Frontrunning: March 25

  • Cyprus Salvaged After EU Deal Shuts Bank to Get $13B (BBG)
  • Last-minute Cyprus deal to close bank, force losses (Reuters)
  • Anxious, angry Cypriots face uncertain future (Reuters)
  • Spain Brings the Pain to Bank Investors (WSJ)
  • First Switzerland now... U.S. Seeks Answers in Liechtenstein on Tax Cheats (BBG)
  • Rebel Free Syrian Army founder loses leg in Syria blast (Reuters)
  • European Stocks Rise on Cyprus Deal as Italian Bonds, Crude Gain (BBG)
  • Michael Dell Likely to Sweeten Buyout Bid to Save Legacy (BBG)
  • Bankers’ pay premium is narrowing (FT)
  • Surgery Restoring Penis After Prostate Cancer Increasing (BBG)
  • Silent or supportive, conservatives give gay marriage momentum (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


* Cyprus secured a bailout from its international creditors early on Monday, ending a week of financial panic that threatened to see the small island nation become the first government to leave the euro zone.

* The euro surged against other major currencies on Monday in Asia trading after Cyprus secured a bailout from its international creditors.

* China Petroleum & Chemical Corp agreed to form a joint venture that will acquire $3 billion in oil and gas assets held by its state-owned parent in countries including Kazakhstan, Colombia and Russia. ()

* Apple Inc has acquired the indoor-GPS company WifiSLAM for about $20 million, a sign that a war over indoor mobile-location services is heating up.

* The Spanish government will impose heavy losses on investors at nationalized banks and hire external advisers to help it manage these banks' assets, its latest efforts to overhaul a financial sector battered by the collapse of a decadelong housing boom.

* JaguarLand Rover, which is owned by India's Tata Motors Ltd, on Sunday strongly denied it is preparing to raise $1 billion from Chinese investors with a bond issue in Beijing or Shanghai later this year.

* Private equity firm Gordon Brothers Europe agreed to buy the British arm of DVD-rental firm Blockbuster LLC, which had entered a form of bankruptcy in January.

* Some former partners of Howrey LLP have agreed to spend the next several months in settlement talks to avoid litigation over the defunct law firm's 2011 collapse.



Cyprus, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund reached a tentative agreement that would lead to the shutting down of the country's second largest bank, according to EU officials.

British Police found no evidence of third-party involvement during searches of former Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky's home near London on Sunday, but the tycoon's death remained shrouded in mystery.

Dell Inc appeared to have received competing offers following a $24.4 billion agreement last month under which it would be taken private by its founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake, setting up a tug-of-war for the world's No. 3 PC maker.

Blockbuster's chain of film and computer game rental shops in Britain has been sold to Gordon Brothers Europe for an undisclosed sum, two months after the struggling retailer went into a form of bankruptcy protection.

French drinks maker Pernod Ricard will report an annual decline in Scotch whisky sales in China after years of growth.

Pakistan's former President, Pervez Musharraf, returned home on Sunday after nearly four years of self-imposed exile apparently to contest elections despite the possibility of arrest and death threats from the Taliban.



* After hours of meetings in Brussels, European officials agreed to a deal to rescue Cyprus that would drastically reduce the size of the country's banking sector and scrap the controversial tax on bank deposits.

* Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP and investor Carl Icahn have each separately submitted preliminary takeover proposals for Dell Inc, the embattled computer maker.

* News Corp wants the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to waive a ban on consolidation between TV stations and newspapers in local markets, but it is not without setbacks.

* At the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, generic and brand-name drug companies will be arguing against the federal government on whether the maker of a brand-name drug can pay a generic-drug company to keep the generic version off the market.

* Bausch & Lomb Inc, the eye-care company, said in an initial public offering registration filing that Warburg Pincus LLC would continue to own a majority of the stock after the offering.

* Wall Street is taking America's biggest pension fund Calpers to court this week, for a long-awaited battle over who takes the losses when a city goes bust - workers and retirees, municipal bondholders, or both.

* Taking a page from China, the United States is now scouring high schools for hackers with an eye to bringing them along to one day defend the nation from foreign attack.

* Web-publisher Spin Media LLC will introduce technological improvements to encourage readers to linger and to track them as they move from one device to another




* Canada's credit unions, an often overlooked corner of the financial sector, are about to get a lot more vocal and aggressive as they attempt to take market share from the big banks, while also fighting Ottawa on controversial tax changes that threaten their business.

* Not a single new casino has been built yet in Ontario, but government plans for increasing the number of gambling establishments have slashed the financial worth of existing casinos, resulting in the loss of millions of tax dollars for several municipalities.

Reports in the business section:

* BlackBerry investors will get a clear view of whether the sleek, touchscreen devices - hailed as the best BlackBerrys ever - are tumbling from store shelves in enough numbers to bolster the company's flagging sales.


* If money talks, then it's saying Justin Trudeau has a lock on the federal Liberal leadership while Joyce Murray and Martha Hall Findlay are fighting over who'll finish second. His team has told The Canadian Press it will show Trudeau has pulled in just over $1 million since launching his campaign last October.

* As the 20 patients in Pisa, Italy, waited to undergo thyroid surgery, they descended into unconsciousness thanks to a cocktail of anaesthetic drugs delivered from a surprising destination.

The infusion machines in Pisa were controlled remotely by specialists in Montreal, a unique experiment in "transcontinental anaesthesia" that could eventually make operations safer in isolated communities, a new study indicates.


* Without much fanfare, WestJet Airlines Ltd has been quietly rolling out some strategic changes to its fleet of Boeing 737s in recent weeks, altering the cabin configuration fairly dramatically to add a new class of seating, all the while packing in more travelers in the rest of its planes




-- Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Russia last week has strengthened comprehensive and strategic cooperation between the two world powers.


-- The China Banking Regulatory Commission has warned banks to pay more attention to risk while lending to nine sectors, including real estate, machinery engineering, steel, wind power equipment and photovoltaic industry, which the regulator said have been suffering from overcapacity.

-- Several institutions expect Chinese regulators to cut domestic gasoline and fuel prices as early as March 27, which would be the first such cut in China this year.


-- Shareholders of Wuhan Iron and Steel Co Ltd have approved a plan to raise 15 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) via a private placement of shares to purchase mineral assets from its parent firm.

-- The China Insurance Regulatory Commission has raised the threshold for insurance companies to set up branches.


-- Foreign telecom companies are keen to join China's fourth generation (4G) mobile network deployment with the country looking likely to issue licenses as early as this year.

-- China may see an increase in property transactions involving international investors this year, fuelled by the country's economic recovery and the promising outlook of its real estate market, industry experts said.


Fly on the Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



Aixtron (AIXG) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Canaccord
Allstate (ALL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Array BioPharma (ARRY) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Endocyte (ECYT) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Rubicon (RBCN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord
Saul Centers (BFS) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Veeco (VECO) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord
W. R. Berkley (WRB) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman


AXIS Capital (AXS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Airgas (ARG) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
BlackBerry (BBRY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Finish Line (FINL) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Sterne Agee
J.C. Penny (JCP) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Lear (LEA) downgraded to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman
Life Technologies (LIFE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
PartnerRe (PRE) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Patterson-UTI (PTEN) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
RenaissanceRe (RNR) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
SPX Corp. (SPW) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
SPX Corp. (SPW) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Sigma-Aldrich (SIAL) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Textron (TXT) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Virtusa (VRTU) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
WABCO (WBC) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Whole Foods (WFM) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray


Bristow Group (BRS) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
Comcast (CMCSA) reinstated with a Buy at Goldman
Coronado Biosciences (CNDO) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Corporate Executive Board (CEB) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust
Eagle Rock Energy (EROC) coverage resumed with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Galena Biopharma (GALE) initiated with a Buy at Needham
Lexington Realty (LXP) initiated with a Hold at KeyBanc
Rentech Nitrogen (RNF) initiated with a Neutral at Goldman


The Eurogroup reached an agreement with the Cypriot authorities on key elements necessary for a future macroeconomic adjustment program
Dell (DELL) to negotiate with Carl Icahn and Blackstone (BX), CNBC reports
Vanguard Health’s (VHS) Phoenix, Arizona health plan subsidiary received a letter from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System that it was not awarded an acute care program contract for the program year commencing October 1
Actavis (ACT) reached an agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN) to launch generic Crestor in 2016
Sinopec’s (SNP) board passed a resolution to form a $3B, 50:50 joint venture between the two wholly-owned subsidiaries of the company and the company


Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
JA Solar (JASO)


  • Dell’s (DELL) financial services unit could be valued at about $5B in a sale, sources tell the Wall Street Journal, adding that General Electric's (GE) financial services unit has been viewed as the likely buyer of the Dell unit. Blackstone's (BX) expression of interest in Dell is said to include partly financing any deal by selling Dell’s financial services arm.
  • BlackBerry's (BBRY) all-touchscreen Z10, which has been seen as critical to help resurrect the company's standing in the market, went on sale in the U.S. Friday at AT&T (T) stores, but the launch has so far failed to garner the buzz of competitors' recent smartphone launches, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Vodafone (VOD) is said to be forming a deal to sell its entire share in Verizon Wireless, its venture with Verizon Communications (VZ), netting it as much as $135M, or GBP88.6M, the Telegraph reports.
  • A security hole at Apple (AAPL) would allow anyone to reset your password with an email address and date of birth, reports The Verge.


Bausch & Lomb (BOL) files IPO for $100M in common stock
PGT, Inc. (PGTI) files to sell common stock
RDA Microelectronics (RDA) announces offering of 8.35M ADS


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