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The world's biggest brewer has a debt pile to match: around 100 billion dollars of it. But AB InBev's plans to pay down some of that by selling its Australia operations to Asahi may be in jeopardy. Australian regulators say a new combined entity would control two thirds of the local cider market. And could also raise competition concerns in the beer market there. AB's debt mountain stems largely from buying out rival SABMiller in 2016. The Belgian giant has been selling assets and took its Asian business public this year to raise funds. And hoped to close the 11 billion dollar sale of its Carlton & United Breweries arm in Australia in the first quarter of 2020. The deal would turn Japan's Asahi into the world number 3 - behind AB and Heineken. Regulators though say they won't make a final decision until March - one analyst told Reuters the deal's unlikely to get passed. The news left shares in both parties down over a per cent in early trading on Thursday (December 12).
General Motors revealed even bigger SUVs on Tuesday (December 11) that it says will help pay for an electric future. The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is a longer version of the familiar design...adding over an inch to make it one of the longest passenger vehicles on the market. It shares boomerang-shaped lights with the new Tahoe, which was also unveiled. And - the digital electronics inside are all new. Like Tesla, GM hopes to use new 'over-the-air' wireless software updates to make money or fix problems at a low cost. The company hopes the new models will help fund the development of electric vehicles. Big SUVs are profitable with margins as high as 30 percent. GM controls more than two-thirds of the market for large SUVs in North America. And their Arlington, Texas factory is running 24 hours a day to keep up with demand. With fuel economy rules from President Obama's era, automakers are encouraged to make SUVs even bigger. Cars with a larger 'footprint' have easier CO2 targets to meet. President Donald Turmp says he wants to ease these standards, but he hasn't released a final plan. GM has sided with Trump in a dispute with California, a state that's sued to maintain the stronger Obama standards.
Dec.09 -- Robert McDowell, former FCC commissioner and a partner at Cooley, discusses what’s at stake for T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. as the companies head to court this week against a group of states seeking to block a $26.5 billion deal between the companies. He speaks on "Bloomberg Markets."
Spam calls have reached “epidemic” status -- with Americans receiving a staggering 5.6 billion robocalls in November alone.
(Bloomberg) -- PepsiCo Inc. plans to offer a new way to get a jolt of caffeine.In April, the snack and beverage giant will start selling Pepsi Cafe in the U.S. The drink blends the taste of coffee and cola, and nearly doubles the amount of caffeine in a regular Pepsi. It will come in two flavors, original and vanilla.Pepsi Cafe is the latest product the company plans to introduce as it responds to changing beverage preferences. The company, which sells a wide range of products including Gatorade and Diet Pepsi, has faced sales pressure as consumers cut down on sugary soda and competitors enter the market with new options.Rival Coca-Cola Co. is pushing deeper into the canned coffee market after its high-profile acquisition of the British cafe chain Costa for $5.1 billion. It offers Coca-Cola Plus Coffee in dozens of markets outside the U.S.Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing at Pepsi, said in a statement Thursday that the company has known the potential of blending cola and coffee for years. He said believes consumers are looking for drink products that provide energy and and an opportunity for indulgence.To contact the reporter on this story: Jordyn Holman in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sally Bakewell at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark Schoifet, Craig GiammonaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Smucker (SJM) grapples with sluggish sales due to sale of its U.S. baking unit, lower net price realization and adverse currency fluctuations.
(Bloomberg) -- Talk about biting the hand that feeds.Dan Ammann, the chief executive officer of a self-driving car startup majority owned by General Motors Co., on Wednesday called solo drivers of gasoline-powered cars “the fundamental problem” behind pollution, congestion and vehicle crashes. His complaint is ironic since as recently as January, Ammann was president of GM, which derives much of its profits from gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks, few of which are owned by commuters who regularly carpool.“Imagine if someone invented a new transportation system and said, ‘I’ve designed a new way of getting around: it’s powered by fossil fuels that will pollute our air. It will congest our cities to the point of inciting rage in its users. Its human operators will be fallible, killing 40,000 Americans — and more than a million people around the world — every year,’” Ammann wrote in a blog post. “You’d say, ‘You’re crazy.’”As head of Cruise LLC, Ammann, 47, is looking to promote the idea that electric, self-driving vehicles purpose built for ride-sharing are the best cure for modern-day urban transportation woes. His old boss, GM CEO Mary Barra, has echoed those comments, but also stressed the need to make money on the company’s current lineup to pay for that transformation to a more sustainable future.GM funds Cruise with $1 billion a year, which it can afford to do thanks to the fat profit margins earned from sales of vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, a revamped and much-larger version of which the company showed off on Tuesday. Notably, the 2021 model lacks an optional electric powertrain or self-driving technology, though GM does have electric SUVs in the works.Meanwhile, Cruise will miss its original goal to launch a self-driven ride-sharing service by the end of this year, something the venture now plans to introduce at an unspecified date.To contact the reporter on this story: David Welch in Southfield at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chester DawsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Colgate (CL) is grappling with weak margins and adverse impacts of foreign currency. Nevertheless, its innovation plans, savings program and expansion strategies bode well.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. are in court dueling with a group of state attorneys general over whether their merger will be harmful to consumers, even though it shouldn’t even be a debate. In what possible scenario would removing a low-cost rival from an already highly concentrated industry not have a negative effect on competition?The wireless carriers are contorting themselves into a pretzel trying to make the illogical argument that their merger will instead benefit customers — and somehow it’s working. Antitrust authorities appointed by President Donald Trump accepted this rationale with a straight face: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, led by Ajit Pai, and the antitrust division of the Department of Justice, led by Makan Delrahim, each gave its blessing to the deal in recent months on the condition that the two companies make some painless concessions. Now, in a last line of legal defense and an unusual turn for such transactions, the matter is being tried in a case brought by plaintiffs Letitia James of New York and 13 other attorneys general. They are arguing that the remedies don’t go far enough to address the antitrust violations. They don’t, and yet there’s no telling which way this trial will go. Competition between T-Mobile and Sprint during the last few years resulted in lower plan prices for wireless customers, even putting pressure on industry leaders Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. It’s how unlimited data offerings came about. Without Sprint in the mix, this healthy competitive spirit is diminished. No acrobatics of economic modeling can camouflage this fact, and still the facts are in dispute. How very 2019.Text messages from 2017 between Roger Sole, Sprint’s head of marketing, and its then-CEO Marcelo Claure (who is now executive chairman) were revealed on Monday, the first day of the trial. As the two companies were negotiating the deal, Sole wrote to Claure that the combined entity could generate $5 more from each subscriber per month, and that the consolidation would even provide a boon to AT&T and Verizon. Sole may have been just spit-balling, and the state attorneys have a stronger case than to put too much stock in some gotcha private texts. Still, the conversation strongly suggests that greater pricing power was absolutely a motivation for the transaction, and it’s naive of anyone to think otherwise. T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed not to raise prices for three years, which is the blink of an eye in the business world and further demonstrates that the company’s goal is to eventually do so. Three years also conveniently brings the company to the point at which there may be little room left for cost-cutting, and so it will need to look to other ways to boost growth and margins. That’s if there aren’t loopholes in the agreement that it can exploit sooner. As well-liked as the gregarious T-Mobile CEO John Legere is — and as admirable as his track record is in fostering industry innovation — his personal promise that the company won’t take advantage of newfound pricing power should carry little weight. He won’t even be there to see it through. There are other business benefits beyond the ability to raise prices. For one, Sprint is a financially challenged company with a tarnished brand that is struggling to compete against its larger rivals. Selling to T-Mobile, which is on far healthier footing, would be good news for frustrated shareholders, such as Masayoshi Son of SoftBank Group Corp., the Japanese conglomerate that controls Sprint. The companies would also get to combine their spectrum assets and join forces on building a nationwide 5G wireless network.The U.S. needs to be competitive in 5G, but waving the American flag and trying to put the fear of China into regulators isn’t a legitimate defense against antitrust enforcement. Plus, it’s hard to see how blocking the merger would set the nation back — both companies are investing in 5G regardless. As for the notion that T-Mobile is preserving competition by rescuing Sprint before it potentially goes belly-up, it just doesn’t hold water because other bidders are probably out there. While companies like Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. may be seen as the Big Bad Cable Guys, either one owning Sprint would still maintain a four-carrier market, whereas T-Mobile’s deal wouldn’t.One of the remedies sought by the DOJ was to allow satellite-TV provider Dish Network Corp. access to the T-Mobile network while Dish builds its own. But Dish is a long, long ways from ever replacing Sprint. The DOJ’s lax stance on this deal would also seem to contradict the concerns it recently raised about anti-competitive business practices in the tech world, where immense market power is wielded by so few players.In the book “The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition,” Jonathan Tepper and Denise Hearn make the case that the U.S. has an oligopoly problem — that is, industries have become too concentrated to the detriment of consumers and workers, in large thanks to anti-competitive mergers. My colleague John Authers, who runs the Bloomberg book club, and I will be discussing this with the authors in a live chat on Wednesday at 11 a.m. New York time. It’s a timely conversation as the T-Mobile-Sprint situation plays out. Terminal subscribers can join us at TLIV and send comments or questions to email@example.com.There’s more to come in the trials and tribulations of Sprint’s unending quest to merge with T-Mobile. But whatever headlines emerge from the courtroom, this fact won’t change: A merger means market power will be concentrated in fewer hands.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Target is Yahoo Finance's 2019 Company of the Year. Target COO John Mulligan explains some of the big changes he has made to Target's business this year.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- With the economy continuing to defy predictions of recession, the Federal Reserve has good reason to take a victory lap at this week’s policy meeting. The latest jobs report adds to the evidence that after a rocky end to last year, the central bank’s dovish pivot positioned the economy to achieve the fabled “soft landing.”Last December, the Fed hiked rates for the fourth time in 2018 despite very obvious turmoil in financial markets and growing signs of decelerating economic activity. If the rate hike itself was, charitably speaking, ill-advised, the accompanying forecasts announcing the expectation of further rate hikes in 2019 were completely out of touch with reality. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, however, quickly pivoted in response to the growing market gloom, saying just a few weeks after the December rate hike that the Fed “will be prepared to adjust policy quickly and flexibly and to use all of our tools to support the economy” as deemed necessary.By now, we know what followed. The Fed — under pressure from weak data, an inverted yield curve, and trade-policy uncertainty — shifted in an increasingly dovish direction throughout the year. The policy shift culminated with a third rate cut in October that sent benchmark rates 75 basis points lower than were they had been a year earlier and, amazingly, 125 basis points below what the Fed had envisioned at the end of last year.Powell has repeatedly said that the central bank’s timely shift toward easier policy helped the economy absorb this year’s negative shocks. Increasingly, it looks like he is right. The yield curve un-inverted, lower interest rates boosted housing, the consumer held strong, and, if you fancy the Markit PMI indicator, there are even signs that the beleaguered manufacturing sector is stabilizing. By all appearances, central bankers seem to have managed the trick of guiding the economy into a soft landing. If conditions hold, the current episode will look very similar to the Fed-directed soft landing in 1995The November employment report further supports the soft-landing hypothesis. Although the headline gain of 266,000 employees received a boost from 41,000 autoworkers returning from the strike at General Motors Co., this just mirrored a loss of autoworkers the previous month. The average job gain over the past three months is an undeniably healthy 205,000.That job growth, combined with wage growth greater than 3% over the past year, will provide continued support for consumer spending. Lost in the excitement over Friday’s employment report was the University of Michigan’s preliminary release of its monthly gauge of consumer sentiment, which climbed to a seven-month high in December. Buying conditions for household durables and vehicles were both higher. Reports of the demise of the American consumer still look premature.With the economy apparently on firmer footing, the Fed has the go-ahead to take a pause, following through with their October decision to hold rates steady absent a material change in the outlook. I don’t anticipate much if any change in the guidance.Policy makers aren’t inclined to cut rates again barring a fresh downturn in activity; clearly, an upswing will take a rate cut off the table entirely. As for the prospect of reversing the rate cuts, the Fed isn’t ready to go there, either. Not only do central bankers remain wary of potential downside risk, they also have yet to achieve sustained inflation at their 2% target rate. (Note, along with rising consumer sentiment, the University of Michigan report also revealed that long-term inflation expectations fell back to their historical low). Powell will likely emphasize this point in the post-meeting press conference.I guess, then, if we have to put a label on this meeting, it would be “dovish hold.” The Fed may be optimistic about the economy, but Powell and his colleagues don’t want to undermine their efforts this year with a premature pivot back to rate hikes. This will keep them standing pat. Having killed last year’s recession calls, the Fed can enjoy a well-deserved break.To contact the author of this story: Tim Duy at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Duy is a professor of practice and senior director of the Oregon Economic Forum at the University of Oregon and the author of Tim Duy's Fed Watch.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The solution, developed by the ecommerce giant and money transfer company Western Union, allows customers to place an order online and then pay in cash at a branch of Western Union. “Lawyers were at the table from start to finish,” says the financial services company’s chief legal officer, Caroline Tsai, about achieving the deal. There has long been a debate about whether general counsel and in-house lawyers generally are primarily business enablers or guardians.
Much of that insight comes from having direct experience of many deals, says Alan Klein, co-head of law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s M&A practice in New York. The threat that Cfius can derail a blockbuster deal — as seen by President Donald Trump’s decision to block Singapore-registered Broadcom’s $142bn hostile bid for the US chipmaker Qualcomm — has made the process a priority for dealmakers.
One thing to start: Japan’s SoftBank has agreed to consciously uncouple from Wag by selling its nearly 50 per cent stake back to the dog walking company. The SoftBank Vision Fund will lose money on the stake sale, after it previously pledged $300m to Wag in January last year, valuing the company at $650m. It has been a year that most US distressed hedge funds would love to forget.
(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every afternoon? Sign up here Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are focusing on charges that President Donald Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress as they prepare for articles of impeachment and a subsequent vote on whether to send the case to the Senate for trial. At a hearing Monday on Capitol Hill, lawyers for both parties presented very different interpretations of the facts laid out over weeks of public testimony. It’s down to the wire with Brexit: To keep up with the latest news about this week’s U.K. election, sign up for our daily newsletter, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast.Here are today’s top storiesThe September mayhem in the U.S. repo market suggested there’s a structural problem in this vital corner of finance. It seems that banks and hedge funds fueled it.Despite the growing possibility that he’ll be the third U.S. president to be impeached, things are looking good for Trump on this front, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The FBI was justified in opening a probe of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and its potential ties to then-Republican candidate Donald Trump, the Justice Department inspector general said.Hugh Grosvenor, the seventh Duke of Westminster, is the U.K.’s third-richest person. He’s tried to stay out of the spotlight since inheriting his title, but criticism of his Grosvenor Group is rising over its plan to demolish a London tower that houses some of the city’s poorest residents.Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn went so far as to call the 28-year-old billionaire a “dodgy landlord.” Meanwhile, Corbyn’s opponent in the Dec. 12 U.K. election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was put on the defensive over the National Health Service after a newspaper published a picture of a 4-year-old child being treated on the floor of a hospital emergency room.Russia was barred from the Olympics and other competitions for four years after anti-doping officials found a persistent effort on the part of Moscow to cheat by way of drug use—and cover it up.What’s Joe Weisenthal thinking about? The Bloomberg news director is pointing you to the latest episode of the Odd Lots podcast, in which we speak with Srinivas Thiruvadanthai of the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center about his new paper on the folly of inflation targeting. The gist is that over the last two decades, the Fed has focused aggressively on inflation stability, protecting creditors by fighting both recessions (cutting rates and preventing mass defaults) and inflation (hiking rates). The obsessive focus on stability may have had the effect of facilitating more lending, creating a massive buildup in private-sector debt. What you’ll need to know tomorrowMorgan Stanley is terminating 2% of its employees. Parental leave is moving ahead in the U.S., but very slowly. How a $1 billion grudge drove a GM lawsuit against Fiat. Another reason why China might want to seal a partial trade deal. Crypto exchange LedgerX just placed its co-founders on leave. Come look inside Citigroup’s revamped, swankier headquarters. Here’s why your next vacation should be in North Korea.What you’ll want to read in Bloomberg PursuitsFor two decades, Colorado businessman and philanthropist Richard Gooding pursued the finest scotch specimens. Gooding, who died in 2014 at 67, amassed 3,900 bottles, including some rarities that may sell for almost $2 million apiece. Soon they will become the largest private whisky collection ever to hit the auction block. In October, Sotheby’s auctioned off a 1926 Macallan Fine & Rare 60 Year Old for a record $1.9 million. The Gooding auction will feature two of them, one of which features a label created by the Italian pop art painter Valerio Adami. Only a dozen of those were made. To contact the author of this story: David Rovella in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. is officially returning to the Las Vegas CES technology conference for the first time in decades to discuss its stance on consumer privacy -- rather than pitch a new hardware product.The company’s senior director of privacy Jane Horvath will be speaking on a “Chief Privacy Officer Roundtable” on Jan. 7, according to the CES agenda.Horvath, along with executives from Facebook Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and a commissioner from the Federal Trade Commission, will discuss how companies build privacy at scale, regulation and consumer demands.Apple’s last major official appearance at CES was in 1992 when then Chief Executive Officer John Sculley gave a presentation at a Chicago version of the summit to introduce the failed Newton device.More recently, Apple’s technology has influenced CES despite the company not officially presenting. It made news last year for a privacy billboard during the Vegas event that exclaimed, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. also touted Apple launching video streaming directly on third-party TVs.Each year, accessory makers fill the CES exhibit halls with cases and other peripherals for Apple devices. Behind the scenes, Apple managers roam the halls to identify future technology and scan the competitive landscape, while members of Apple’s supply chain team meet with component makers to potentially source parts for future devices.While Apple has taken a backstage approach to the conference, rivals including Google, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. have used the event to promote their latest voice-based products, spur interest from potential partners and try to beat Apple to the punch ahead of major product announcements.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at email@example.com;Ed Ludlow in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Target is the Yahoo Finance 2019 Company of the Year. We chat with long-time value investor Bill Smead about why he is bullish on Target.
(Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. loaned the buyer of its half-century-old assembly plant in Ohio $40 million to help the cash-strapped startup roll out an electric pickup truck.The transaction to support Lordstown Motors Corp. and its debut model, called Endurance, is essentially a mortgage, Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, said by email. He declined to give the terms of the loan.The financing GM provided covers Lordstown Motors’s purchase of the former GM complex in Lordstown, Ohio, and some initial startup costs, the Business Journal reported Monday, citing legal documents filed late last week. The publication, based in nearby Youngstown, said the factory and adjoining land sold for $20 million earlier this month, citing records from the Trumbull County auditor.GM has the option to repurchase the plant in the next six months, as well as the option to lease 500,000 square feet of property and another 400,000 square feet of land, the Business Journal reported, citing a memorandum filed with the recorder’s office.End of EraGM announced Lordstown Motors had acquired the complex last month, seemingly ending an era that began when GM opened it in 1966. The United Auto Workers union was unable to convince GM to keep the factory in the fold when negotiating a new labor contact ratified in late October.Earlier this month, GM and its battery partner, South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd., said they will jointly invest $2.3 billion in a new electric-vehicle battery factory in Lordstown. The two companies plan to hire 1,100 workers, about the same number that were laid off when GM idled the Lordstown plant that used to assemble Chevrolet Cruze compact cars.The Lordstown assembly factory has been a political lightning rod since GM announced over a year ago that it wouldn’t allocate future product to it. U.S. President Donald Trump, who a year earlier went so far as to discourage rally-goers from selling their homes in the area because of all the jobs he would bring back, praised GM for selling the plant after months of criticizing the company and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra. Democrats have called the factory a symbol of unfulfilled promises Trump made to voters in a key battleground state.To contact the reporter on this story: David Welch in Southfield at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at email@example.com, Kevin Miller, Chester DawsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.