News Archive

Carl Icahn blasts SandRidge Energy’s poison pill move

(Reuters) – SandRidge Energy Inc’s top shareholder and activist investor Carl Icahn blasted the oil and gas company’s move to adopt a poison pill plan amid strong opposition to its $746 million bid for Bonanza Creek Energy Inc.

In a letter to SandRidge’s board, Icahn called the proposed deal “value-destroying” and said the shareholder rights plan adopted earlier this week was designed to prevent large shareholders from campaigning against the deal. (

“On November 26, 2017, in direct response to this strong shareholder opposition to the proposed acquisition, you adopted a poison pill that is a complete travesty and represents a new low in corporate governance.” Icahn said in the letter on Thursday.

Icahn’s letter comes a week after he disclosed a 13.5 percent stake in SandRidge and joined other major shareholder Fir Tree Partners in opposing a move that they said would drain all of the company’s cash.

While Icahn said he is not currently taking any action against the company, he is considering seeking proxies from shareholders to vote against the Bonanza deal and is also prepared to initiate litigation.

SandRidge was not immediately available for comment.

SandRidge’s shares were up 1.5 percent at $18.39. Bonanza Creek shares were marginally up.

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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Brenda Berlin takes Coal of Africa CFO job

Schutte has been with the company since 2015, and will leave immediately.

CoAL will finish the December quarter with no permanent CFO because Berlin starts on March 1, 2018.

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She has been CFO at Implats since 2011 and joined the company in 2004, working under CoAL Africa CEO David Brown in his time as CEO there.

Berlin announced last week she was leaving Implats, and will finish on February 28, a day before starting at the new company.

Brown said her input would be valuable as CoAL works out how to fund the Makhado project.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I’m delighted to have Brenda join the company, in what will be vital period over the next 12 months,” he said.

“Brenda is highly regarded in the sector and brings a wealth of financial and mining experience, having been CFO of Impala, one of the world’s largest platinum miners, for the past six years.” 

CoAL will soon change its name to MC Mining and finalise a share consolidation.

The move will be a step down in scale for Berlin, as it was for Brown.

CoAL said Schutte would “pursue personal endeavours” after leaving.

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Bitcoin loses over a fifth of its value in less than 24 hours

LONDON (Reuters) – Bitcoin slid to as low as $9,000 in volatile trade on Thursday, having lost more than a fifth of its value since hitting an all-time high of $11,395 on Wednesday. BTC=BTSP.

The cryptocurrency fell as much as 8 percent on Thursday on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange to hit $9,000 exactly, marking a fall of well over $2,000 in under 24 hours. It then edged back up to trade at around $9,400 in the hour that followed, still down roughly 4 percent on the day. (Graphic: Bitcoin searches exceeds that of Trump –

One market-watcher attributed the fall to outages in bitcoin exchanges and the heavy price surge of recent times.

“Naturally a few of the early bitcoin traders are taking some profits off the table,” said Charles Hayter, founder of

“Volatility is in the market at the moment and that means both positive and negative moves.”

The latest fall has tempered an astronomical rise for the cryptocurrency in recent months – bitcoin was up almost 1,100 percent year-to-date on Wednesday. As of 1500 GMT on Thursday, it was still up around 880 percent.

The rise has been fueled by signs that the digital currency is slowly gaining traction in the mainstream investment world, as well as by increasing awareness.

In the past week, Google searches for “bitcoin” exceeded searches for “Trump” for the first time, data from Google showed, even though U.S. President Donald Trump has been prominently in the news this week.

Several large market exchanges including Nasdaq, CBOE Holdings and CME Group — the world’s largest derivatives exchange — have said they are planning to provide futures contracts based on bitcoin.

Some investors have said such a development may prompt them to add the digital currency to their portfolio.

In October, Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said he was keeping an open mind on bitcoin following a media that the investment bank was exploring a new trading operation dedicated to cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin’s rapid ascent has prompted warnings from a stream of prominent investors that it had reached bubble territory, while the Bank of England deputy governor on Wednesday said investors should “do their homework” before investing in the digital currency.


New users of bitcoin have skyrocketed in recent weeks, along with the cryptocurrency’s own rise.

London-based, one of the biggest global bitcoin wallet-providers, told Reuters on Wednesday it had added a record number of new users on Tuesday, with more than 100,000 customers signing up, taking the total number to more than 19 million.

The evidence suggests that few of the users are buying bitcoin to use it as a means of exchange, but are speculating to increase their capital.

Bitcoin’s fall on Thursday dragged down the prices of other cryptocurrencies in its wake, with Ethereum, bitcoin’s biggest rival, falling as much as 19 percent on the day, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.

For the month, bitcoin is still on track for a more than 40 percent price increase.

Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan; Editing by Jemima Kelly and Gareth Jones

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Express Scripts CEO sees Amazon as a potential partner: CNBC

(Reuters) – Express Scripts Holding (ESRX.O) sees Inc (AMZN.O), which has been reported to be interested in entering the pharmacy market, as a possible partner rather than a competitor, the chief executive of the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) said on Thursday on CNBC.

Express Scripts, the biggest PBM in the United States, and drug distributors have been under pressure by the speculated entry of Amazon into the prescription drug market.

“What (Amazon) will see is the magic isn’t in lower net prices to consumers,” CEO Tim Wentworth said. “It’s getting the right drug to consumers and helping them navigate the system.” (

Wentworth was speaking to CNBC at the Forbes Healthcare Summit conference in New York. He made similar comments last month to analysts.

Last month, Express Scripts said it would “stand well” against any possible competition from Amazon in the pharmacy benefit management business, but added that the company would be a “natural collaborator” for the ecommerce giant.

PBMs negotiate drug benefits for health insurance plans and employers, and have in recent years taken an increasingly aggressive stance in price negotiations with drugmakers.

They often extract discounts and after-market rebates from drugmakers in exchange for including their medicines in PBM formularies with low co-payments.

Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Savio D’Souza

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Sears’ shares soar as loss narrows; sales continue decline

(Reuters) – Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O) cut its third quarter loss by almost $200 million compared to a year ago, the company said on Thursday, benefiting from lower operating costs as it shut scores of Kmart and Sears outlets.

The company, whose warning of the risk of bankruptcy earlier this year was symbolic of the troubles of America’s biggest traditional retailers, racked up its 24th straight quarter of sales declines, reporting a double-digit drop in comparable sales at both Sears and Kmart.

Shares of Sears, which have been down more than 50 percent this year, surged 27 percent to $5.36 in pre-market trade and were the biggest gainers before the open.

“Losses are still terrible, but they are less bad than forecast and progress has been made in reducing them since last year,” Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData Retail, told Reuters.

He added that the pension deal Sears struck earlier this month also provides some certainty over future costs and will help the company’s bottom line in 2018 and 2019.

Sears said this month it had struck a deal that will help it reduce contributions to its pension plan for the next two years and monetize real estate that had formerly been protected.

Saunders, however, said the results gave little cause for celebration. “We still believe that Sears is a dying business … Nothing in this latest set of results changes our view.”

Once the largest U.S. retailer, Sears in March flagged doubts that it could continue as a going concern as it suffered from the Amazon-fuelled shift in shoppers from the mall to the web.

It has struck brand licensing deals and promoted its shopper loyalty program in efforts to turn itself around.

“The improvement is reflective of the success of the strategic priorities we outlined earlier this year,” the firm’s billionaire owner, Chairman and Chief Executive Eddie Lampert said in a statement.

He said Sears had streamlined operations, reduced inventory and minimized operating expenses.

The company’s net loss attributable to shareholders was $558 million in the third quarter, in line with guidance of $525-$595 million given earlier this month but down from $748 million a year earlier.

Sears said it had taken in more than $270 million from sales of real estate and other assets in the third quarter, as well as an additional $167 million after the close of the quarter.

It used the proceeds to pay down debt; long-term debt and obligations fell to $2.03 billion at the end of the quarter from $2.41 billion three months earlier.

Additional reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; editing by Savio D’Souza and Patrick Graham

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Alopex aims for the vein

Scenic gold: Alopex hopes to restart production at the Nalunaq mine, a third of the way up the mountain to the right, in 2019

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Bushveld ups Vametco interest

The deal, which follows the company acquiring 26.6% of Vametco in May, will see Bushveld increase its stake to 59.1%.

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2017: the year of government intervention

Government policy has been a factor in most talking points, some directly – looking at you Tanzania, China and South Africa – others indirectly, like climate change agreements spurring on the electric vehicle (EV) battery revolution.

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Bernstein looks out for ‘fair’ lithium price

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