News Archive


Adidas not facing shareholder pressure to sell Reebok: FT


FRANKFURT Adidas (ADSGn.DE) is not facing pressure from activist shareholders to offload more assets, like fitness brand Reebok, the German sporting goods group’s finance chief told the Financial Times.

“I’ve never had a conversation where anyone has given me any pressure about anything,” the FT quoted Robin Stalker as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.

A person familiar with the matter had told Reuters earlier this month that Egyptian tycoon Nassef Sawiris had formed a partnership with U.S. investor Mason Hawkins and his colleagues at Southeastern Asset Management to drive change at companies they invest in, with Adidas at the top of the list.

In addition, Belgium’s richest man Albert Frere acquired a 3 percent stake in Adidas earlier this year.

Stalker told the FT he had “good discussions” with Southeastern Asset Management and Frere’s GBL holding company, but had not yet spoken to Sawiris.

“What has been of interest to everybody is that we have said we are prepared to look at our portfolio. We’ve done a very good review of that,” Stalker said.

Adidas said in August it was considering the possible sale of its golf brands, as demanded by some investors, but Hainer has rejected selling Reebok, saying the long-struggling business bought in 2005 is now on the mend.

According to the FT, Adidas is to decide in the first quarter of 2016. Whether to sell golf brand TaylorMade.

Sawiris is independently invested in Adidas via NNS Holding, which owned 1.74 percent of the shares as of Oct. 30, according to Thomson Reuters data, and around 6 percent of voting rights via a number of options. Southeastern has publicly filed as holding over 3 percent of the company.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/8SN2RBvq86M/story01.htm

Asia stocks edge up as crude prices stabilize


TOKYO Asian stocks poked into positive territory on Tuesday, shrugging off early losses as Chinese shares stabilized a day after marking their biggest loss in a month and crude prices took back some lost ground.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.1 percent. But it remained on track to mark a loss of around 12 percent for 2015, a year that saw it log a more than seven-year high in April.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index added 0.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.2 percent, after both skidded more than 2 percent in the previous session.

Japan’s Nikkei erased earlier losses and was up 0.3 percent in afternoon trade, while South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.1 percent.

Australian stocks rose 0.9 percent, gaining for the eighth consecutive session after reopening following a four-day long holiday weekend.

Crude oil futures stabilized after both Brent and U.S. crude prices dropped more than 3 percent on Monday. Brent edged up 0.1 percent a barrel to $36.67, though it was still not far from an 11-year low of $35.98 struck last week, while U.S. crude also added about 0.1 percent to $36.85.

The overnight tumble sent U.S. energy shares down 1.8 percent, the worst performing of the major SP sectors. Wall Street marked modest losses after trading resumed following the Christmas break, with this week’s activity is expected to remain thin until after the long New Year holiday weekend.

Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,074.40 an ounce after falling overnight in line with crude.

“Over the short-term, the precious metal will likely trend sideways, as funds look to close out the year and contemplate heading into next year with a fresh slate,” said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

In currencies, the dollar edged down about 0.1 percent to 120.29 yen, within striking distance of a two-month low of 120.05 struck late last week.

The greenback has been sapped by profit taking after the Federal Reserve this month hiked interest rates for the first time in nine years. Investors are waiting for the Fed to send fresh signals about when the second rate hike could take place in 2016 to determine the dollar’s near-term direction.

The euro nudged up 0.1 percent to $1.0979.

The dollar edged down against its Canadian counterpart to C$1.3872 after the loonie slipped overnight in line with weakening crude oil prices. The Canadian unit plumbed an 11-year low of C$1.4003 against the dollar earlier this month.

“We are looking for USD/CAD to break 1.40 and head toward 1.45 in the first half of 2016. The oil industry is experiencing its biggest downturn since the 1990s and prices could fall another $10 a barrel before bottoming,” wrote Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management.

The Australian dollar gained about 0.2 percent to $0.7262 while the New Zealand dollar rose 0.3 percent to $0.6866.

China’s yuan firmed against the dollar, having earlier hit its weakest level in 4-1/2 years on strong dollar demand, following the central bank’s lowest midpoint fix since June 2011.

(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by Kim Coghill and Sam Holmes)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/_hrxFZlkREc/story01.htm

Oil prices remain weak as slowing demand adds to high output


SINGAPORE Crude oil prices remained under pressure on Tuesday as fears of slowing demand added to worries over near-record global production levels that have slashed prices by two-thirds since the middle of last year.

Front-month U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were trading at $36.83 per barrel at 0334 GMT, similar to Monday’s close after a more than 3 percent fall.

The international benchmark Brent LCOc1 was at $36.67 per barrel, virtually unchanged from its last settlement but less than a dollar away from an 11-year low hit earlier in December.

Both contracts are down by two-thirds since prices started tumbling in June 2014.

While global output has been at or near record highs, demand has so far held up, preventing oil prices from falling even lower, but that may be about to change.

Oil analysts JBC Energy said that oil product demand growth in Europe turned negative in October – a loss of 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) year-on-year – for the first time in 10 months and that diesel and gasoline demand growth in China, one of the strongest price supporters of the past year, was also slowing.

“The demand situation does not support a return to a higher price environment,” said derivatives exchange operator CME Group.

“China is still decelerating. Growth in emerging markets is slow. Europe may grow 1 percent to 2 percent in real GDP terms, the U.S. a little better, and Japan a little less. No major demand surges here,” it said.

One change in oil trading has been that WTI flipped to a premium versus Brent CL-LCO1=R this month after the United States lifted a decades-old ban on exporting U.S. crude oil.

Analysts expect this price structure to stay in place, especially should global markets suffer from slowing demand and a continuing oil surplus while domestic supplies in the United States tighten.

“We expect (the) WTI-Brent spread to reach about $1, which was where spreads were before (the) U.S. ramped up its production,” Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures said.

U.S. shale oil drilling soared from around 2010, but many producers have piled up huge amounts of debt and are now struggling to stay in business.

“The ongoing low oil-price environment points furiously towards a rough 2016 for U.S. producers,” oil analysis firm ClipperData said, with some estimates pointing to a 500,000 bpd fall in U.S. production in 2016.

However, with most analysts estimating global output to exceed demand by that amount to perhaps more than 2 million bpd, even such a U.S. cut would not be enough to rebalance markets.

(Editing by Himani Sarkar and Tom Hogue)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/jhInY8eeSXw/story01.htm

Toshiba says to seek new $2.5 billion credit line for restructuring


TOKYO Toshiba Corp (6502.T), reeling from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal, said it intends to ask for a new 300 billion yen ($2.49 billion) credit line by the end of January to fund a large-scale restructuring.

Toshiba is likely to approach its lenders for the new commitment line, a company spokesman said on Tuesday. The Nikkei financial daily earlier said it would likely seek help from banks including Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The move comes after Toshiba in September secured a 400 billion yen commitment line, and gives the company a wider safety net as it seeks to recover from the book-keeping scandal in which it overstated profits from around 2009.

Moody’s recently downgraded the company’s debt rating to junk status, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange has placed Toshiba stocks in a special “watch” category to see whether it can improve internal controls. Both moves have made it harder for the company to raise funding through debt or new shares.

The company said last week it would slash 6,800 consumer electronics jobs, taking total cuts beyond 10,000, including previously announced plans, as the sprawling conglomerate focuses on chips and nuclear energy. It also expects a record net loss this year.

Toshiba shares were up 1.2 percent on Tuesday compared to a flat overall stock market .N225.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Additional reporting by Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/w6BZ9_mDfr0/story01.htm

JPMorgan to raise deposit rates for some big clients in January: WSJ


JPMorgan Chase Co (JPM.N) will begin raising deposit rates for some of its biggest clients in January, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The bank’s deposit-rate increase will affect most institutional clients and the size of the increases will vary, the Journal reported, citing the person.

Earlier this month, major U.S. banks raised their prime rates, a benchmark for a wide range of consumer and commercial loans, for the first time since 2006, following a rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

JPMorgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Spokesmen for Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Wells Fargo Co (WFC.N) said the banks had not raised deposit rates.

(Reporting By Sudarshan Varadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/fC30rZAzCeg/story01.htm

Pep Boys says Icahn offer is superior, moves to terminate Bridgestone deal


Pep Boys-Manny Moe Jack (PBY.N) said its board determined activist investor Carl Icahn’s latest buyout offer was superior to the deal it accepted from Bridgestone Corp (5108.T), and the U.S. auto parts retailer moved to terminate the Bridgestone agreement.

Icahn’s latest bid of $18.50 per share on Monday values Pep Boys at about $1 billion, while Bridgestone’s previous offer of $17 per share valued the company at about $947 million.

Pep Boys said that its board has delivered a notice to Bridgestone to terminate their previous agreement.

Icahn Enterprises said it would be willing to bid in excess of $18.50 per share for Pep Boys unless Pep Boys increases Bridgestone’s termination fee of $39.5 million.

Icahn Enterprises’ offer is not subject to any due diligence, financing or antitrust conditions.

Icahn and Bridgestone have been in a bidding war for Pep Boys. Monday’s offer was Icahn’s third bid for the company including two moves to sweeten the deal this month

Bridgestone and Icahn Enterprise were not immediately available for comment.

The auto parts retailer has been on the block since June, when it said it was considering selling itself as part of a strategic review.

Bridgestone had said on Oct 26 that it would buy Pep Boys to boost its retail network by more than a third in the United States.

Icahn had reported a 12.12 percent stake in Pep Boys earlier in December and said the company’s retail automotive parts business would be a perfect fit for Auto Plus, a competitor he owns. (reut.rs/1Ny9Ul1)

Pep Boys stock jumped to 18.50 in after-hours trading from a close of 17.39.

(Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer and Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Cynthia Osterman)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/bd9O2Db9PJw/story01.htm

Valeant selects trio to fill in for ailing CEO; shares dive


NEW YORK Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO)(VRX.N) on Monday said a group of company executives will immediately take over for its chief executive officer until he returns from medical leave, news that sent its shares tumbling 10 percent.

The Canadian company said CEO Michael Pearson, 56, was being treated for severe pneumonia.

The decision to put leadership in the hands of three executives was unusual, experts said, and suggested a lack of confidence in any one company executive to temporarily fill Pearson’s shoes.

A spokeswoman for Valeant, based in Laval, Quebec, declined to comment on the decision to appoint a trio to take over for Pearson.

Valeant and Pearson have come under pressure for steep price increases on some drugs and for close ties to a specialty pharmacy that used aggressive methods to overcome insurer barriers to reimbursing its medicines.

Pearson was hospitalized with the lung condition on Friday. The company spokeswoman on Monday declined to say whether he had experienced any complications or when he might return, adding it was honoring a family request for privacy. The spokeswoman also declined to comment on Pearson’s medical history.

“It is an inopportune time for their leader to take sick leave after the company has faced credibility issues in recent months,” said Morningstar analyst Damien Conover. “If the company was on solid footing, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue.”

Valeant said its board has created an “office of the Chief Executive Officer,” which will include General Counsel Robert Chai-Onn, Group Chairman Ari Kellen and Chief Financial Officer Robert Rosiello.

The board also created a committee to oversee and support the office of the CEO, including lead independent director Robert Ingram, president of ValueAct Capital Mason Morfit and former Valeant CFO Howard Schiller.

Jerome Reisman, a partner in the law firm Reisman Peirez Reisman and Capobianco of Garden City, New York, said Valeant’s three-member CEO committee will likely prove too cumbersome.

“With all these kings they’re appointing to the troika, nobody will be able to make decisions,” said Reisman, a financial legal consultant to numerous drugmakers. “A committee on a committee just won’t work. You need a strong CEO.”

Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious disease specialist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, said the vast majority of patients with pneumonia fully recover thanks to effective antibiotics. But others are slow to recover and can be tired for months afterward, he said, particularly if they have pre-existing structural lung disease, including damage from emphysema, bronchitis, asthma and smoking.

He noted pneumonia can be caused by a range of bacteria, viruses, fungi, as well as inflammation, and in very severe cases can cause heart attacks or heart failure.

Pearson, who joined Valeant as CEO in 2010 after a 23-year career at consultancy McKinsey Co, has made rapid-fire acquisitions that greatly increased Valeant’s size and share price. But Valeant’s stock has plunged more than 60 percent since August, due largely to questions about the company’s marketing practices and the sustainability of its business model.

Investors have been turning up pressure on the Laval, Quebec-based company to provide a more detailed plan on how it will boost profits in 2016.

Under a deal announced this month, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) will take over many functions previously handled by specialty pharmacy Philidor Rx Services. Valeant cut ties with the Philidor in response to allegations of aggressive billing practices.

Valeant shares fell 10.5 percent to $102.14 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Additional reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Jeffrey Benkoe, David Gregorio and Leslie Adler)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/ff8UCl6ubkI/story01.htm

Toshiba seeks more funds for restructuring: Nikkei


Toshiba Corp (6502.T), reeling from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal, intends to ask for an additional 300 billion yen ($2.49 billion) in credit lines by the end of January to fund a large-scale restructuring, the Nikkei business daily reported.

Toshiba is likely to approach multiple financial institutions including Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, Nikkei reported, citing Chief Financial Officer Masayoshi Hirata. (s.nikkei.com/1YJLltx)

The company, which overstated profits beginning in the business year through March 2009, has begun restructuring after an investigation of its accounts revealed businesses in poor health.

Toshiba is also negotiating the sale of equipment maker Toshiba Medical Systems, which would likely boost its capital base to over 1 trillion yen by the middle of fiscal 2016, Nikkei said.

The company said last week it would book a record net loss this year and cut around 5 percent of its workforce as the sprawling conglomerate focuses on chips and nuclear energy.

The company’s restructuring is expected to trim fixed costs by about 300 billion yen in fiscal 2016 compared with the fiscal 2015 projection, Nikkei said.

Toshiba was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/Y_p5cM4or_w/story01.htm

Carl Icahn trumps Bridgestone’s offer for Pep Boys again


Pep Boys-Manny Moe Jack (PBY.N) said its board determined activist investor Carl Icahn’s latest buyout offer was superior to the deal it accepted from Bridgestone Corp (5108.T), and the U.S. auto parts retailer moved to terminate the Bridgestone agreement.

Icahn’s latest bid of $18.50 per share on Monday values Pep Boys at about $1 billion, while Bridgestone’s previous offer of $17 per share valued the company at about $947 million.

Pep Boys said that its board has delivered a notice to Bridgestone to terminate their previous agreement.

Icahn Enterprises said it would be willing to bid in excess of $18.50 per share for Pep Boys unless Pep Boys increases Bridgestone’s termination fee of $39.5 million.

Icahn Enterprises’ offer is not subject to any due diligence, financing or antitrust conditions.

Icahn and Bridgestone have been in a bidding war for Pep Boys. Monday’s offer was Icahn’s third bid for the company including two moves to sweeten the deal this month

Bridgestone and Icahn Enterprise were not immediately available for comment.

The auto parts retailer has been on the block since June, when it said it was considering selling itself as part of a strategic review.

Bridgestone had said on Oct 26 that it would buy Pep Boys to boost its retail network by more than a third in the United States.

Icahn had reported a 12.12 percent stake in Pep Boys earlier in December and said the company’s retail automotive parts business would be a perfect fit for Auto Plus, a competitor he owns. (reut.rs/1Ny9Ul1)

Pep Boys stock jumped to 18.50 in after-hours trading from a close of 17.39.

(Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer and Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Cynthia Osterman)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/cAYsDL3q0qo/story01.htm