Opening Bell: 05.28.13

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Valeant to Buy Bausch & Lomb for $8.7 Billion (DealBook)
Bausch & Lomb, the eye care company, agreed on Monday to sell itself to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International of Canada for about $8.7 billion, sidestepping the lengthier process of an initial public offering. Under the terms of the deal, Valeant will pay $4.5 billion to the investor group that owns Bausch & Lomb, led by the private equity firm Warburg Pincus. It will also spend about $4.2 billion to repay Bausch & Lomb’s debt. The agreement continues the flurry of deal-making in the health care industry, as companies seek to buy the growth they are hard-pressed to generate on their own. Announced merger volume in the sector this year is up 14 percent from the period a year earlier, even as takeovers have fallen 8 percent.

U.K. Banks Cut 189,000 With Employment at Nine-Year Low (Bloomberg)
Britain’s four biggest banks will have eliminated about 189,000 jobs by the end of this year from their peak staffing levels, bringing employment to a nine-year low amid a dearth of revenue. More cuts may follow. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Barclays Plc will employ about 606,000 people worldwide by the end of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s 24 percent below the peak of 795,000 in 2008 and the least since 2004, when they employed 594,000 globally.

Accounting Fraud Targeted (WSJ)
An initial step in the SEC's new effort is software that analyzes the "management's discussion and analysis" section of annual reports where executives detail a company's performance and prospects. Officials say certain word choices appear to reveal warning signs of earnings manipulation, and tests to determine if the analysis would have detected previous accounting frauds "look very promising," said Harvey Westbrook, head of the SEC's office of quantitative research.

Credit Suisse warns of U.S. tax spat escalation if talks fail (Reuters)
Credit Suisse's chairman warned that a long-running tax dispute with the United States over hidden Swiss bank accounts could easily escalate and spill over to rivals if not settled. "What looks to be a painful solution at first glance is better for everyone than none at all," Urs Rohner was quoted as telling the Neue Zuercher Zeitung daily on Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley Said to Move Asia Hedge-Fund Event to U.S. (Bloomberg)
Morgan Stanley will hold a gathering in New York to showcase Asian hedge funds to investors after pulling its capital introductions event in China because of the bird flu, said three people with knowledge of the matter. Morgan Stanley told managers and investors last month the annual forum scheduled for Shanghai between May 21 and May 23 would be postponed and relocated to New York in July because of health concerns after the avian flu outbreak earlier this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Xu Li, a Beijing-based spokeswoman of Morgan Stanley, declined to comment on the delay.

One Man's Oodles of Doodles Draw a Picture of Life in Finance (WSJ)
Mr. Silton doodled through many of his meetings, he says, filling at least 75 spiral-bound notebooks with about 600 drawings by the time he retired in 2011. In one doodle, a bull-like creature with one horn pointing up and the other down peers at Mr. Silton's notes about the weak economy. At a showdown between rival management teams, he drew what looks like a sharp-toothed lizard crawling out from beneath a building of intricate arches and squares. By the end of a 1997 meeting with a potential buyer of a subsidiary of the investment firm where he worked, a looming tower toppled over notes that included "stick to what we're doing" and "do not look at watch." "I look at the eyes in some of my pictures and they look frightened and troubled," says Mr. Silton. He isn't quite sure how much his art imitated his life as a money manager.

Princeton Alums Attempt Tennis Outfit Record (ABC)
Alumni from Princeton University plan on having a “net”-working event at their reunion this year. At their 15-year celebration next month, the Class of 1998 will attempt to set a Guinness world record for the largest gathering of people in tennis outfits on the university campus. “It was something we could accomplish, as well as having a really fun reunion,” Beth Brett, 36, LA, Calif., reunion co-chair and president of the Class of 1998, told ABCNews.com. ”Our competitive spirits are high at Princeton.” ... Tennis costumes will be provided to all registered participants, even including tennis “onesies” for infants and toddlers.

European Lenders Draw Down Central-Bank Reserves (WSJ)
The amount of cash that a dozen of Europe's biggest banks have stashed at central banks has steadily risen from $765 billion at the end of 2010 to a peak of $1.42 trillion this past September, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the banks' financial disclosures. Since that peak, though, the cash hoards of the 12 banks have dropped 19% to about $1.15 trillion at the end of March, the lowest level in nearly two years.

‘Cov-lite’ loans soar in dash for yield (FT)
The proportion of so-called “cov-lite” loans has soared to more than 50 per cent of all leveraged loan issuance so far this year, twice the level seen during the credit boom in 2007. Leveraged loans are issued by high-risk companies, such as those owned by private equity firms, and sold to investors through the credit markets. Some strategists argue that cov-lite lending could be a “new normal”, the wisdom of which will be tested in the next economic downturn. Moody’s, the credit rating agency, last week said it saw signs of a “covenant bubble” that poses dangers for loan investors when the US Federal Reserve begins to tighten monetary policy.

Worse-Than-Cyprus Debt Load Means Caribbean Defaults to Moody’s (Bloomberg)
The average debt for a Caribbean nation compared with the size of its economy stands at 70 percent, with Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda and Grenada above the 93 percent ratio that forced Cyprus to seek a European Union-brokered March bailout, according to the International Monetary Fund and Moody’s. Jamaica’s debt-to-GDP ratio reached 140 percent last year.

Germany thwarts EU in China solar fight (FT)
Germany led a majority of EU members on Monday to oppose punitive duties on imported Chinese solar panels, undermining an aggressive attempt by the bloc’s trade commissioner to combat allegedly unfair competition from China. ... The anti-dumping case has emerged as a test of whether the EU can maintain a unified trade policy orchestrated by Brussels, or whether national governments would ultimately fracture under intense commercial lobbying by Beijing.

U.S. Oil Boom Divides OPEC (WSJ)
African OPEC members such as Algeria and Nigeria—which produce oil of similar grade to shale oil—are suffering the worst effects from the North American oil boom. Nigeria Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke deemed U.S. shale oil a "grave concern." Gulf countries, notably Saudi Arabia, pass relatively unscathed—and are the only OPEC members with the flexibility to cut production. But they are unlikely to let that happen at Friday's meeting, several OPEC delegates said.

'Summer of Shandy' Coming to the US (CNBC)
"With governments reducing allowable blood alcohol contents for driving under the influence, lower alcohol drinks seem destined to receive more attention," Tom Vierhile, director at Datamonitor said. "2013 is shaping up as the 'summer of shandy' ... while beer and lemon have been dance partners for decades, they have never had the marketing push and attention that they are currently enjoying."

Britain's happiest man is a teacher from Scotland, study claims (Telegraph)
The researchers questioned people from across the country about how contented they are in order to work out who is happiest, and where they live. And Steve, 60, from Edinburgh, a teacher with grey hair, blue eyes and glasses, who enjoys spending time with his family and friends, came out on top.

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