Chris's Feed
Dec 14, 2012

At least 27 dead, including 18 children, in Connecticut school shooting – report

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) – At least 27 people, including 18 children, were killed on Friday when at least one shooter opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, CBS News reported, citing unnamed officials.

If confirmed, it would be one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. It comes after a series of shooting rampages in the United States this year that have killed multiple victims.

Jul 8, 2012

“Integrity” still rules, but referees vex pro disc

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Chris Mazur is as competitive a professional athlete as any. After flubbing an easy pass, he kicks a trash can with pro-level gusto.

But the Connecticut Constitution defensive handler’s best play against the Philadelphia Spinners on a recent Sunday is not one of the team-leading five goals he throws. It is the point he gives the other side when his Ultimate team is slightly behind.

Oct 25, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Fridge Fires


Last Friday’s special report about faulty refrigerators started with a fire in a London tower block. After oil and gas correspondent Tom Bergin read about the fire he started to investigate the actions of Arcelik, a Turkish company that made the fridge the London Fire Brigade pointed to as a possible cause. There seemed to be inconsistencies in the company’s version of events.

“What I found interesting was uncovering who knew what, when. As soon as one constructed a timeline, it was evident that the EU guidelines had not been followed, even as those involved claimed to be guided entirely by these guidelines,” said Bergin. “That was probably the most interesting and rewarding because the rules were designed to protect people.”

Jul 7, 2010
via DealZone

Do Conoco’s asset sales offer hope for BP?

Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Sankey says the U.S. oil major may overshoot its $10 billion target for asset sale by 50 percent. He reinstated coverage of ConocoPhillips with a “buy” rating, crediting the rising premiums the company has been able to command. So far, Conoco has raised more than $5 billion from the sale of stakes in its Canadian oil sands venture, Syncrude, to China’s Sinopec and the stake in a truck stop joint venture to Pilot Travel Centers.

Sankey expects about $1.5 billion to $2 billion from Conoco’s North American assets, including $1 billion from its 25 percent interest in the Rockies Express pipeline. This would bring the total asset sale proceeds to about $7 billion this year — well ahead of the company’s target of $5 billion, he said.

Jul 6, 2010
via DealZone

BP’s survival plans

BP is still looking at asset sales, but those efforts are being eclipsed now by more exciting prospects of direct investment in the company. Buy ratings are popping up again.

How seriously did people doubt a big oil company’s ability to survive a crisis, even a badly mismanaged one? After all, this oil we’re talking about. Not some revolutionary technology that can be reproduced by anyone with a computer. There’s a heap of value in them thar wells for energy hungry humanity – a whole lot more than there is sympathy for oil-choked wildlife. Note: the tar balls may have kept Independence Day beach-goers away, but don’t think for a moment they didn’t turn on the air conditioning in their RVs when the mercury hit triple digits this weekend.

Jun 23, 2010
via DealZone

GM IPO gassing up

It looks like the long-awaited return to market for GM is only weeks away. The listing could raise up to $20 billion, we’re told by a person with knowledge of the preparations. That would be quite a bit more than the $15 billion that has been talked about. But wait, there’s more!

What does a car company with a solid financing business do to keep the wheels moving? Sources tell us that GM is also in talks with JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo on deals aimed at providing improved access to consumers for auto loans at its U.S. dealerships.

Jun 18, 2010
via DealZone

Citi’s risky businesses

Assume for a moment that Citi is successful in raising $3 billion for private equity and hedge funds, and assume for another moment that the U.S. government takes away these businesses away from Citi, as legislators are threatening. What happens next? Why is Citi building a business it may soon have to sell? And why would any investor give money to a hedge fund manager that may have to sell its business?

Investors will not likely care about whether the bank will sell its alternative asset management business. Customers care most about who is investing their money day to day, not which corporate logo is on the stationery. And if Citi has to sell the business, it will get a slightly higher price for a business that has an extra $3 billion under management.

Jun 15, 2010
via DealZone

Checking BP’s life signs

Lawmakers are blasting Big Oil on Capitol Hill, but most of the execs from Exxon, Conoco, Chevron etc may have more to gain from the slap-down then they stand to lose if you consider the real target of their ire, BP.

For weeks, with its share price scraping the sea bed, BP has been the subject of take-under talk. Every time another politician assigns another zero to the end of the cost of the clean-up, and each call for BP to cut its dividend, puts the British company’s future further into question.

Jun 9, 2010
via DealZone

Win-win for Carl Icahn

As Wednesdays go, this must be one of the best in a while for activist investor Carl Icahn. He’s getting two board posts at Genzyme, for which he is dropping his proxy battle, and he has charmed the Canadians into approving his tender offer for Lions Gate Entertainment, for which all he had to do was promise to keep the Canadian film division in Canadian hands if he takes control of the Los Angeles studio.

All this is a welcome turn of events for the high profile investor who has suffered through his share of misses in recent years, including his disappointing investments in Blockbuster and, most famously, Yahoo.

Jun 7, 2010
via DealZone

Kroll’s former boss finds his quarry

You couldn’t accuse former Marsh & McLennan CEO Michael Cherkasky of wandering too far from his knowledge base. Though he may not have been able to shine at Marsh, he seems to have not only found kindred spirits in private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, but he may have gotten them a steal for his old firm, financial intelligence company Kroll.

Six years ago, Marsh bought Kroll for $1.9 billion. Today Altergrity, headed by Cherkasky and backed by Providence Equity Partners, said it would pay only $1.3 billion – cash, mind you – to take the investigative franchise private. Marsh wrote off more than $850 million in goodwill, so analysts note that the insurer could register a profit from the sale. It’s not as if Cherkasky had to come in with some sweep-them-off-their-feet offer. Marsh has had Kroll on the block for at least a month.

    • About Chris

      "Chris Kaufman has reported, written, edited and presented news in various media for Reuters since 1994. He is currently on assignment with the Special Reports team, based in New York."
    • More from Chris

    • Follow Chris