Opening Bell: 10.28.15

AB InBev explores sale of US assets; Hillary Clinton is serious about breaking up big banks; Employees don't want your stinking stock; Man turns violent after being asked to sit out Monopoly tournament; and more.
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Walgreens Boots Alliance to Buy Rite Aid for $17.2 Billion (Bloomberg)
The transaction would combine the second- and third-largest drugstore chains in the U.S., with a total of about 12,800 locations, helping Walgreens vault past market leader CVS Health Corp. The acquisition will add to Walgreens’ earnings beginning a full year after completion and will produce more than $1 billion in savings from cost overlaps, the companies said Tuesday in a statement. Including debt, the deal is valued at $17.2 billion, they said.

AB InBev eyes asset sale to seal SAB deal (FT)
Anheuser-Busch InBev has hired bankers to explore a sale of US assets, in a move seen as crucial to winning regulatory approval for a proposed £68bn merger of the two brewers. The assets include SABMiller’s stake in a joint venture with Molson Coors. Lead adviser Lazard and Barclays have been appointed to sell SAB’s 58 per cent stake in the joint venture, which could fetch as much as $10bn, according to people briefed on the matter. The hiring comes as AB InBev and SAB agreed to extend Wednesday’s deadline to complete the terms of the deal, a move expected to be granted by the UK Takeover Panel, people familiar with the situation said. The extension highlights the complex nature of the deal and the amount of work and people involved, including 21 banks working on AB InBev’s financing.

Hillary Clinton Gets Serious About Breaking Up Big Banks on Stephen Colbert (Bloomberg)
Her stated refusal to bail out the big banks—to let them fail, if a 2008 scenario were to repeat itself—was a crystallization, a hardening, of her economic position. “First of all, under Dodd-Frank, that is what will happen because we now have stress-tests and I’m going to impose a risk fee on the big bank if they engage in risky investor," she said. "And they have to know, what their shareholders have to know is, yes, they will fail. And if they're too big to fail, then, under my plan and others that have been proposed, they may have to be broken up.”

The Bitcoin Startup Boom Comes Back Down to Earth (Bloomberg)
After an aggressive start to 2015 that entailed venture capitalists kicking $373 million into bitcoin startups in the first half of the year, growth slowed substantially in the third quarter, according to data from researcher CoinDesk. The $85 million in investments last quarter represents a relatively modest growth rate of 15 percent from a year earlier and a 41 percent drop from the previous quarter.

Grocery Store Bans Egg Sales To Minors Around Halloween (HP)
Local resident Frank Tkachenko told The Huffington Post that he posted a photo of the sign -- which states the age restrictions are due to “safety concerns” -- online after his friend sent him the snapshot. Tkachenko said his friend took the photo at a Redner's Market store in Langhorne, but noted that he's heard of similar signs at other Redner's locations...Lancaster Online reported last year that the "no eggs to minors" rule is a chain-wide policy during the week surrounding Halloween, apparently to prevent eggings. Pete Bourey, assistant store director in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, told Lancaster Online at the time that “there’s usually not a good outcome” when teens purchase eggs in late October. He also said he had not heard any complaints about the policy.

Goldman Sachs to Spin Out Mobile-Phone Software Projects Into Separate Venture (WSJ)
The New York investment bank said it is spinning out a collection of mobile-phone software it developed in-house into a new venture. That entity will be managed and majority-owned by Synchronoss Technologies Inc., a publicly traded software firm that is increasingly trying to target business customers, the companies said.

Brazilians Expect Crisis to Linger for at Least 3 More Years (Bloomberg)
Brazil’s economy will contract 3 percent this year and 1.4 percent in 2016, according to analysts surveyed by the central bank. That would be the first back-to-back recession since 1931.

Paying Workers in Stock Can Be a Tough Sell (WSJ)
“It’s a little bit like paying your employees…in lottery tickets,” says Dirk Jenter, an associate professor of finance at the London School of Economics and the Stanford Graduate School of Business who studies employee attitudes toward equity compensation. “Most people prefer cash.”

Man goes directly to jail for brawl at Missouri Monopoly tournament (UPI)
Organizers of Saturday's 7th Annual Stone County OACAC Monopoly Tournament in Branson, Mo., told police John Litton, 69, turned violent when he was asked to sit out from this year's tournament after he allegedly engaged in unsportsmanlike conduct during last year's game. Police said there were no serious injuries when the tournament -- like so many Monopoly games -- descended into a brawl. Litton was taken directly to the Stone County Jail on charges of third-degree assault, disturbing the peace and trespassing. He was ordered held without bond.

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Opening Bell: 11.12.15

AB InBev seals SABMiller deal; Argentina finally pays off for hedge funds; $50,000 headphones; "Shia LaBeouf Live-Streams Himself Watching All of His Movies"; and more.

By Captain-tucker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 9.27.16

Stumpf forfeits $41 million; Germany has no plans to save Deutsch Bank; SABMiller backs AB InBev takeover; Warren Beatty denies sleeping with 12,775 women; and more.

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Opening Bell: 7.26.16

AB InBev ups SABMiller offer; Deutsche Bank must face subprime suit; Marissa Mayer probably won't get another CEO job right away; Man head-butted mother in face because she brought home Chick-fil-A for dinner; and more.

Opening Bell: 9.16.15

AB InBev wants SABMiller; Kynikos gains; Bridgewater loses (and tells investors to f*ck off); Young Wall Street has no idea what a rate hike looks like; "Man Throws Brisket At Woman During Beef At BBQ Fest, Police Say"; and more.

Opening Bell: 2.18.16

Bank stock-rout hits bonuses; Derek Jeter invests in whistleblower app; Ray Dalio says expect lower returns, higher risk; Hookers 4 Hillary Offers 'Extras' To Nevada Clinton Supporters; and more.

Opening Bell: 02.27.13

Bernanke Affirms Bond Buying (WSJ) In his semiannual report to Congress Tuesday, Mr. Bernanke said the bond buying is helping the economy by holding down long-term interest rates and ought to be sustained. "Keeping long-term interest rates low has helped spark a recovery in the housing market and has led to increased sales and production of automobiles and other durable goods," he said. The Fed has accumulated $2.8 trillion of Treasury and mortgage securities. Mr. Bernanke's remarks signaled little change in the central bank's plans to purchase $85 billion a month of long-term Treasury and mortgage debt. The Fed's next policy meeting is March 19-20. Regulators Hope For Libor Pacts (WSJ) Regulators investigating alleged interest-rate manipulation are hoping to reach settlements with at least three major financial institutions by the end of summer, according to a person familiar with the probes. It isn't clear if the companies will go along with any proposed settlements, and previous agreements with banks were delayed before being completed. So far, regulators have settled rate-rigging charges with Barclays, RBS, and UBS collecting about $2.5 billion in penalties. All three banks admitted that employees sought to rig rates. Barclays to Unveil Numbers Earning 1 Million (FT) Barclays is set to reveal the number of staff who earned above 1 million pounds ($1.5 million) last year, in a push for transparency that could turn the bank into a trailblazer for the sector. In its annual report next week, the British retail and investment bank will for the first time give an outline of the various pay brackets among its 140,000 staff, people close to the situation said. Analysts estimate that between 600 and 700 employees – mostly in the investment bank – will be revealed as having taken home more than 1 million pounds last year. JPMorgan To Cut 17,000 Jobs (WSJ) The move announced Tuesday by the New York company, the nation's most profitable bank in 2012 and the biggest U.S. lender by assets, will reduce its staff by 6.5% in one of the most aggressive reductions to date amid widespread financial-industry cutbacks. Bond brawl: Singer v. Argentina today (NYP) Lawyers Ted Olsen and David Boies will appear before a Manhattan US appeals court to argue over how $1.44 billion in Argentina debt should be paid. Olsen represents billionaire hedge fund magnate Paul Singer, who claims he and other bondholder holdouts should be paid alongside those holders who agreed to a steep haircut during a debt restructuring. Argentina President Cristina Kirchner has long insisted she will never pay “one dollar” to the Singer holdouts. Boies represents the bondholders who agreed to the restructuring — and they oppose Singer, believing that Argentina will never go along with a pro-holdout ruling, thus putting their bonds at risk of default. Cops: Florida Man, 36, Assaulted Teen Relative With Taco Bell Burrito (TSG) The victim told cops that he was having a “verbal altercation” with his mother and Brown, his brother-in-law, when Brown “asked his mother to bring him the burrito,” according to an arrest affidavit. Brown then allegedly threw the burrito “with force” at the victim, striking the boy in the face with the fast food item. While interviewing the teen, cops noted that he had “burrito cheese, sauce and meat all over his clothing and face.” Brown told police that the victim was disrespectful to his mother and had cursed at the woman. He also acknowledged that he had “delivered” the burrito. After being booked into the county jail, Brown warned that he would “take care” of the teen upon his release from custody, adding that the victim “was going to get knocked out.” Best Buy Takeover Attempt by Founder in Jeopardy (Reuters) Best Buy founder Richard Schulze's effort to take the company private is in trouble after attempts to secure financing faltered while an alternative strategy to line up minority investors may not pan out either, five sources familiar with the matter said. No longer pursuing a full takeover bid for the troubled electronics retailer, Schulze has focused discussions in recent weeks on a potential deal in which private equity firms would buy a non-controlling stake, the sources, who declined to be named because the discussions are private, said. 'Penta-Millionaires' Happier Than Merely Rich: Study (CNBC) Breaking: A survey from Spectrem Group found that individuals worth $5 million or more are far more satisfied with their jobs, relationships and work than those worth $100,000 or less. Dimon Says Banks Have More Capital Than They Can Use (Bloomberg) The biggest U.S. banks are lending the smallest portion of their deposits in five years as cash floods in from savers, a slow economy damps demand from borrowers and regulators push financial firms to bolster themselves against any future credit crisis. The average loan-to-deposit ratio for the top eight commercial banks fell to 84 percent in the fourth quarter from 87 percent a year earlier and 101 percent in 2007, according to data compiled by Credit Suisse Group AG. JPMorgan had the lowest ratio in the group at 61 percent. “I don’t want to say it’s anti-American” to be held to international standards, Dimon said, adding that the bank’s assets include highly rated securities. “That balance sheet is almost as liquid as you can get.” Budweiser Has Been Sued 3 Times for Watering Down All Those Watery Beers (Atlantic Wire) The plaintiffs — including one guy who bought a case of Michelob Ultra a month, for some reason — allege that the public doesn't know what all the beers under the Budweiser umbrella really taste like, and that they're not getting their money's worth. There is no science backing up the defendants' claims, and AB InBev has yet to respond in court. The krux of the evidence comes from "information from former workers" of Anheuser-Busch breweries who claim watering down the beer in post-production is a company policy.

Opening Bell: 10.9.15

Deutsche Bank just the start for European bank pain; Bonds out, equities in; Ferrari thinks it's worth $12.4 billion; InBev doesn't know why SABMiller keeps rejecting its offers; "Assistant football coach at NJ high school gets into fight with player's mother"; and more.

Opening Bell: 10.8.15

Goldman, Morgan Stanley win back hedge fund business; BlackRock says shut.it.down; Clinton will propose tax on high frequency trading; "Student reportedly expelled from UConn for mac and cheese tantrum"; and more.