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Showing posts from July 1, 2014

An inmate at a notoriously lax open jail was caught

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An inmate at a notoriously lax open jail was caught trying to smuggle a rabbit inside to keep as a pet. The prisoner at Hollesley Bay open prison in Woodbridge, Suffolk, is thought to have found the animal while outside on day release. He was able to bring the rabbit back inside the prison - nicknamed Holiday Bay because its laid-back regime - where convicts managed to build it a hutch and started treating it as a prison pet. Lax: The prisoner was able to bring a rabbit back inside Hollesley Bay open prison in Suffolk - nicknamed Holiday Bay by inmates Prison wardens eventually found and confiscated the rabbit, then gave it to a rescue centre. The inmate is thought to have found the rabbit roaming wild, as opposed to taking it from a previous owner. It is unclear whether the pet was kept in one prisoner's room or elsewhere in the jail.   More... Thief breaks INTO Suffolk jail through a skylight and steals £3,000 worth of cigarettes For

Recapitalizing Fannie, Freddie not viable--Treasury official

A senior U.S. Treasury official on Friday rejected proposals to recapitalize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying it would take at least 20 years to make sure they were adequately funded and that in the meantime taxpayers would potentially be on the hook. _0"> In remarks prepared for delivery to a housing conference, Treasury Under Secretary Mary Miller repeated the Obama administration's call for winding down the two government-controlled mortgage finance firms. "Critics of reform would suggest that we can simply recapitalize the GSEs and avoid difficult decisions around creating a new system," she said. "Even if truly rehabilitating the GSEs were possible, recapitalizing them adequately would take at least 20 years." (Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama )

INVESTMENT FOCUS-Press here, Mr Carney, for lower volatility?

In the struggle to explain this year's collapse in volatility and volume in financial trading, one newly-nominated culprit is central banks' intent to use every tactic available short of raising interest rates too soon. It sounded like a deeply contrarian view on Friday after comments by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, but a study by analysts from market heavyweights HSBC this week argued that the use of macroprudential steps will make central bank interest rates in general less volatile in future. Implicitly that may mean markets see less marked swings. The global economy is right at the point, as the economic fates of Japan, Europe and the United States diverge, when an upturn in trading action could be expected due to the growing chances for arbitrage between future interest rates. Yet volatility, which traders depend upon for profits, is at rock bottom. Trading in currencies on the biggest platforms has fallen by a third to half in the past year; options contract

REFILE-GM recalls 511,528 Chevy Camaros because key bump can cause power loss

General Motors Co said on Friday it will recall 511,528 Chevrolet Camaro cars, mainly in North America, because a driver's knee can bump the key fob and turn it out of the "run" position, causing a loss of power. GM said it is aware of three crashes causing four "minor" injuries believed related to this issue. "The Camaro ignition system meets all GM engineering specifications and is unrelated to the ignition system used in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars included in the ignition switch recall," GM said in a statement. GM earlier this year recalled 2.6 million small cars because of an ignition switch failure, linked to at least 13 deaths. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall ; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

Thai junta says curfew lifted nationwide

Thailand's military government lifted a curfew nationwide on Friday, citing the absence of any violence and the need to support the country's tourism sector. _0"> "As the situation has improved and there have been no incidents that can lead to violence ... and in order to improve tourism, the curfew will be lifted in all remaining provinces," the ruling military council said in a televised announcement. The curfew had been in place from midnight to 4 a.m. in 47 provinces including the capital Bangkok. It had lifted the curfew in 30 provinces, which include the country's main tourist hotspots, over the past week. (Reporting by Amty Sawitta Lefevre; Writing by Maertin Petty; Editing by Ron Popeski)

UPDATE 1-GM issues another ignition switch recall, for Chevy Camaros

General Motors Co recalled 511,528 Chevrolet Camaros on Friday for an ignition switch problem similar to the defect linked to at least 13 deaths in Chevrolet Cobalts and other models. GM said it was aware of minor accidents but no fatalities from the Camaro, a sporty two-door car. It said the Camaro switch defect differed from the problem in the Cobalts, but a consumer advocate said GM still should have recalled the Camaros sooner. GM said a driver's knee could bump the Camaro key fob and move the ignition switch out of the "run" position, causing the engine to shut off. The earlier recall of Cobalts and other small cars involved an ignition switch in which a bump of the key fob could turn off the engine, disabling power steering and airbags. That defect, first observed by GM engineers in 2002, was not reported to consumers for years. Chief Executive Mary Barra in recent months overhauled the way GM handles safety recalls. The Camaro recall bloats the number of GM v

UPDATE 4-Carney signals earlier British rate rise, sterling soars

Britain could become the first major economy to tighten monetary policy since the 2008 financial crisis, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has signalled, sending sterling shooting towards a five-year high against the dollar on Friday. British government bond yields soared, construction stocks tumbled and interest rate futures priced in a first hike by December after Carney said rates could rise sooner than markets had thought - his most hawkish comment to date. "There's already great speculation about the exact timing of the first rate hike and this decision is becoming more balanced," Carney said in a speech late on Thursday alongside British finance minister George Osborne. "It could happen sooner than markets currently expect." Few economists had expected rates to increase until the second quarter of next year given the central bank's previous guidance that there was plenty of scope for Britain's economy to expand further without causing infla

Bain to sell stake in India's Hero MotoCorp worth up to $393 mln

U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital Partners LLC will sell its equity stake worth up to $393 million in Hero MotoCorp Ltd , India's largest maker of motorcycles and scooters, according to a deal term sheet seen by Reuters. _0"> Bain Capital, which holds a 8.6 percent stake in Hero MotoCorp through its unit BC India Pvt Investors, will sell up to half of its shares in open market transactions on Friday, the term sheet for the deal showed. The private equity firm is offering the Indian company's shares in the indicative price band of 2,582 rupees to 2,717 rupees each, it said, a discount of as much as 5 percent from its closing price on Thursday. (Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee , editing by David Evans)

Shares of plastic maker Trinseo rise 9 pct in market debut

Shares of Trinseo SA, a plastic and polymers maker backed by Bain Capital, rose as much as 9 percent in their market debut, valuing the company at up to $981 million. _0"> Trinseo raised about $190 million from the offering of 10 million shares, which were priced at $19 per share, at the high end of expected range of $17-$19 per share. The Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based company sold all the shares in the offering. Trinseo's products are used to make containers and bottles to package food items and medicines, among others. The company's shares opened at $20.65 and touched a high of $20.75 on the New York Stock Exchange. Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank Securities, Citigroup Global Markets and Morgan Stanley were lead underwriters for the IPO. (Reporting by Neha Dimri in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

UPDATE 1-Italy's Prelios plans to halve debt by end-2016

Italian real estate company Prelios forecast on Thursday a near halving of its debts to 200 million euros ($272 million) by the end of 2016 as it pursues a disposal programme. The company, whose debts totaled 388 million euros as of December 2013, manages properties in Italy and Germany but has been hit hard by writedowns on real estate investments in its recession-hit home market. Prelios, which plans to continue selling real estate co-investments as it did in previous years, is refocusing on activities including asset management, distressed debt and real estate valuations, which it collectively terms its "service platform". It aims to focus entirely on these businesses by the end 2016 and expects operating profit from its service platform to grow by 40 percent by the end of 2016. In 2013, the group's operating profit, or earning before interests and tax (EBIT), was 6.3 million euros. Prelios had also announced earlier this year it was in talks with U.S. private eq

UPDATE 1-Crafts retailer Michaels looks to long-awaited summer IPO: sources

The initial public offering of Michaels Cos Inc, which has been planned for the last two years, will finally take place this summer, according to people familiar with the matter. The U.S. crafts retailer is likely to begin marketing shares to potential investors in the next several weeks, according to the sources, who declined to be named because the matter is private. Michaels, which had been publicly traded and was taken private by Blackstone Group LP and Bain Capital LP for $6 billion in 2006, initially filed for an IPO of up to $500 million in March 2012. That was postponed after then-Chief Executive Officer John Menzer had a stroke and stepped down. The Texas-based company withdrew the IPO last December after going through a reorganization, immediately refiled under a new name and then updated its registration documents in May. Michaels and Bain could not be reached immediately for comment. Blackstone declined to comment. Michaels confirmed in April it was hit by a security

Permira closes fifth buyout fund with revised target of 5.3 bln euro

Permira, one of Europe's biggest private equity firms, has raised 5.3 billion euros for its fifth buyout fund compared to a previous 9.6 billion euros it raised for a fund in 2006. Fundraising by private equity firms, which aim to buy into businesses with a view to selling them on at a profit after an overhaul, remains a challenge in a weak economic climate. It took Permira almost three years to complete its fundraising for Permira V, which kicked off in September 2011 with a target of 6.5 billion euros ($8.85 billion). Earlier this year the London-based private equity firm downsized its fund's target to around 4-5 billion euros while already committing capital to six new investments. The private equity firm, which led the turnaround of fashion brand Valentino in 2007, acquired footwear brand Dr. Martens for 300 million pounds in October using capital from Permira V. Its recent investments, also backed by Permira V, include the acquisition of UK wealth management special

BRIEF-CVC and Blackstone place 100 mln Merlin shares

Deutsche Bank : _0"> * CVC and Blackstone launch 100 mln share placing of Merlin via Deutsche Bank & Morgan Stanley Further company coverage:

CVC and Blackstone place 100 mln Merlin shares

Merlin Entertainments' private equity backers CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Blackstone Group LP are placing 100 million shares of the British theme park owner through Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, the German lender said. _0"> Merlin, the world's second-biggest operator of visitor attractions behind Walt Disney with brands such as Madam Tussauds and Legoland, counts Blackstone and CVC as its biggest shareholders after Kirkbi A/S, according to Thomson Reuters data. (Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore, editing by David Evans)

Italy preparing to let insurers grant credit to companies - source

Italy is readying measures to allow insurers to grant credit to companies, a government source said on Thursday, as the country seeks to fund flagging growth after a deep recession. _0"> The measures are part of a draft bill now being prepared by the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and which the cabinet is expected to examine tomorrow or on June 20. Insurance companies such as Generali as well as securitisation firms will be able lend directly to companies under conditions set by insurance regulator IVASS once they have adopted adequate risk control mechanisms, the source said. "Individuals and micro-companies" will not be among those eligible to get credit from insurers, it added. Italian companies currently rely almost exclusively on bank financing, which has fallen sharply during the economic downturn as lenders faced their own funding problems. Italy, the euro zone's third largest economy, emerged from a two-year recession in the fourth quarte

Liberty Global, Discovery in talks regarding F1 stake -report

John Malone's Liberty Global Plc and Discovery Communications Inc are in discussions with the owners of Formula One to bridge a $1 billion gap in the valuation of the motor-racing series as they seek to buy a 49 percent stake, according to Bloomberg. _0"> CVC Capital Partners, a London-based private equity firm, and Lehman Brothers Holdings want about $500 million more for the stake, the report said, citing people with knowledge of the matter. ( link.reuters.com/sew99v ) Discussions with CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Lehman Brothers are ongoing although a deal may not be reached, the report added. CVC remains the largest shareholder in Formula One with a stake of around 35 percent. CVC may also contemplate an initial public offering of Formula One, according to Bloomberg, although the sources added that it is unlikely to occur before the conclusion of a trial involving Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone. Discovery Communications and Liberty Global were not imm

Nextdoor CEO pleads no contest to hit and run charge

Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia, whose social networking website espouses neighborhood safety and community, pleaded no contest Thursday in a San Mateo court to a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of a highway accident that a driver says Tolia caused. Tolia will pay a $239 fine, spend 30 weekend days in a county program in lieu of 30 days' jail time, serve two years' probation, and will be responsible for restitution to the victim, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Tolia originally faced felony criminal charges , but Wagstaffe said he reduced them to a misdemeanor "hit and run causing injury" because of Tolia's forthrightness in admitting his role in the accident. "I'm glad he accepted responsibility right up front and never tried to lie about what happened or avoid responsibility," he told Reuters. The work program includes activities such as picking up litter or trimming weeds along public roads and at schools, Wagstaffe said.

Univision held preliminary sale talks with CBS, Time Warner - WSJ

The owner of Univision Communications Inc have recently held preliminary talks about selling the Spanish-language broadcaster with CBS Corp, Time Warner Inc and other media companies, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. _0"> The talks, however, appear to have gone nowhere, the people said, citing the $20 billion Univision's owners are seeking for company as an issue. ( r.reuters.com/xew99v ) Univision spokeswoman Monica Talan said the company does not comment on rumors. Univision is based in the United States, and owned by Univision Communications Inc. CBS representatives declined to comment on the report, while representatives for Time Warner did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular U.S. business hours. Univision's owner had also considered Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Televisa SAB as a possible buyer, the newspaper said. Grupo Televisa owns a minority stake in Univision and supplies much of it

UPDATE 1-Nextdoor CEO pleads no contest to hit and run charge

Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia, whose social networking website espouses neighborhood safety and community, pleaded no contest Thursday in a San Mateo court to a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of a highway accident that a driver says Tolia caused. Tolia will pay a $239 fine, spend 30 weekend days in a county program in lieu of 30 days' jail time, serve two years' probation, and will be responsible for restitution to the victim, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Tolia originally faced felony criminal charges , but Wagstaffe said he reduced them to a misdemeanor "hit and run causing injury" because of Tolia's forthrightness in admitting his role in the accident. "I'm glad he accepted responsibility right up front and never tried to lie about what happened or avoid responsibility," he told Reuters. The work program includes activities such as picking up litter or trimming weeds along public roads and at schools, Wagstaffe said.

DEALTALK-Canadian cannabis producers set their sights high

By unlocking the once-obscure medical marijuana market, Canada has created a fast-growing, profitable and federally regulated industry with a distinct appeal to the more daring global investor. About a dozen producers of the drug will find themselves in the spotlight this year as they consider going public or prepare to so through share sales or reverse takeovers to capitalize on recent regulatory changes, investment bankers said. The Canadian companies are in a race to raise money to build facilities, attract patients and grab shares in a market projected to grow to C$1.3 billion ($1.20 billion) in the next 10 years. Despite facing considerable risks, they have the advantage of being in one of the few countries where medical marijuana is legal nationwide and where licensed operators can mass-produce it. In the United States, the drug remains illegal at the federal level. Some 20 U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana, but investors worry about the prospect, however remote,

Bain sues EY over $60 mln loss in India kids clothing company

Global private equity firm Bain Capital Partners LLC is suing EY in a United States court, claiming that the auditing firm cost it roughly $60 million by advising it to invest in Lilliput Kidswear, a children's clothing company in India. Bain alleges that it invested around $60 million in Lilliput in May 2010 for a non-controlling 30.99 percent stake, based on false financial statements that EY, previously known as Ernst & Young, had audited and certified, according to a copy of the lawsuit seen by Reuters. Bain and 10 other subsidiaries of the global private equity firm have sued Ernst & Young Global Limited and Ernst & Young LLP in a Massachusetts court, claiming that the investment is now "rendered worthless", according to the suit. An external spokeswoman for Bain declined to comment on the lawsuit. "These allegations of wrongdoing are baseless and EY will vigorously defend this matter," EY said in a statement. Bain invested in Lilliput i

TPG agrees to buy Australia property firm DTZ from UGL for $1.1 bln -source

A consortium led by global private equity firm TPG Capital Management LP has agreed to buy the property arm of Australian engineering services company UGL Ltd for A$1.215 billion ($1.14 billion), a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday. _0"> UGL put the unit DTZ on sale to cut debt as its main engineering services division faces declining revenues due to a slowdown in the Australian mining sector. TPG's consortium partners include Hong Kong private equity firm PAG and Canada's Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, the source added. A deal is expected to be signed as early as Friday, the source said, declining to identified as the decision is not public yet. UGL was not available for immediate comment, while TPG declined to comment. PAG and OTPP could not be immediately reached for comment. ($1 = 1.0620 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Stephen Aldred ; Additional reporting by Byron Kaye in SYDNEY; Editing by Denny Thomas and Ryan Woo

Merlin private equity backers sell $615 mln stake

Two of Merlin Entertainments' private equity backers sold 100 million shares in the British theme park owner for 366 million pounds ($615 million) on Friday, according to Deutsche Bank, one of the banks handling the sale. _0"> Plans to place the shares by CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Blackstone Group LP via Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley were announced after Thursday's close. Merlin is the world's second-biggest operator of visitor attractions behind Walt Disney with brands such as Madam Tussauds and Legoland and counted Blackstone and CVC as its biggest shareholders after Kirkbi A/S, according to Thomson Reuters data. ($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds) (Reporting by Steve Slater ; Editing by Pamela Barbaglia)

UPDATE 1-TPG agrees to buy Australia property services firm DTZ for $1.1 bln-source

A TPG Capital Management-led consortium has agreed to buy the property arm of Australian engineering services firm UGL Ltd for A$1.215 billion ($1.14 billion), a source told Reuters on Friday. UGL put the unit DTZ, a real estate services company, for sale to cut debt as its main engineering services division faces declining revenues due to a slowdown in the Australian mining sector. A deal is expected to be signed as early as Friday, bringing to a close a year-long sale process that has attracted interest from a number of private equity bidders including U.S. buyout firm Warburg Pincus. The sale also underscores the return of strong buyouts market in Asia, spurred by easy credit markets and capital flowing into the region's private equity firms. As a result, private equity-backed M&As have got off to their best-ever start, with $26.7 billion in deals announced so far this year. That is 21.6 percent more than the whole of 2013, according to Thomson Reuters data. Private eq

ASIA GRAPHICS-Indian stocks lead on price performance; China lags

The Indian stock market is the topper in Asia on price performance in dollar terms this year, while Japan and China trail the region with negative returns. _0"> Indian stocks have surged over the last few weeks on optimism that the newly formed BJP government under Narendra Modi would revive the country's economy. Track their performance through the following charts: Asian markets performance: ( link.reuters.com/ryx99v ) Asian markets valuations: ( link.reuters.com/qyx99v ) Asian markets-Analyst Revision scores - ( link.reuters.com/syx99v ) For related news: India's economic outlook turns encouraging for new government India's economy looks to Modi for growth rebound (Compiled By Patturaja Murugaboopathy)