Frontrunning: March 29

  • British PM May fires starting gun on Brexit (Reuters); Britain Starts ‘Historic’ Brexit Process (BBG)
  • Firms stack up Brexit warnings as May triggers divorce talks (Reuters)
  • Huge range of sterling forecasts clouds horizon for Brexit talks (Reuters)
  • Merger of Deutsche Börse and LSE Blocked by EU Regulator (WSJ)
  • After crippling cost overruns, Toshiba’s Westinghouse files for bankruptcy (Reuters)
  • Manafort Received Loans From Former Trump Adviser (WSJ)
  • The Great Nevada Lithium Rush to Fuel the New Economy (BBG)
  • More States Weigh Expanding Medicaid After Health Bill’s Demise (WSJ)
  • Germany to block right-winger from ceremonial post in parliament (Reuters)
  • FDA Approves Drug for Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (WSJ)
  • Behind Trump Rally Resilience Is Unusually Firm Profit Outlook (BBG)
  • Stores Serving Immigrants Feel Pinched by Trump Moves (WSJ)
  • Police union warns Trump ‘sanctuary city’ cuts could risk safety (Reuters)
  • German engineering association sees potential upswing in U.S. (Reuters)
  • Malaysia inspects North Korean coal ship for possible U.N. sanctions breach (Reuters)
  • Amazon and Facebook Hit Unexpected Obstacle in India: China (WSJ)
  • Islamic State shelling stops work on damaged Syrian dam (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


– UK government dropped plans to privatise Channel 4 but is increasing pressure to move its operations in part or full from London. In the coming weeks, a government consultation will be published which will examine whether Channel 4 should relocate some or all of its staff.

– Britain’s second high-speed rail link, HS2, is being pressured by engineering firm Mace to remove contractor CH2M, which won a 170 million pound contract last month to design the second phase of the 56 billion pound HS2. Mace, threatening legal action, said that HS2’s new chief executive, Mark Thurston, was a former CH2M employee — as was his predecessor, Roy Hill, who filled the role on a temporary basis.

– In a survey by activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors, 25 percent of Akzo Nobel’s shareholders want Akzo to engage with U.S. rival PPG in its 22.4 billion euro pursuit of the company. Akzo’s board dismissed two offers in three weeks, citing factors such as potential job cuts, antitrust concerns and a poor cultural fit between the two businesses.

– British Prime Minister Theresa May signed the historic letter signalling Britain’s exit from the EU on Tuesday evening. The official Article 50 exit process will begin on Wednesday when British ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow, would present the letter of withdrawal to European Council President Donald Tusk.



– Reversing clean power rules may lead to more drilling and pipelines, but economics and state initiatives still favor natural gas and renewable energy.

– South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is considering offering refurbished models of its canceled smartphone, a move that has raised eyebrows in the technology world.

– Didi Chuxing, a company in China that last year bested Uber in that huge ride-sharing market, is in negotiations to get SoftBank of Japan to take part in a multibillion-dollar investment round, according to people familiar with the talks.

– Tencent Holdings Ltd, one of China’s internet giants, has acquired a 5 percent stake in Elon Musk’s electric-car maker Tesla Inc, according to a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

– BlackRock Inc is merging many actively managed mutual funds with peers that rely more on algorithms and models to pick stocks.

– The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved on Tuesday the first drug to treat a severe form of multiple sclerosis, offering hope to patients who previously had no other options to combat a relentless disease that leads to paralysis and cognitive decline.




** U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order Tuesday aimed at boosting coal-fired electricity and unraveling key elements of his predecessor’s climate-change policies – a move that will increase political pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s own climate agenda.

** The Ontario government is taking steps to boost consumer confidence in the industry for newly-built homes in the province. A new standalone regulator will provide better oversight of home builders, Minister of Government and Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles said.

** Canada is bracing for an intense global technology race as Ottawa, the provinces and corporations pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the burgeoning artificial intelligence sector in a bid to keep the country competitive as it faces technological changes in the year ahead.


** Two Canadian gold giants, Barrick Gold Corp and Goldcorp Inc, will form a partnership in Chile’s gold belt in a multi-faceted deal that will see Goldcorp commit nearly $1 billion as miners look for creative solutions to find and fund new sources of growth.

** The Federal Court of Canada has ruled that cabinet ministers are not entitled to wait “as many years as they see fit” before responding to valid requests from the public.

** Boston Pizza is banking on a tech-forward urban restaurant concept as casual dining chains across the country are struggling to hold on to customer traffic.



The Times

* Tesco Plc Chief Executive Dave Lewis has declared the crisis at the supermarket chain over and said it is “moving on” after agreeing to pay about 235 million pounds ($292.6 million) to settle a false accounting investigation.

* Square Inc, the payments company led by Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said on Tuesday it had officially launched in UK after a pilot project.

The Guardian

* Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has won a key Holyrood vote on her plans for a second independence referendum, triggering accusations from UK ministers that her demands are premature.

* The European parliament will veto any Brexit deal that prevents European Union citizens who move to the UK during the next two years from having the same rights to live and work in Britain as those already in the country.

The Telegraph

* Virgin Media has launched an internal investigation and suspended staff over concerns they may have exaggerated the progress of its 3 billion pound Project Lightning network expansion project.

Sky News

* British Prime Minister Theresa May will issue an appeal to the country to “come together” as she formally launches the process for the UK to leave the European Union.

* Leading business groups in UK and Europe will plead this week for a smooth Brexit based on a commitment to free trade amid renewed warnings about the consequences of failing to secure a deal.

The Independent

* As Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to trigger Article 50 on Wednesday, former business secretaries Michael Heseltine, Peter Mandelson and Vince Cable told the Independent leaving with no arrangement in place would be disastrous for British firms and jobs.

* Uber Technologies Inc said it is ending operations in Denmark in April as a result of new taxi laws, marking the latest setback for the U.S.-based ride hailing company.


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