After 15 Years at Odds, Argentina Aims to Settle Debt With Hedge Funds (Dealbook)
...the dispute, which has left Argentina largely cut off from international markets, still promised a few twists as a new round of talks took place this week in Manhattan. On Tuesday, Argentina struck a deal to pay $1.35 billion to a group of Italian investors whose bonds the country defaulted on in 2001, according to news reports. The deal is the first settlement with so-called holdout creditors who have not participated in earlier restructurings over debt from nearly 15 years ago. But Argentina has yet to come to an agreement with the New York hedge funds — holdouts led by the billionaire Paul E. Singer’s Elliott Management.
Startups Are Buying Back a Lot More Employee Stock (WSJ)
Nasdaq Private Market, a unit of exchange operator Nasdaq Inc. that provides software to private companies to manage employee share sales, says private startups bought back $940 million of employee stock last year via its platform, an increase of more than 40% from 2014. The rise in these sales shows how investors and employees are adjusting to a much less hospitable fundraising environment for technology startups after several years of booming valuations.
NYSE Wants to Abandon Rule Some Say Contributed to Wild Session (Bloomberg)
The rule lets NYSE market makers suspend their normal obligation to publicize the likely price at which stocks will open for trading. It was invoked on Aug. 24 amid an overseas rout that looked poised to drive U.S. prices lower. The rule is supposed to help market makers avoid some cumbersome manual procedures during times of volatility.
S&P cuts US oil groups’ ratings (FT)
The decisions show how the plunge in oil and gas since the summer of 2014 is hitting not only the highly indebted exploration and production companies that borrowed to finance their growth during the US shale boom, but also the more financially conservative independent companies and even the large international oil groups Chevron and ExxonMobil.
Italian cheese firm sells Parmesan-backed bond (Reuters)
An Italian dairy cooperative has sold bonds backed by Parmesan cheese, the company said on Tuesday, a rare example of one of the country's plethora of small firms raising funding on capital markets. Three years of recession have choked bank lending and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government is trying to encourage firms to raise money elsewhere and take advantage of a tentative economic recovery. Cheese-maker 4 Madonne Caseificio dell'Emilia has done just that, raising 6 million euros ($6.55 million) in mini-bonds guaranteed by wheels of Parmesan. 4 Madonne's chairman said it would use the money raised in the bond issue to improve its facilities and promote the thick-rinded cheese it makes in Italy's northern gastronomic heartland Emilia Romagna.
Banks report drop in demand for loans (CNBC)
Demand for commercial and industrial loans has plunged in 2016, with declines happening across business sizes. Large- and medium-sized businesses had an 11.1 percent decline, while demand from small businesses fell 12.7 percent.
Early Release for Insider Trading Convict (Dealbook)
The release of Doug Whitman, granted after a hearing in a federal appeals court on Tuesday, comes as the United States Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in another insider trading case. In 2012, Mr. Whitman, who ran Whitman Capital in Menlo Park, Calif., was found guilty of making $1 million in illegal profits from trading shares of stocks like Google and Polycom. He was sentenced in late 2013, and has yet to succeed in overturning his conviction. He had four months left on his sentence.
Super Bowl Ads Have Gone Soft (Bloomberg)
Commercials with sexual overtones have declined from 20 percent of the spots to 6 percent in the past two years: The big game is now “a family-oriented event,” and viewers no longer tolerate objectifying women, says Peter Daboll, chief executive officer of analytics firm Ace Metrix. And since 2010, the percentage of ads deemed “humorous” has dropped, from 71 percent to 49 percent, while the share of those considered “inspirational” has risen, from 2 percent to 22 percent.
Horse Owner Complains Man Took Prize-Winning Equine Selfie Without 'Consent' (HP)
David Bellis and his son, Jacob, were awarded first prize in U.K.-based travel company Thomson Holidays’ “Made Me Smile” selfie competition for a photo taken with a mare named Betty near their home in north Wales, according to The Guardian. The prize was a vacation worth £2,000 (about $2,884). But when Betty’s owner, Nicola Mitchell, learned that Bellis won, she complained that the man should have asked for her permission for the snapshot. “I was really annoyed to hear he had won a £2,000 holiday and had used a picture of our horse without our permission,” she told The Guardian. “He should have asked for our consent. There should be some token gesture as it is our horse that has really won them the holiday.” Plus, she said, if she had known about the competition, she could have taken her own photo of Betty and won.