increase the war chest of his Atlas Mara vehicle to pursue more African acquisitions and grow the business faster. But some investors have balked at the fundraising so soon after it raised $325 million in its initial public offering in December, mainly due to concern about the illiquid nature of Atlas Mara shares, the source said. That is likely to see it fall short of the $400 million target, although the fundraising will not close until later this month, he said. The source said Diamond had received strong support from the current shareholder base. The Financial Time

Singapore to launch overnight yuan liquidity facility in July

Singapore plans to launch a facility to provide overnight yuan liquidity as trade transactions using the currency rise. _0"> The move will help enhance the city-state's position in the fierce competition for offshore yuan business and is another step forward in China's effort to internationalise the currency. The facility, offering up to 5 billion yuan ($805.3 million) in overnight funds on any given day to financial institutions in Singapore, will be launched on July 1, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on its website. The facility complements the existing MAS yuan facility that allows banks to borrow yuan funds on a term basis for trade, direct investment and market stability purposes. "As the volume of RMB activities grows in Singapore, the overnight RMB liquidity facility will help alleviate end-of-day funding strains of financial institutions. This will provide a conducive environment for the continued expansion of RMB activities in Singapor

INSIGHT-Argentina's economy minister: from 'flaming Red' to pragmatic negotiator

When he became Argentina's economy minister late last year, many in the business community feared Axel Kicillof, who was once described by a critic as a "flaming Red Marxist," might plunge Latin America's No. 3 economy deeper into isolation in the name of ideology. Instead, the enigmatic scholar who previously lambasted foreign firms for "looting" the country, has in a few months resolved some of Argentina's long-running disputes with companies and creditors, in a bid to attract investment back into the country. Deals with the Paris Club of creditor nations to pay back almost $10 billion in debt and with Spanish oil major Repsol to compensate it for the seizure of energy company YPF have sent Argentine bonds and equities climbing as investors show renewed confidence in a country that has been cut off from global credit markets since a 2001/02 default. The key test of Kicillof's new conciliatory approach will be whether he can secure a deal with

China to encourage fund innovations to boost stock market, economy

China has issued new guidelines to encourage the $1.2 trillion mutual fund industry to innovate, promising to let more foreign firms into the industry as part of Beijing's recent efforts to boost the stock market and the real economy. The guidelines will be a blueprint for the development of the domestic industry in the next three to five years, a regulatory spokesman told a weekly news conference in Beijing on Friday. By the end of May, China's 91 mutual fund companies with 680 funds managed a total assets of 7.25 trillion yuan ($1.2 trillion), making the domestic fund industry the 10th biggest in the world, official data shows. Still, stock holdings by professional institutional investors, dominated by mutual funds and brokerages, only accounted for 10.87 percent of China's total stock market capitalisation by the end of last year. The fledging market is dominated by much less sophisticated retail investors, a result that has led to rampant speculation in loss-makin

UPDATE 1-EU to toughen up bankers pay rules

The European Union's banking watchdog will toughen up its guidelines on bankers' pay after a study uncovered wide variations in how lenders apply the rules across the 28-country bloc and how banks are avoiding the bonus cap. The European Banking Authority (EBA) did not say how it will toughen the rules but this is likely to include tighter supervision and more detail in how the rules should be applied. After the 2007-09 financial crisis sparked public anger over bonuses at banks that taxpayers had to rescue, the EU introduced curbs on the pay of top bankers earning a million euros or more. The current rules mean that 40-60 percent of a bonus must be deferred over 3-5 years, with the possibility to claw back the cash if problems like misconduct are later discovered. The curbs were toughened so that bonuses handed out from early next year can be no higher than fixed salary, or twice that amount with shareholder approval. Staff earning more than 500,000 euros will be affected

European shares hit 1-week low on Iraq crisis, travel stocks suffer

Europe's top share index headed for a weekly drop after gaining for eight straight weeks, with escalating conflict in Iraq hitting travel stocks and the prospect of an early rate hike in the United Kingdom hurting property shares on Friday. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 slipped to a one-week low, moving further away from this week's 6-1/2-year high. It was down 0.7 percent at 1,382.78 points by 1051 GMT after falling to a low of 1,381.86, the lowest since early June. Travel and leisure stocks led the market lower, with the European sector index falling 2.3 percent after growing tensions in Iraq hit sentiment and boosted oil prices. "The market was looking for an excuse to take profits after a rally to new highs and tensions in Iraq gave investors an opportunity to trim their positions," Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels. "America may send a few fighter planes to help Iraq, but it doesn't look like the

Yield famine could make bailed-out Cyprus a feast for bond investors

Cyprus is preparing to sell bonds to yield-starved investors in the next few weeks, making a return to markets that looked very distant just a year ago when it was bailing-in bank depositors and imposing capital controls. Still mired in recession, and with its credit ratings deep in junk territory following a debt exchange last year that ratings agencies classed as a default, the island hired five banks this week to oversee a planned bond sale. That would mark the fastest comeback to markets of any of the euro zone countries that were forced to seek international aid as a debt crisis engulfed the currency bloc. It would also take place while capital controls are still in force, although Nicosia says it aims to lift them by the end of the year. With interest rates in developed countries at historic lows and investors grabbing anything that offers even a tiny pick-up in yield, the sale is expected to be a success. "Now is the best time for Cyprus to establish itself in markets

BNP got high-level 2006 warnings on sanctions busting - report

French bank BNP Paribas was warned in 2006 by a high-ranking U.S. Treasury official and in three reports by legal experts that it risked being penalised for breaking U.S. sanctions, according to Le Monde newspaper. _0"> Since France's biggest bank flagged the risk of a big fine in February this year, sources close to the affair have said it ignored early warnings of the risks it faced. They pointed out that the alleged offending transactions being investigated by U.S. authorities continued until 2009. The French newspaper's report, written as talks accelerate towards a possible $10 billion fine and other penalties, said Stuart Levey, then the U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, made a visit to Paris in September 2006. The paper, drawing on the findings of its own investigation, said Levey met the bank's top officials, including Baudoin Prot, who has since become chairman, in its boardroom. Levey was there not to talk about

Sri Lanka rupee tad weaker on importer dlr demand

The Sri Lankan rupee edged down from a near a one-year high on Friday as importer dollar demand outpaced greenback sales by banks and exporters while state banks bought dollars to prevent volatility, dealers said. _0"> The rupee ended at 130.25/28 per dollar, little changed from Wednesday's close of 130.25/27, which was its highest since June 28, 2013. Both the forex and stock markets were closed on Thursday for a public holiday. "There was late importer dollar demand," said a currency dealer asking not to be named. The two state banks, through which the central bank intervenes to direct the market, bought dollars at 130.25 rupees, as the central bank is allowing a gradual appreciation in the local currency to prevent shocks, dealers said. Dealers said exporter dollar sales picked up on expectations that the rupee would strengthen further. The central bank bought dollars at 130.35 rupees on May 30 and started lowering its buying rate since then, allowing a

Founder quits UK payday lender Wonga

British payday lender Wonga said its co-founder Errol Damelin had quit as a director of the company, just seven months after stepping down as chief executive. _0"> Wonga is one of the biggest short-term lenders in Britain and has come under fire, along with the industry as a whole, for the high level of interest rates it charges. Its rates can equate to as much as 5,853 percent a year, though its loans are only supposed to be held for a short period of time, often to provide funds for someone until they are paid. Britain's financial regulator is planning to impose tougher rules on the industry. Wonga said on Friday Damelin, who co-founded the company in 2006, had indicated in November he wanted to begin an orderly exit from the firm so he could start working on new business ventures. He stepped aside as chief executive at that time and became chairman. "He is now happy that the migration to a senior team suited to running a large and regulated financial services