#AceFinanceNews – September 30 – After spending much of this year explaining why its two businesses are best left together, eBay’s board of directors and CEO did a complete about-face Tuesday morning, announcing a plan under which its PayPal and eBay marketplace businesses will be split into separately traded public companies by the middle of next year.
And CEO John Donahoe will step down as CEO of eBay once the split takes effect in 2015.
EBay shares jumped 10 percent on the news in premarket trading. (Get the latest quote here.)
Donahoe began 2014 under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn to split the company into its faster growing payments business, PayPal, and its legacy e-commerce marketplace, eBay. Donahoe and eBay’s board successfully resisted those pleas in winning a proxy fight, but only months later during the company’s annual strategic review, decided that a split in 2015 is now the right move to position each of those company’s for the future.
#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES (Manhattan) – September 30 – A U.S. judge held Argentina in contempt of court on Monday, saying the republic was trying to find ways to circumvent a prior order requiring it pay holdout bond holders at the same time as other creditors who restructured their debt in recent years.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan deferred a decision on imposing sanctions against Argentina to a later date. But he did say that the “problem is that the republic of Argentina has been and is now taking steps in an attempt to evade critical parts of” his injunction.
Argentina’s government enacted a new law recently to get around a court ruling saying it must pay more than $1.3 billion to holdout hedge funds who rejected the country’s debt restructuring agreements in 2005 and 2010. The country defaulted on more than $100 billion in debt more than a decade ago.
Carmine Boccuzzi, a lawyer for Argentina, had said a contempt ruling would just “make matters worse.”
#AceFinanceNews – DETROIT – September 29 – Testimony is to resume this morning in the hearings on Detroit’s bid to get out of bankruptcy, and the federal judge overseeing the case is expected to rule on a request that he order Detroit’s water department to enact a six-month pause in shutting off service over unpaid bills.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes also is likely to hear updates from city lawyers about the agreement reached last week to keep emergency manager Kevyn Orr on the job until the bankruptcy exit strategy is approved, yet restore power to run city government to Mayor Mike Duggan and the City Council.
During a meeting of the city’s financial advisory board on Friday, Orr outlined the arrangement that will keep him in charge of shepherding Detroit through the final stages of its bankruptcy.
#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – September 26 – The European Commission has played down suggestions that it had deliberately stripped the UK’s commission candidate of responsibility for policing the EU’s bank bonus rules.
Officials with Commission President designate, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the decision to put bank bonus rules in the hands of the bloc’s justice commissioner had been taken before Jonathan Hill, a British Conservative, had been nominated for the post of financial services chief.
“This was a decision that was made when forming the justice portfolio,” Juncker’s spokeswomen Natasha Bernaud told reporters on Friday (26 September).
“This was a decision that was taken and made public on 10th September…so it’s really nothing new,” she added.
Under the proposed division of competences within the EU executive, Hill will be responsible for financial stability, financial services and capital markets. Aside from financial sector regulation, the portfolio will include the completion of the EU’s ambitious banking union legislation.
Meanwhile, oversight of the bank bonus rules will be part of the portfolio of Czech politician Vera Jourova, the proposed justice commissioner, in the context of company law.
The UK is currently embroiled in a court battle with the European Commission over the bank bonus rules, one of three legal challenges to financial services rules that the UK has lodged with the European Court of Justice in the last three years.
The EU’s institutions passed several laws aimed at curbing excessive executive pay in the 2009-2014 term, instigated by outgoing single market commissioner Michel Barnier.
Under the latest capital requirements directive adopted in 2013, bank bonuses are capped at the same level of salary, although banks are permitted to pay bonuses worth up to twice basic salary levels following a shareholder vote.
However, Bernaud stated that the capital requirements rules for banks will form part of Hill’s portfolio.
#AceFinanceNews BRUSSELS September 27 EU countries are planning to tell Russia it has no say on changing the Ukraine trade treaty despite its demand to rewrite the text.
The joint declaration, by the EU Council and European Commission, is to say the trade pact: “is a bilateral [EU-Ukraine] agreement and any adaptations to it can only be made at the request of one of the parties and with the agreement of the other”.
It notes Ukraine should “continue the process of envisaged reforms and economic modernisation” related to Titles III, V, VI and VII, of the pact.
It also says Ukraine should go ahead with “adequate preparation for the implementation of Title IV”.
Titles III, V, VI, and VII of the pact spell out reforms in the areas of justice and security, economic affairs, financial and anti-fraud matters, and institution-building.
Title IV deals with trade and the mutual lifting of tariffs on EU and Ukrainian exports.
The EU declaration is to be published in Brussels on Monday (29 September) by ministers at general affairs council.
Ministers will the same day adopt a legal act saying the bulk of the treaty is to be implemented “without delay”, but that article IV is to be implemented on 1 January 2016.
EU countries are also planning to extend “autonomous trade measures” – low or zero-rate tariffs for exports of most Ukrainian goods to Europe – from November until January 2016. But the legal text is not yet ready for adoption.
The delay of Title IV is in line with an EU-Russia-Ukraine deal on 12 September.
It comes after Russia threatened to impose trade sanctions on Ukraine on grounds it will be flooded by cheap EU goods re-exported from Ukraine.
The declaration on the “bilateral” mechanism for altering the treaty comes after Russia also demanded a role in altering the content of the text in the run-up to 2016.
#AceFinanceNews – BERLIN – September 26 – Russia wants to resolve the gas pricing dispute with Ukraine and has made a number of constructive proposals to tackle the problem which have been rejected in Kiev, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in newspaper comments on Friday.
Asked whether there were chances for a compromise, Novak told Germany’s largest business and finance daily, Handelsblatt: “We are interested in it anyway.”
The minister said the parties already had eight rounds of talks on the dispute and Russia made some constructive proposals for pricing and the settlement of Ukraine’s debts.
“But Ukraine rejected them all,” Novak was quoted as saying.
Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks
Russia, Ukraine and the European Union are scheduled to hold a trilateral gas meeting in Berlin on September 26.
Taking part in the consultations will be the EU outgoing energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan.
The focus will be made on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and issues of energy security, a spokesman for the EU commission representation in Berlin told ITAR-TASS.
The key task of the talks is to ensure uninterrupted gas supplies both to Ukraine and the European Union in the coming winter
#AceFinanceNews – BRITAIN – September 25 – The changing face of gambling today herald’s the demise of the Suffolk Downs, New England’s last thoroughbred racing track, as it is closing its venue this year.
This was the place that once hosted Sea-Biscuit and other premier horses of the day, and now falls victim to changes in a gaming industry that now revolves around lotteries and casinos.
The 160-acre track, located just outside down-town Boston, had hoped to revive its sagging fortunes with a $1.1 billion Mohegan Sun casino project.
But after the proposal was rejected last week, the operators said they have no choice but to close the nearly 80-year-old track.
#AceFinanceNews – ROME – September 23 – The losses of the Italian agricultural sector as a result of Russian counter-sanctions in response to Western punitive measures against Moscow for developments in Ukraine will total €200 million annually, experts from the Coldiretti association uniting representatives of the sector said Tuesday.
“With the ban on imports to the territory of the Russian Federation of a number of food products — vegetables and fruits, cheeses, meat and sausage products, as well as fish, Italy will lose about €200 million a year,” Coldiretti said.
Besides direct losses, the industry will also sustain indirect losses, experts said.
In particular, the association is afraid that products imitating Italian will land on the Russian market, which will harm the reputation of Italian products.
Not to mention the fact that Italian suppliers will be ousted from the Russian market, which is considered one of the most promising and fast growing.
Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina is pushing for the unblocking of European Union funds due to be allocated to support farmers affected by Russia’s counter-sanctions.
Ways to overcome the crisis and compensate for the losses to European agriculture will be considered at an informal meeting of EU specialized ministers to be held in Milan on September 28-30 as part of Italy’s presidency of the European Union.
Reported by . /ITAR-TASS/.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the new rules would at least lead companies to second-guess the benefits of shifting their legal addresses abroad — and slashing their tax bills in the process.
The new rules target the economic benefits of the tax deals and seek to make it more difficult for companies to complete these kinds of cross-border-mergers, known as “inversions.”
“These transactions may be legal, but they’re wrong,” Lew told reporters on Monday.
“For some companies considering deals, today’s action will mean that inversions no longer make economic sense.”
Still, Lew also stressed the new rules, which would go into effect for deals that close Monday or after, don’t eliminate the need for Congress to act when it returns to Washington after November’s elections.
The secretary added that the department would consider further rules if Congress remains deadlocked on how to stop the deals.
This ensures that offshore tax deals will continue to be a potent political debate this year, after Democrats have questioned the patriotism of companies that move abroad.
“I believe America does better when hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and everyone plays by the same set of rules,” President Obama said in a Monday statement praising Lew and the new rules.
The Treasury’s announcement could give a new spark to a Democratic campaign issue that has yet to catch fire with voters.
Democrats have hammered companies like Burger King, medical device-maker Medtronic and pharmaceutical company AbbVie for seeking to reincorporate abroad.