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Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Wells Fargo & Company
Coca-Cola FEMSA, S.A.B. de C.V.
National Grid plc
Energy Transfer LP
Digital Realty Trust, Inc.
Liberty Broadband Corporation
Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.
First Republic Bank
Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. CORP UNIT 2017
Arch Capital Group Ltd.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited
Zillow Group, Inc.
Annaly Capital Management, Inc.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC
Public Joint-Stock Company Mobile TeleSystems
Grupo Aval Acciones Y Valores S.A.
Kimco Realty Corporation
Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A.
LATAM Airlines Group S.A.
New York Community Bancorp, Inc.
(Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co. will pay $3 billion to settle U.S. investigations into more than a decade of widespread consumer abuses under a deal that lets the scandal-ridden bank avoid criminal charges.The deferred-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice spares the company a potential conviction that can create serious complications for banks, if it cooperates with continuing probes and abides by other conditions for three years. The accord also resolves a complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission.Investigators found Wells Fargo’s overly aggressive sales targets led thousands of employees to open millions of bogus accounts for customers and foist other products on them from 2002 to 2016, often by creating false records or misappropriating their identities, the Justice Department said Friday. That generated millions of dollars in fees and interest and in some cases damaged customers’ credit ratings.“Our settlement with Wells Fargo, and the $3 billion criminal monetary penalty imposed on the bank, go far beyond ‘the cost of doing business,’” U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina said in a statement. “They are appropriate given the staggering size, scope and duration of Wells Fargo’s illicit conduct.”The settlement is the bank’s largest yet from a series of scandals that claimed two chief executive officers. But for shareholders it’s in line with the more-than $3 billion the bank set aside for legal matters in the latter half of 2019 as negotiations progressed. It marks another step in efforts by CEO Charlie Scharf, who took over in October, to turn around the San Francisco-based lender as he conducts a review of all operations. The shares climbed about 1% in extended trading after the accord was announced.“The conduct at the core of today’s settlements -- and the past culture that gave rise to it -- are reprehensible and wholly inconsistent with the values on which Wells Fargo was built,” Scharf said in a statement Friday, outlining steps the bank has taken to reform over the past three years.Still, it’s hardly the end of the legal woes. The firm remains under a growth cap imposed by the Federal Reserve. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced civil charges last month against eight former senior executives, some of whom settled. Probes into allegations at other businesses are continuing.And on Friday, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters announced she plans to have Scharf and Wells Fargo Chair Elizabeth Duke testify during a trio of hearings on the bank next month. Waters called the latest penalty disappointing, saying it “barely dents” the company’s profits from the period and is dwarfed by tax breaks the firm has since received under President Donald Trump’s administration.“Despite today’s settlement, these hearings and the committee’s investigation will make clear that the problems at Wells Fargo remain unresolved,” the California Democrat said.Scandals in Wells Fargo’s consumer operations erupted in 2016 with the revelation that employees may have opened millions of fake accounts to meet sales goals. The company’s expenses surged as new details emerged and as additional lapses and wrongdoing surfaced across business lines including mortgages and auto lending.The company’s stock has suffered ever since, closing on Friday just below the level it was at when the problems emerged more than three years ago.While the sales abuses have been described repeatedly in earlier probes, Friday’s settlement provides yet more details on the high-pressure environment that led legions of low-level employees to break the law -- often costing them their jobs when they were caught by the firm’s internal controls. Many inside the bank referred to abusive sales practices as “gaming,” according to prosecutors.That often included misappropriating customers’ identities to open checking and savings accounts, issue debit or credit cards, or enroll people in bill-pay or remittance services, prosecutors said. Employees sometimes forged client signatures, created PIN numbers to activate cards and moved money to simulate account funding. Some staff even altered contact information to prevent customers of learning about their unauthorized accounts or receiving satisfaction surveys.Senior managers were aware of the issues as early as 2002, with one internal investigator describing it as a “growing plague” two years later, and another remarking that it was “spiraling out of control,” investigators found. Yet senior leaders in the community banking division refused to alter their sales model or ratchet down unrealistic targets. They later minimized the problems to higher-ups and the board, blaming them on rogue employees, prosecutors said.The deal includes a $500 million payment to the SEC, which granted the bank a waiver to continue private placements of securities to accredited investors such as hedge funds. The settlement doesn’t resolve any criminal or civil liability for individuals, according to a senior Justice Department official.“This resolution is with respect to the bank only,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna told journalists in Los Angeles. “The investigation is ongoing.”The Justice Department said it considered Wells Fargo’s cooperation and prior settlements when deferring prosecution. The bank previously paid more than $1 billion to federal regulators for consumer mistreatment, $575 million to 50 states and the District of Columbia and $480 million for an investor class-action lawsuit.(Updates to add that CEO and chair will testify at congressional hearing in ninth paragraph)\--With assistance from Edvard Pettersson, Steve Dickson and Josh Friedman.To contact the reporters on this story: Hannah Levitt in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Tom Schoenberg in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Jeffrey D Grocott at email@example.com, David Scheer, Joe SchneiderFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- On the eve of Warren Buffett’s annual letter, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s railroad gave investors a sneak preview of what’s to come, noting in a regulatory filing that the unit’s profit increased 5% last year.BNSF’s net income of $5.48 billion was helped by a 3.8% decline in operating expenses, which countered a slump in revenue, according to the filing on Friday. Usually, BNSF doesn’t submit its filing until two days after Berkshire publishes its annual shareholder letter on a Saturday.Buffett’s annual letter is often scoured by investors looking for updates on the billionaire’s strategy and on the many components of his sprawling conglomerate. While the railroad accounted for a sizable portion of Berkshire’s results in 2018, profit at Buffett’s company is also affected by his network of insurance companies, energy businesses and an array of manufacturers and retailers.Railroads in the U.S. have been stung over the past year by an industrial slowdown in the country. Buffett’s railroad reported that revenues from shipping coal, consumer and agricultural products dropped last year, even as income from industrial products gained. Rival Union Pacific Corp., which faced a drop in carloads last year, said in January that it expects freight volumes to turn “slightly positive” this year.To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at email@example.com, David ScheerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- HP Inc., fighting off a hostile acquisition bid by Xerox Holdings Corp., adopted a shareholder rights plan that would make the takeover more difficult to carry out.If a person or group acquires 20% or more of HP’s stock, the plan would let other shareholders boost their voting power and dividends, HP said in a statement.The plan “guards against coercive tactics to gain control without paying all shareholders an appropriate premium for that control,” the company said. The program wouldn’t block a merger or takeover, but would “encourage Xerox (or anyone else seeking to acquire the company) to negotiate with the board,” according to Thursday’s statement by the Palo Alto, California-based computer maker.Xerox has said it will launch a tender offer “on or around March 2” for HP shares valued at $24 in cash and stock. For each HP share, a holder would get $18.40 in cash and 0.149 Xerox shares. The offer won’t be subject to any conditions related to financing or due diligence, Xerox said.“The HP board clearly adopted a poison pill because our offer is receiving overwhelming support from their shareholders,” Xerox said Friday in a statement. “Despite the HP board’s intention to deny shareholders the chance to choose for themselves, we will press ahead with our previously announced tender offer and electing our slate of highly qualified director candidates.”Norwalk, Connecticut-based Xerox already had started a proxy fight, last week nominating 11 candidates for HP’s board to help close the deal.Activist investor Carl Icahn, who is Xerox’s largest shareholder, is pushing for the combination, which Xerox contends would unlock about $2 billion in synergies and revive both hardware giants in an era of software ascendancy.While Icahn owns almost 11% of Xerox, he is also HP’s fifth-largest investor, with a 4.3% stake. Xerox’s Chief Executive Officer John Visentin should run the combined company, Icahn has said.HP has promised a full response to Xerox’s offer on Feb. 24 when it reports earnings and exits a quiet period.“As we have previously said, we are very concerned about Xerox’s aggressive and rushed tactics, and any process that is not based on full information is a threat to our shareholders,” Chip Bergh, HP’s chairman, said in the statement.The shareholder rights plan “works by imposing a significant penalty upon any person or group that acquires 20% or more of the outstanding shares of HP common stock without the approval of the Board,” HP said in a filing.Xerox, the smaller of the two companies with a market value of $7.84 billion, fell 1.4% to $36.28 at 12:51 p.m. Friday in New York trading. HP was little changed at $22.61, valuing the company at about $33 billion.(Updates with Xerox statement in fifth paragraph)\--With assistance from Scott Deveau and Matthew Monks.To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Andrew Pollack, Michael HythaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The Australian dollar had a rough week, breaking down below the recent lows, reaching towards the 0.66 handle. However, the market looks as if it is trying to finish the week with a little bit of a bounce, which should only offer more opportunities.
The Australian dollar has rallied after initially falling during the day on Friday, as traders are starting to do a bit of short cover trading going into the weekend.
Efficient fleet management is likely to get reflected in Hertz Global's (HTZ) fourth-quarter performance. However, high expenses might have dented the bottom line.
The global reliance on China for APIs and drug manufacturing might hit supply chains and production amid the Coronavirus outbreak. Thus, companies independent of China's input are up for grabs now.
Xerox (XRX) seems to be a good value pick, as it has decent revenue metrics to back up its earnings, and is seeing solid earnings estimate revisions as well.
Though the settlement of fake account litigation will help Wells Fargo (WFC) overcome a major hurdle, several other ongoing probes will continue to weigh on its financials.
(Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett tends to rejoice when he sees a company buying back underpriced shares. At his own Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which underperformed the stock market last year by the widest margin in a decade, an increase in repurchases might not be cause for celebration.Buffett has found little success deploying Berkshire’s growing pile of cash. Its last big takeover, a $37.2 billion deal for Precision Castparts Corp., was more than three years ago. This year, the conglomerate was outbid for a tech company. Berkshire’s struggle to find well-priced takeovers led it to open another path for putting money to work: The company loosened its buyback policy almost two years ago, but has repurchased only $4.1 billion of its shares since then.“We’re gradually getting more pessimistic about using our money,” Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger said in an interview last week. “It’s been a long time since we bought anything.”Buybacks haven’t made much of a dent in Berkshire’s record $128 billion mountain of money either, weighing on its stock price because, as Buffett himself says, the funds earn “only a pittance.” Berkshire investors will be scouring Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders, set for release Saturday, for clues about his strategy after a year of missed deals and shares that rose at a slower pace than the S&P 500 Index -- their worst underperformance since 2009.“They just aren’t buying back a lot of stock, they aren’t putting a lot of money to work in public securities, they’re not buying portfolio companies outright,” Jim Shanahan, an analyst at Edward Jones, said in an interview. “The cash balance continues to grow.”No ElephantsWhile 2019 wasn’t the year for an “elephant-sized acquisition,” Buffett was hunting. Berkshire reportedly passed on Tiffany & Co. but did make an offer for Tech Data Corp., ultimately losing out to private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc.The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate also spent the last few months of the year plowing money into stocks new to its portfolio, taking stakes in Kroger Co. and Biogen Inc. Even that did little to chip away at Berkshire’s cash hoard, and it was still a net seller of stocks in the fourth quarter.Buffett’s letter will be released alongside Berkshire’s annual report, which will include quarterly results for his sprawling company. Operating earnings probably rose in the last three months of 2019 from a year earlier, according to Meyer Shields, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. Berkshire’s net-income figure now factors in swings in the $220 billion stock portfolio, volatility that Buffett has cautioned investors to ignore.As for acquisitions, Buffett for years has stressed patience, with prices for good businesses becoming “sky-high.” Last year, the S&P 500 Index notched its biggest gain since 2013. Waiting for markets to turn might be the wisest course for Buffett, according to Shields.‘Do Nothing’“The right thing to do is to do nothing if the potential acquisitions are overpriced,” Shields said in an interview.As to whether the challenging environment for acquisitions could mean more Berkshire share buybacks in the future, Munger provided no guidance in last week’s interview, following the annual meeting of his Daily Journal Corp. in Los Angeles.“Who can tell?” he said.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says“Fireworks on the corporate front in conjunction with Berkshire’s announcement of 4Q earnings are unlikely, in our view. Berkshire didn’t make any major acquisitions in the past three months, and share repurchases were probably modest in the quarter.”\--Matthew Palazola, senior analystWhile the Oracle of Omaha may address the frustrations of dealmaking and investing in 2019, Buffett often uses the letter as a platform to delve into a wider range of issues too, including the economy, politics and investment fees.Here are some other topics that might come up in the letter:Kraft HeinzOver the past year, a massive writedown, management changes and a regulatory probe at the packaged-food giant caused turmoil for Berkshire, its biggest shareholder. More recently, Kraft Heinz was downgraded to junk by some credit-rating companies, which has weighed on its stock.Following a delay related to the problems at Kraft Heinz, Berkshire’s portion of its earnings are once again included in the conglomerate’s results. Buffett’s company carried its Kraft Heinz stake at a value of $13.8 billion on its balance sheet at the end of September, almost $4.7 billion more than the market price at the time. The conglomerate said it’ll continue to monitor the investment for impairment, but didn’t think it was required then.“I have thought they have needed to write down the value of the asset for several quarters now,” Cathy Seifert, an analyst at CFRA Research, said in an interview. “I am surprised and dismayed that the carrying value has not been reconciled to reality.”GeicoBuffett’s company famously keeps a relatively tight corporate staff, with just 26 employees in the office, so any reshuffling of duties tends to attract investor attention. Late last year, Berkshire named Todd Combs, who helps Buffett oversee investments, to run auto insurer Geico, in addition to his role managing at least $14 billion in stocks. While Buffett’s deputy worked at Progressive Corp. years ago, most of his career has been spent managing investments.“That was a really surprising appointment,” said Shanahan of Edward Jones. “He just doesn’t have that kind of experience -- not only running a large organization, but running an insurance company.”Combs knows a lot about auto insurance so the appointment made sense, according to Munger. The auto insurer will increasingly need to figure out how to navigate changing technology, such as artificial intelligence for underwriting, Munger said.Geico has also been facing pressure from rivals including Progressive, which sparked a question from a shareholder at last year’s annual meeting about how Geico stacked up to its competitor. Ajit Jain, vice chairman of insurance operations at Berkshire, said Geico has “significant” advantages in terms of controlling expenses, but that Progressive is better at managing losses.“Geico is very aware of this disadvantage on the loss ratio that they are suffering, and they’re very focused on trying to bridge that gap as quickly as they can,” Jain said at the time.Geico ended up tweaking its strategy last year, building out capabilities long championed by Progressive and Allstate Corp. Geico introduced a telematics offering, which connects cars and phone apps to track drivers’ habits.SuccessionBuffett’s letter always spurs questions about succession for the 89-year-old CEO and his 96-year-old business partner Munger. In 2018, Berkshire appointed two key lieutenants, Jain and Greg Abel, to its board, promotions that Buffett said at the time were movements toward succession.Buffett hasn’t publicly named his successor, a fact that ramps up speculation around any public announcements. Many investors have been focusing on Abel, whose mandate includes overseeing all of Berkshire’s non-insurance businesses. Those responsibilities put him in charge of companies from the sprawling energy empire he led for years to retailers Dairy Queen and See’s Candies and apparel brands Fruit of the Loom and Brooks Sports.PoliticsBuffett has been carefully navigating the increasingly bifurcated U.S. political climate in recent years. While he campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016, he has yet to endorse a candidate in this year’s presidential race, though he has expressed support for Michael Bloomberg, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination. (Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)Buffett’s 2019 letter contained a carefully worded section on how U.S. prosperity has been achieved in a bipartisan manner. He might take a similar approach this year.“He may say something thinly veiled within the context of the American system and preserving the American system of capitalism,” CFRA’s Seifert said. “He runs a very large, globally interconnected company. It’s probably not a bad idea for him to be measured in what he says.”To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at email@example.com, Daniel Taub, Dan ReichlFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $3bn in criminal and civil penalties for fraudulently opening millions of customer accounts in a scandal that federal authorities said reflected a “complete failure of leadership” at the US bank. The $3bn settlement with the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission is a significant step forward for the bank, which is under new management.
Private sector PMI numbers put the majors in focus later today. Expect plenty of volatility as risk appetite takes another hit.
British Steel’s Chinese bidder has written to the French government in an effort to save its stalling takeover of the collapsed UK manufacturer. With the clock ticking down on a deadline for the deal to be completed, Chinese conglomerate Jingye has sent a letter to the French finance ministry to persuade Paris of the plan’s merits, said people with knowledge of the matter. Under the agreement, Jingye would take control of the group’s plants in Britain, France and the Netherlands.
(Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co. is poised to pay roughly $3 billion to settle federal investigations into a range of consumer abuses that were rampant at the bank for years, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.The Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission may announce penalties as early as Friday, the person said, asking not to be identified because talks are confidential. The company isn’t expected to plead guilty to a crime, the person said.Spokespeople for the company and Justice Department declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the SEC didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.The long-anticipated settlement would mark the largest yet from a series of scandals that claimed two chief executive officers and fueled billions of dollars in operating losses tied to legal costs. The San Francisco-based bank already set aside more than $3 billion for legal matters in the latter half of 2019. The New York Times reported earlier Thursday that a settlement may be imminent.The accords are another step in efforts by CEO Charlie Scharf, who took over in October, to turn around the lender as he conducts a review of all operations. Still, the firm remains under a growth cap imposed by the Federal Reserve. And last month the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced civil charges against eight former senior executives, some of whom settled.The scandals erupted in 2016, when the bank conceded that employees may have opened millions of fake accounts to meet sales goals. The company’s expenses surged as additional lapses and wrongdoing surfaced across business lines including mortgages and auto lending.They’ve long taken a toll on Wells Fargo’s reputation and stock. The shares are down 12% this year, putting the price below where it was when regulators first described the abuses more than three years ago.Among other settlements, Wells Fargo has already paid more than $1 billion to federal regulators for consumer mistreatment, $575 million to 50 states and the District of Columbia and $480 million for an investor class-action lawsuit.(Updates with stock performance in penultimate paragraph)\--With assistance from Tom Schoenberg.To contact the reporter on this story: Hannah Levitt in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at email@example.com, Dan Reichl, David ScheerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Xerox Holdings Corp.’s largest shareholder made a suggestion as the printer maker was preparing to go public with its takeover offer for HP Inc. in November: buy us instead.Activist investor Carl Icahn raised the idea of HP acquiring Xerox for $45 a share in a phone call with HP Chief Executive Officer Enrique Lores in November, according to people familiar with the matter. HP executives viewed the proposal as over-valuing Xerox and decided not to pursue it, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.Icahn, who owns about 11% of Xerox and 4.3% of HP, continues to push publicly for a tie-up.Icahn on Thursday said he recalled the conversation with Lores in November but didn’t want sell his Xerox stake.“I certainly did not offer my stock in Xerox in that discussion or, for that matter, in any discussion,” he said in an interview. “Frankly, I am getting tired of anonymous statements that keep popping up alleging that my stock in Xerox is for sale, which couldn’t be further from the truth, because I believe so strongly in the synergies that exist in a combination between Xerox and HP and I certainly want to own a piece of those synergies.”Icahn said, as a large shareholder in both companies, he was fully supportive of Xerox’s offer for HP and Xerox’s Chief Executive Officer John Visentin, who he said should run the combined company.Peace, War“I do believe peace is better than war and therefore I would support a consensual deal if the boards presented an acceptable one to shareholders,” he said. “The make-up of the board or who is chairman is not nearly as important as who the management team of the company is. In this case, to garner the great synergies that exist, it is of paramount importance that John Visentin and his team are the surviving management of the combined company.”He said he wouldn’t support a consensual deal if that was not the case.Representatives Xerox and HP didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Rights PlanHP on Thursday adopted a shareholder rights plan that would make Xerox’s takeover more difficult to carry out.The move came ahead of a crucial week for the takeover tussle, when HP is preparing to outline a plan for self-improvement in response to Xerox’s $34 billion takeover campaign.HP is preparing to announce that it will take on new debt to release billions of dollars to shareholders by acquiring its own shares and paying out special dividends, the people said. The exact size and timing of the buybacks and dividends aren’t clear.The move follows criticism from HP that Xerox’s proposal depends on it leveraging the larger company’s balance sheet to fund a takeover. Xerox’s $24 a share offer would be funded largely by new debt.With borrowings of $5.1 billion, HP had a total debt-to-earnings ratio of 1.1 times for the 12 months ending Oct. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Cost-Saving PushHP’s plans will also include a detailed cost-saving push, the people said.The measures are aimed at addressing shareholders ahead of a vote later this year where Xerox is trying to replace the board. One of the people said that the decision to return capital to shareholders was the result of conversations with some of HP’s largest investors who had expressed a desire for the company to use its balance sheet more aggressively.HP intends to disclose the details of its plan on Feb. 24 when it reports earnings, the people said. The company had said it planned to respond to Xerox’s planned tender offer on that date.HP rose about 1% to close at $22.64 on Thursday, giving the company a market value of about $32.9 billion. Xerox was little changed at $36.78, giving it a market value of about $8 billion.\--With assistance from Nico Grant and Michael Hytha.To contact the reporters on this story: Ed Hammond in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Scott Deveau in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Fournier at firstname.lastname@example.org, Matthew Monks, Liana BakerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Energy Transfer LP claims Williams Cos.’s chief executive officer covertly undermined one of the pipeline industry’s biggest-ever takeovers and then sought to cover his tracks as the $33 billion deal imploded.Williams CEO Alan Armstrong used a personal email account and private meetings to help a former employee mount a legal challenge to a merger publicly supported by Williams’ board, Energy Transfer said in a Delaware Court of Chancery filing. Armstrong’s efforts amounted to “overt steps to scuttle the merger,” according to the filing.A Williams representative called the allegations “unfounded” and said they represent an attempt by Energy Transfer “to avoid the consequences of its own conduct.” Williams believes it’s “entitled to judgment in its favor,” according to an emailed statement.Energy Transfer and Williams have been sparring over a $1.5 billion breakup fee since June 2016, when a combination that would have created the nation’s largest natural gas transporter fell through in one of the industry’s most notorious failures. Williams argued Energy Transfer was unfairly trying to exact the breakup fee after abandoning the deal.This latest argument by Energy Transfer seeks to convince a Delaware judge that Williams was in breach of the merger agreement, and that that absolves Energy Transfer from having to pay anything.Crippled DealJohn Bumgarner, the former Williams senior vice president and a shareholder at the time of the proposed merger, said Armstrong had nothing to do with the class-action lawsuit he filed in January 2016.“I filed that lawsuit all by myself,” Bumgarner said by telephone on Thursday from Tulsa, Oklahoma.Williams argued that Energy Transfer, a creation of billionaire Kelcy Warren, invoked a tax flaw as a cover for having buyer’s remorse as oil plunged. But the court sided with Energy Transfer, saying that while its finding of a tax flaw raised questions, it did in fact cripple the deal.Now, Energy Transfer is arguing that Armstrong had been working behind the scenes with Bumgarner to inform his lawsuit and conduct a “PR campaign” against the merger. Energy Transfer said those communications showed that Williams was the one that wanted out of the deal.Beginning in December 2015, Armstrong and Bumgarner exchanged “numerous emails,” the filing said, “often using Armstrong’s personal Gmail account or a Cox Communications account that he shared with his wife.” Those communications weren’t disclosed in subsequent legal proceedings and Armstrong later deleted the Gmail account, Energy Transfer alleged.Non-Public InfoEnergy Transfer said the emails centered around non-public details of the merger that later appeared in Bumgarner’s lawsuit seeking to cancel the deal. In the interview, Bumgarner said Armstrong was only trying to get him to leave Williams out of the lawsuit, arguing that the language Bumgarner was contesting was written by Energy Transfer and not Williams.When the merger was officially terminated, Armstrong and Bumgarner met for happy hour, according to the filing. “Bumgarner followed up with an email to Armstrong two days later, referring to their ‘team’ efforts during the past 6 months,” Energy Transfer said.“I don’t know what we were talking about,” Bumgarner said during the interview. “We worked together at the same company for a long time. I see him socially at the country club. I see him at United Way events. Tulsa is not a very big town.”\--With assistance from Jef Feeley.To contact the reporter on this story: Rachel Adams-Heard in Houston at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org, Joe Carroll, Steven FrankFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The Australian dollar continues to fall apart, showing signs of weakness going forward. The market as well below the 0.67 handle, so therefore it makes sense that we continue towards the bottom of the overall consolidation area.