Frontrunning: June 12

  • Razor-edge U.S. Congress vote to decide fate of Obama Pacific trade pact (Reuters)
  • EU Readies for Default as Tsipras Drives Greek Finances to Brink (BBG)
  • Greece Can’t Plan a Barbecue, Let Alone a Currency, Nielsen Says (BBG)
  • IMF quits Greece talks amid ‘air of unreality’ as deal unravels (FT)
  • Greece Counts Cost of One Man's Gamble (BBG)
  • Merkel urges Greece and creditors to keep pushing for deal (Reuters)
  • Fearful ECB starts countdown on Greek funding lifeline (Reuters)
  • Greek stocks suffer further pummelling (FT)
  • Shares, euro numbed by Greek drama (Reuters)
  • Pentagon again asks China to end island building, seeks more military contact (Reuters)
  • Emerging market funds suffer biggest outflow in 7 years (FT)
  • Morgan Stanley Sees $400 Billion China Inflows Over Five Years (BBG)
  • Germany drops probe into U.S. spying on Merkel (Reuters)
  • EU Competition Watchdog Investigates Amazon Over Electronic-Books Business (WSJ)
  • War-Weary Ukraine Shutters Cash-Starved Banks as Trust Falls (BBG)
  • Facebook Offers a Glimpse of Virtual Reality Goggles (NYT)
  • Hong Kong public warned that they could face prosecution about false Mers reports (SCMP)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* Dick Costolo is stepping down as chief executive of Twitter Inc on July 1, as the company struggles to convince Wall Street of its growth strategy. Chairman and co-founder Jack Dorsey will take over as interim chief executive. (http://on.wsj.com/1MtNiQj)

* European Union regulators have opened a formal investigation into Amazon.com Inc's electronic-books business, the latest in a series of probes targeting U.S.-based technology giants that could affect how they operate in Europe. (http://on.wsj.com/1MrICdQ)

* Dish Network Corp is in talks with banks about funding a bid for T-Mobile U.S. Inc that would include as much as $15 billion in cash, in the latest sign the takeover effort is progressing. (http://on.wsj.com/1KItYR3)

* The Obama administration is considering opening a network of new bases in Iraq like the hub being established west of Baghdad, the nation's top military officer said, something that would deepen the U.S. role in the war against Islamic State. (http://on.wsj.com/1MuJGxG)

* A policy of eBay Inc and its PayPal unit regarding so-called robocalls is drawing more scrutiny, with the Federal Communications Commission saying it may violate federal law and could result in thousands of dollars in fines. (http://on.wsj.com/1I80kzz)

 

FT

Oil major Shell is considering withdrawing from its last exploration well in Ukraine as the project has been on hold for nearly a year due to the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.

The European Commission said on Thursday it had opened a formal antitrust investigation into certain business practices by Amazon in its distribution of electronic books.

The banker who worked on ABN Amro takeover in 2007, a deal which led to the collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland, is set to return to work with RBS as a corporate broker advising it on its privatisation.

The head of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, Martin Wheatley, said that scandals and ever higher fines for banks should be over.

 

NYT

* Rupert Murdoch is expected to name his son James to succeed him as chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc , the sprawling entertainment company that includes cable and broadcast television networks, film studios and satellite companies, multiple people briefed on the plans said on Thursday. (http://nyti.ms/1C25n2w)

* Twitter Inc said Chief Executive Dick Costolo will step down on July 1 and Jack Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder, will be the interim chief executive while the company looks for a permanent successor. (http://nyti.ms/1B6IQqp)

* European regulators said that they were beginning an antitrust investigation into whether Amazon Inc used its dominant position in the region's e-books market to favor its own products over rivals. (http://nyti.ms/1B6JbcN)

* Facebook Inc showed the world its first commercial version of virtual reality on Thursday and offered tantalizing hints of how it hopes to turn three-dimensional goggles into a new kind of computing and communications device. (http://nyti.ms/1B6Jowt)

* Elliott Management, the $25 billion hedge fund founded by Paul Singer, sent a public letter to Citrix Systems Inc on Thursday, urging the software company to cut costs and sell or spin off a number of its smaller operations to improve its stock price. (http://nyti.ms/1B6JCnh)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Financial returns in the oil sands stand to weaken under the most sweeping efforts to fight global climate change, Statoil ASA's chief economist said on Thursday, as some of the industry's leading companies call for increased carbon fees. (http://bit.ly/1I8yfbn)

** Canadian towns could see a number of bank branch closures as customers shift away from entering local branches for everyday banking, Bank of Nova Scotia CEO Brian Porter said at an event on Thursday. (http://bit.ly/1B7jZ5T)

** The Senate is defending the secrecy of the arbitration process that will allow senators to challenge the federal Auditor-General's findings on their expenses, despite the Red Chamber's recent promise of increased disclosure and oversight of its activities. (http://bit.ly/1JK2Amp)

NATIONAL POST

** Toronto Mayor John Tory won a narrow victory at City Hall on Thursday, riding a wedge of suburban support to overcome fierce opposition to his plan for the Gardiner Expressway. (http://bit.ly/1MO902f)

** Canada's Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is assessing the growing practice among some firms of reinsuring commercial risks offshore, often through unregistered affiliates, with little capital retention in Canada. (http://bit.ly/1FXFWQj)

** A report commissioned by Canadian regulators considering overhauling mutual fund fees says there is "conclusive evidence that commission-based compensation creates problems that must be addressed." (http://bit.ly/1FXGk18)

 

Hong Kong

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

-- The Centre for Health Protection has contacted police in a bid to stop rumours about suspected Middle East Respiratory Syndrome infections from spreading across Hong Kong. Health officials warned that those spreading false reports about the virus may face prosecution. (http://bit.ly/1dzKHc7)

-- Organisers of a major rally set for next week against the government's political reform package said they have no plans for a repeat of road blockades seen in last year's Occupy protests. Daisy Chan Sin-ying, convener of Civil Human Rights Front, announced details of the rally due to start on Sunday at a public square outside the Legislative Council. (http://bit.ly/1L45GC1)

-- Hong Kong is now the fourth most expensive city in Asia for expatriates due to high inflation and a strong U.S. currency, a study conducted by human resources consultancy ECA International has found, while Shanghai overtook Tokyo to top the list. (http://bit.ly/1Gi1iv5)

THE STANDARD

-- Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing chief executive Charles Li Xiaojia said a new mechanism aimed at reducing volatility could be introduced next year. The Volatility Control Mechanism covers 81 constituent stocks of the Hang Seng Index and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index . (http://bit.ly/1Gx86GD)

-- Hong Kong lost enough freshwater to fill 78,800 swimming pools in 2013 due to leaking pipes and overflowing reservoirs, claims a Legislative Council research brief on water supply. There are more than 8,000 km of water pipes in the city, many of which are more than three decades old, the report said. (http://bit.ly/1e75qEY)

-- Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says she is cautiously optimistic on Hong Kong's prospects post-reform. Even if reform is voted down, the central government is unlikely to view pan-democrats as parties they cannot communicate with, she said. (http://bit.ly/1C1VdyR)

HONG KONG ECONOMIC TIMES

-- Mainland property agency Qfang will expand its network in Hong Kong to 200 shops in two years from the current 35, and increase the number of agents to 7,000 from 370 now. Managing Director Vincent Chan Kwan-hing said the company aims to expand its network to 70 shops this year generating up to HK$150 million in commission income.

Britain

The Times

Britain's intelligence agencies should continue to be allowed to collect bulk communication data, a major report by David Anderson, QC, the government's anti-terror watchdog on surveillance powers recommends today. (http://thetim.es/1FMYxzq)

In its ongoing battle with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over its role in the future ownership of Aer Lingus Group Plc, Ryanair Holdings Plc dismissed the agency's position as "ridiculous" and "bogus". Ryanair said it would again be appealing the CMA ruling. (http://thetim.es/1cOKrFx)

The Guardian

Chancellor George Osborne 14 bln stg figure, released as part of his Mansion House speech on the sale of the government stake in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, is called into question. Andrew Tyrie, the incoming chairman of the Treasury select committee, said on Thursday the figure required a "great deal of qualification".(http://bit.ly/1JIQyKe)

The European commission has launched a competition inquiry into Amazon.com Inc's dominant market position in ebooks, as Brussels steps up its scrutiny of US tech groups. (http://bit.ly/1B6nYj6)

The Telegraph

David Cameron's drive to reform the EU suffered its hardest day yet after a string of leaders rejected his plans to strip welfare from migrants. (http://bit.ly/1ILxsTz)

The European Union has warned Greece in the clearest language to date that its patience is exhausted and the country will be abandoned to its fate unless it accepts creditor demands in short order. (http://bit.ly/1dzHEkg)

Sky News

Airwave, which was bought in 2007 for 1.9 bln stg by two infrastructure funds managed by Macquarie Group Ltd, the Australian bank, has been engaged in discussions with a range of potential buyers including Motorola Solutions and Hong Kong Telecom. Vodafone Group Plc is also said to have been examining a possible bid. (http://bit.ly/1e691TT)

The Independent

A British exit from the European Union would be a "big mistake" and could jeopardise London's position as a major financial centre, Dan Glaser, chief executive of giant Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc has warned. (http://ind.pn/1FU6dz9)