Frontrunning: June 16

  • Russia may have killed ISIS leader Baghdadi (Reuters)
  • About 4,000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan (AP)
  • Insurers Look to Ramp Up Premiums in Health Law Exchanges (WSJ)
  • U.N. envoy urges North Korea to explain why freed U.S. man is in coma (Reuters)
  • Wal-Mart Offers a Refuge for Sellers Tired of Amazon  (BBG)
  • Trump to limit Cuba travel, restrict business deals with military: U.S. officials (Reuters)
  • Private-Equity Firms Stand to Benefit From Court’s Curb on SEC (WSJ)
  • The $31 Billion Hole in GE’s Balance Sheet That Keeps Growing (BBG)
  • Facebook Boosts A.I. to Block Terrorist Propaganda (WSJ)
  • Whole Foods CEO Calls Activist Investor ‘Greedy Bastards’ (BBG)
  • Kroger Rattles Nerves in Grocery Section (WSJ)
  • U.S. Exports to Mexico Fall as Uncertainty Over Nafta Lingers (WSJ)
  • Funds pull back from Permian as U.S. shale oil firms go into overdrive (Reuters)
  • The World’s Richest Nation Has Rarely Looked Weaker  (BBG)
  • 30 confirmed dead in London high-rise fire (AP)
  • Big Oil Firms Are Exploring a New Frontier in Shale: Profits (WSJ)
  • Facing criticism, British PM to visit London fire victims (Reuters)
  • Pimco’s New Bond King Is Nothing Like Bill Gross (WSJ)
  • U.S. accuses Chinese company of money-laundering for North Korea (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


- Nestlé SA put its U.S. confectionery business up for sale, looking to shed its Butterfinger and Crunch candy bars as it grapples with how to cater to U.S. consumers' increasing demand for healthy snacks.

- Pressure on U.S. grocers increased after a lower earnings forecast from Kroger Co sent shares in the nation's biggest supermarket chain down 19 percent.

- Facebook Inc said that it has expanded its use of artificial intelligence in recent months to identify potential terrorist postings and accounts on its platform—and at times to delete or block them without review by a human.

- A woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India is suing Uber Technologies Inc and three current and former executives, claiming they breached her privacy by obtaining and publicizing her medical records.

- Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp said that federal regulators have given it a green light to produce an emergency injection treatment for allergic reactions, providing a potential competitor to Mylan NV's EpiPen.

- Nike Inc is cutting more than 1,000 global jobs as part of a restructuring to help the sneaker giant battle slowing sales. The company said that the layoffs would affect 2 percent of its global workforce.

- Takata Corp, the Japanese automotive supplier of rupture-prone air bags linked to numerous deaths and injuries, is in the final stages of preparing to file for bankruptcy protection to address mounting liabilities stemming from an unprecedented recall, said a person familiar with the matter.

- The Department of Energy said it would award $258 million over three years to be shared by six tech companies, as part of a plan to develop new supercomputers that can crunch data at least 50 times faster than the nation's most powerful systems today.



The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee came closer to raising interest rates on Thursday than at any time in the past six years when it voted five to three to keep rates at their historic low of 0.25 percent.

BHP Billiton Plc named Ken MacKenzie as its chairman on Friday, succeeding Jac Nasser who was appointed to the job in 2010.

UK public sector workers are saving twice as much into their pensions than those in the private sector according to figures from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc raised the potential share award for its Chief Executive David Potts while slashing the profit and cash flow targets he must hit to qualify for the stock, a scheme that attracted backlash from its from shareholders at its annual meeting on Thursday.



- A woman who was raped by her Uber Technologies Inc driver in India filed a lawsuit against the ride-hailing company and three current and former executives, after revelations that they had obtained and mishandled her medical records.

- Music streaming company Spotify released its annual report, which may be the last piece of financial data available to investors before the company formally moves to go public, expected this year or next.

- Nestlé SA said that it was considering a sale of its American candy business, the home of treats that include Gobstoppers, Nerds and Butterfinger and Crunch bars as demand for sweets has fallen off in the United States.

- Responding to complaints that not enough is being done to keep extremist content off social media platforms, Facebook Inc said that it would begin using artificial intelligence to help remove inappropriate content.

- Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Inc, is well on his way to becoming the richest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $80 billion. What is less certain is what he plans to do with his fortune, and how he could reinvent philanthropy.

- Slack, an office messaging company, is in talks to raise around $500 million at a valuation around $5 billion, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the financing.




** A report by a parliamentary committee highlights the government's attempt to find a sustainable model for funding Canadian journalism. It recommends tax incentives, controls on media consolidation, local news support among other suggestions.

** Two of Canada's journalists, Marie-Maude Denis and Patrick Lagace, have testified that they were shaken to discover what they allege are half-truths and lies used by some police forces in Quebec to obtain search warrants from credulous courts to track journalist telephones.

** Canada's telecom regulator is putting an end to fees charged to "unlock" smartphones. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said on Thursday that, as of Dec. 1, customers will have the right to have their mobile device unlocked free upon request.


** Saskatchewan's premier Brad Wall says the federal government's decision to deny the province access to funding for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless it agrees to a carbon tax is "nothing short of extortion."

** The Canadian Real Estate Association said on Thursday it is revising downward its forecast for housing sales in Ontario following provincial measures to cool the market.



The Times

* The chief executive of Firstgroup Plc has had his 723,415 pounds ($922,571) annual bonus withheld because of the Croydon tram crash in which seven people died and 58 were injured.

* One of London's most distinctive modern buildings could be up for sale with a price tag of 1 billion pounds. Safra Group, the Brazilian banking group controlled by Joseph Safra, is said to be mulling options for a sale of the Gherkin, according to EG, a property magazine.

The Guardian

* The Bank of England has edged closer to raising interest rates as a deeper split emerged among its committee of policymakers, with three out of eight voting for an immediate rise to keep inflation in check.

* More than half of WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc's shareholders have failed to back the supermarket's bosses' pay package in a massive protest vote at the company's annual shareholder meeting.

The Telegraph

* Greece avoided a summer default last night as it secured billions of euros in fresh financial aid even as creditors dashed Athens' hopes for a comprehensive debt relief

* Administrators to Arrium Ltd said that a private equity consortium consisting of Newlake Alliance, JB Asset Management and Korean steel maker Posco had been named a preferred bidder for Arrium, beating out Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty Industries Group.

Sky News

* Trustees to the Co-Operative Bank Plc's 10 billion pounds pension scheme are demanding a large sum from the struggling lender's bondholders to end the impasse over the bank's future, according to Sky News.

* The parent company of British Airways is estimating it will lose 80 million pounds after the catastrophic failure of the airline's IT systems last month. The forecast was revealed to the International Consolidated Airlines Group SA AGM by chief executive Willie Walsh, who apologised again for the global disruption but congratulated staff on the way they handled the glitch.

The Independent

* Airbnb has said that it expects to boost communities in Europe, which is its biggest market, by an estimated 340 billion euros of economic output by 2020 and that it will support an estimated 1 million jobs across the region by that year.

* Spotify now has over 140 million users worldwide, a surge of around 40 million users over the past year alone, the online music platform announced on Thursday.