Opening Bell 7.23.18

Fiat shakes up the C-suite; Cooperman moves the office; Justice system redundancy and more!
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Sudden CEO Shift Jolts Fiat Chrysler [WSJ]

“It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that our CEO Sergio Marchionne, who recently underwent surgery, unfortunately, experienced complications that have worsened in recent hours and will prevent his return to FCA,” Fiat Chairman John Elkann told employees in a letter Saturday.

Fiat Chrysler hadn’t specified the nature of Mr. Marchionne’s illness but said earlier this month that he had an operation on his right shoulder.

Company officials have said privately that he has been absent from his day-to-day role at the company for weeks. It wasn’t clear how serious the surgery was and when Mr. Marchionne’s condition began to grow worse. “We were very careful to be transparent,” a company spokesman said.

Shares in Fiat fell 2.7% in early trading on Monday.

Leon Cooperman's Omega Hedge Fund Converts to Family Office [Bloomberg]

Hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman told investors that he plans to convert his Omega Advisors into a family office at year-end.

"This decision is a very personal one driven not by any health concerns, but solely by how I want to spend my remaining years," Cooperman, 75, said Monday in a letter to clients.

The firm, which oversees $3.8 billion, will redeem all outside capital at the end of the year. A little more than half is internal capital, Cooperman said in an interview Monday. Omega’s main fund is up 7 percent this year and "I hope to improve upon that in the second half,” he said.

Papa John's adopts rights plan to limit founder's stake [Reuters]

(Reuters) - Papa John’s International Inc (PZZA.O) on Sunday adopted a shareholder rights plan, or a “poison pill”, with a 15 percent trigger to deter existing stockholders from amassing a controlling stake in the company.

The company also declared a dividend of one right for each outstanding common share. The rights plan expires on July 22, 2019 and the record date for dividend distribution is Aug. 2, the company said in a statement.

The pizza chain’s former chief executive and founder, John Schnatter and his affiliates and associates who currently beneficially own common shares in excess of 30 percent have been grandfathered under the Rights Plan, the company said.

Tesla Asks Suppliers for Cash Back to Help Turn a Profit [WSJ]

Tesla Inc. TSLA -2.08% has asked some suppliers to refund a portion of what the electric-car company has spent previously, an appeal that reflects the auto maker’s urgency to sustain operations during a critical production period.

The Silicon Valley electric-car company said it is asking its suppliers for cash back to help it become profitable, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal that was sent to a supplier last week. Tesla requested the supplier return what it calls a meaningful amount of money of its payments since 2016, according to the memo.

The auto maker’s memo, sent by a global supply manager, described the request as essential to Tesla’s continued operation and characterized it as an investment in the car company to continue the long-term growth between both players.

Recommends Electronic Monitoring For Woman Accused Of Escaping Electronic Monitoring [CWB Chicago]

Back on the Fourth of July, 28-year-old Regina Whitaker was arrested and charged with selling crack cocaine to an undercover cop on the West Side. Judge Stephanie Miller released Whitaker on a recognizance bond, electronic monitoring, and a curfew of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Then, around 9:30 p.m. on July 13, police stopped a vehicle on the West Side for having an apparently altered temporary license plate. Officers approached the car. Regina Whitaker was in the driver’s seat with her home monitoring device (the part that is supposed to be, you know, at home) sitting on the passenger seat, plugged into the car outlet, according to a police department spokesperson.

She was arrested and subsequently charged with escape and having a false, stolen, or altered temporary permit.

When Whitaker appeared before Judge Mary Marubio on the escape charged last Saturday, the court’s Pretrial Services Division was prepared with a recommended bail: electronic monitoring. Again.

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