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May 7, 2013

Diageo names Menezes CEO with eye on emerging markets

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) – Diageo named Ivan Menezes
as chief executive on Tuesday, turning to an Indian-born company
insider whose role in the British drinks firm’s push into
emerging markets points to where it sees its future.

Chief Operating Officer Menezes, 53, replaces Paul Walsh,
who is stepping down after 13 years, the maker of Johnnie Walker
whisky said in an announcement that surprised few investors,
even if the timing of Walsh’s exit had not been certain.

May 2, 2013

UBS shrugs off break up call, with shareholder support

ZURICH/LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) – UBS won broad
shareholder backing for its strategy and pay policies on
Thursday, dealing a blow to a surprise call from activist
investor Knight Vinke Asset Management for the Swiss bank to
hive off its investment bank.

Knight Vinke’s intervention, in an open letter to UBS
management, staff and investors, was not taken up by other
shareholders during hours of questioning at the bank’s annual
general meeting (AGM) on the outskirts of Zurich.

May 2, 2013

UBS faces calls for break-up at investor meeting

ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) – UBS (UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) faces a renewed call to break up its investment banking operations and wealth management division at an investor meeting on Thursday, after activist investor Knight Vinke Asset Management demanded a review of the bank’s structure.

New York based Knight Vinke, which owns just less than 1 percent of the Swiss bank, said its investment banking activities between 2007 and 2009 “nearly destroyed” its prized private banking business, which was still reeling from a slew of scandals during financial crisis.

Apr 30, 2013

Deutsche Bank shares jump after 3 bln euro stock issue

FRANKFURT/LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank AG
completed a 2.96 billion euros ($3.9 billion) share
issue on Tuesday, quashing lingering worries about its finances
and showing renewed appetite among investors for European bank
stocks.

Its shares jumped more than 6 percent to their highest in
some two months.

The capital increase by Germany’s biggest lender bolsters
its balance sheet and puts it comfortably in line to meet bank
safety rules ahead of a 2019 deadline. It also means it can
forge ahead with acquisitions and win new business as rivals
retrench, co-Chief Executive Anshu Jain said.

Apr 28, 2013

IPO flurry to give investors pick of new UK banks

LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) – Investors will have their pick
of British banks in the next couple of years with up to five
lenders looking to float on the stock market, offering a
potentially lucrative, and nostalgic, punt on high street
banking.

A failure to attract buyers from the banking sector means
that state-backed groups Lloyds and Royal Bank of
Scotland are racing to prepare stock market flotations
of hundreds of branches they have been told to sell by European
regulators.

Apr 27, 2013

Vodafone investors want bigger bid or full takeover by Verizon

LONDON (Reuters) – Six major Vodafone investors said $100 billion was not enough for the British company’s stake in its U.S. joint venture with Verizon Communications, and urged the latter to come up with an offer of at least $120 billion.

Their comments followed a Reuters report on Wednesday that Verizon had hired advisers to prepare a possible $100 billion bid to buy Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in their Verizon Wireless joint venture, likely to be structured as a roughly 50:50 cash and stock bid.

Apr 18, 2013

Insurer Aviva to cut 2,000 jobs worldwide

LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) – British insurer Aviva Plc
will cut as many as 2,000 jobs worldwide in the latest
cost-cutting drive aimed at revitalising its flagging fortunes,
the company confirmed on Thursday.

Chief Executive Mark Wilson told staff the cuts would equate
to around 6 percent of Aviva Group’s global workforce over the
next six months and reiterated a commitment to deliver more than
400 million pounds ($609 million) in cost savings by year-end.

Apr 16, 2013

UK fund managers face biggest hit from EU bonus cap

LONDON (Reuters) – Caps on bonuses paid to fund managers proposed by European lawmakers may prompt British investment houses, which have most to lose from the new rules, to look at new structures such as profit sharing partnerships favored by law firms, experts say.

A European parliament panel has called for tighter control of fund manager pay though lawmakers are split over how far reaching a cap on bonuses should be.

Apr 14, 2013

Analysis: Euro zone bank troublespots don’t come down to size

DUBLIN/LONDON (Reuters) – Though the implosion of Cyprus’s bloated banking system has put other euro zone economies with outsized financial sectors such as Luxembourg and Malta in the spotlight, loan quality is the real litmus test of a country’s financial stability.

Attracted by low taxes, high interest rates and light regulation, foreign deposits, largely from Russia and other former Soviet states, pumped up the Cypriot banking sector to nearly eight times annual economic output, more than double the European average of around 3.5 times.

Apr 14, 2013

Euro zone bank troublespots don’t come down to size

DUBLIN/LONDON April 14 (Reuters) – Though the implosion of
Cyprus’s bloated banking system has put other euro zone
economies with outsized financial sectors such as Luxembourg and
Malta in the spotlight, loan quality is the real litmus test of
a country’s financial stability.

Attracted by low taxes, high interest rates and light
regulation, foreign deposits, largely from Russia and other
former Soviet states, pumped up the Cypriot banking sector to
nearly eight times annual economic output, more than double the
European average of around 3.5 times.