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Dec 30, 2014

Songbird tells shareholders to take no action on $4 billion bid

LONDON (Reuters) – Canary Wharf owner Songbird Estates Plc (SBDE.L: Quote, Profile, Research) has told shareholders to take no action on a Qatari-led $4 billion (2.57 billion pounds) takeover bid, reiterating that the 350 pence per share cash offer undervalued the company.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and U.S. investor Brookfield Property Partners LP (BPY.N: Quote, Profile, Research) earlier published their final offer document for the majority owner of the London financial district and Songbird said on Tuesday it would send a formal response within the next 14 days.

Dec 30, 2014

Franklin backs Qatari-led bid for Canary Wharf owner Songbird

LONDON, Dec 30 (Reuters) – A Qatari-led $4 billion bid for
Songbird Estates, majority owner of London’s Canary
Wharf financial district, has received backing from U.S. fund
manager Franklin, the bidders said in their final offer document
published on Tuesday.

Franklin Mutual Advisers has written to Songbird to indicate
it plans to accept any cash offer for its Canary Wharf Group
shares, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and its bidding
partner, U.S. investor Brookfield Property Partners,
said in the document.

Dec 19, 2014

Europe markets regulator toughens up rules on research costs

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – The European markets regulator
proposed tougher rules on Friday to deal with payments for
brokers’ investment research, looking to make the cost of
investing more transparent and fairer.

Regulators across the world want to ensure investors get a
better deal from financial markets by challenging market
participants to give better value for money to investors.

Dec 15, 2014

New EU insurance rules seen spurring deals

LONDON/FRANKFURT, Dec 15 (Reuters) – New, stricter capital
rules for Europe’s insurers could spur takeovers and
consolidation next year among the region’s 5,000 insurers, after
recent stress tests showed nearly one in seven would fail them,
analysts and industry executives said.

The European Union’s Solvency II rules, due to take effect
in January 2016, are aimed at improving the safety of products
for consumers, and will require a complete overhaul of
risk-management systems at insurance companies large and small.

Dec 12, 2014

Boss of hedge fund Weavering battles fraud charges in London court

LONDON (Reuters) – Magnus Peterson, battling fraud charges after his $600 million Weavering hedge fund collapsed during the financial crisis, told a court on Friday he could not remember which investors he had warned about his fund’s use of complex financial instruments.

During a trial that has given a rare glimpse into the hedge fund industry before the credit crunch triggered greater regulation and supervision, Peterson said he told investors about the fund’s use of riskier derivatives “on occasions”, but said he could not recall which investors.

Dec 8, 2014

SFO nails its first convictions under new bribery laws

LONDON (Reuters) – Three men were jailed for masterminding a 23 million pound biofuel investment scam on Monday, in the first convictions by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) under tough new anti-bribery laws.

The Britons were executives or agents of Sustainable AgroEnergy Plc, a company that promoted biofuel investment products linked to southeast Asian plantations of jatropha trees, once considered a wonder plant in the hunt for oil.

Dec 8, 2014

UK anti-fraud agency nails its first convictions under new bribery laws

LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Three men were jailed for
masterminding a 23 million pound ($36 million) biofuel
investment scam on Monday, in the first convictions by Britain’s
Serious Fraud Office (SFO) under tough new anti-bribery laws.

The Britons were executives or agents of Sustainable
AgroEnergy Plc, a company that promoted biofuel investment
products linked to southeast Asian plantations of jatropha
trees, once considered a wonder plant in the hunt for oil.

Dec 7, 2014

African insurers in vogue as incomes rise

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A growing middle class in sub-Saharan Africa is enticing European and South African insurers to buy local firms focussing mainly on life insurance and pensions, in the face of mature markets and strong competition at home.

Rapid economic growth in countries such as Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria has increased the number of people with money to spend on insurance to protect their wealth, while regulatory changes are encouraging the growth of domestic savings and pensions.

Dec 2, 2014

Friends Life founder to focus on U.S., Europe buys

LONDON (Reuters) – The founder of Britain’s Friends Life (FLG.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) hopes to make two acquisitions in the United States in the next year following the $8.8 billion sale of the insurer to rival Aviva (AV.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Clive Cowdery, who founded Friends Life in 2008, stepped down from the board in a restructuring earlier this year, though the Aviva sale will bring his investment vehicle Resolution 220 million pounds ($344 million).

Dec 2, 2014

Aviva agrees terms of 5.6 billion pounds Friends takeover

LONDON (Reuters) – British insurer Aviva agreed terms on Tuesday for a 5.6 billion pounds all-share takeover of rival Friends Life, responding to pressures caused by pension industry reform.

Pension providers are rushing to revise their product ranges after the government in March surprisingly removed obligations for people to buy an annuity, or income for life, at retirement, hurting sales.

    • About Carolyn

      "I have worked at Reuters for more than 20 years but I switched in Sept 2014 to a new beat - insurance and fund management. I write about things like insurance deals, fund trends, geopolitical risks insured by Lloyd's and I'm grappling with understanding company accounts. In my vanishingly small spare time, I hope to contribute more to Reuters entertainment file."
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