Opening Bell 12.13.18

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Under the influence [The Water Coolest]

If there’s one thing that takes Paul Singer from six to midnight it’s a family controlled business with a board that needs shaking up and margins to be had. Singer's Elliot Management, a $35B activist investment fund is licking its chops after a $1.05B investment in Pernod Ricard.

Pernod, the maker of Beefeater, Chivas and Absolut hasn’t taken advantage of its spirit focused portfolio in a favorable liquor market. Case in point: the company’s operating margins lag Diageo by 5%.

Via its 2.5% stake Elliot looks to suck profits from the company like the witches in 'Hocus Pocus' did virgin souls. And good news for the Ricard family who still owns 15% of the company: Singer has plenty of unsolicited “constructive feedback ...”

Singer plans to inject the board and management with “outside perspective,” hedgie talk for “you’ll wish your grandfather Picard was never born.” But Singer pinky promises that he won't dethrone CEO Alex Ricard, grandson of founder Paul Ricard, or force a sale.

Elliott Takes Big Stake in Pernod, Maker of Absolut, Chivas Regal [WSJ]

The financial institution formerly known as Deutsche Bank [The Water Coolest]

Deutsche Bank, respected Wall Street firm's favorite punching bag, is looking to merge with the country's second largest bank, Commerzebank AG. The German government, realizing that their largest bank is, for lack of a better word, totally f*cked, may even change tax laws to accommodate the merger.

Deutsche Bank shares surge on report Germany plans to fix bank's problems with merger [WSJ]

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