Frontrunning: March 21

  • Gorsuch Strives to Present Himself as Above Political Fray (WSJ)
  • Investigation Could Hurt Trump’s Clout in Congress (WSJ)
  • U.S. to Ban Laptops and Tablets in Cabins of Some Mideast Flights (BBG)
  • Tillerson no-show at NATO renews European disquiet about Trump (Reuters)
  • Don’t Blame Your Social Media Feed for the Growing Political Divide (BBG)
  • High-Frequency Traders Fall on Hard Times (WSJ)
  • Senate GOP Holdouts Split Into Rival Camps on Health Revamp  (BBG)
  • California’s Wet Winter Points to Some Sorry-Looking Salads (WSJ)
  • Exclusive: Trump administration weighing broad sanctions on North Korea (Reuters)
  • U.K. Inflation Gains More Than Forecast, Breaching BOE Goal (BBG)
  • French presidential debate lifts euro to six-week highs (Reuters)
  • Shell’s Titanic Bet: Can Deep-Water Drilling Be Done on the Cheap? (WSJ)
  • Meet the 13 Million Nerds That Apple’s Counting On  (BBG)
  • Macron on Top After First Debate of French Presidential Election  (BBG)
  • Rookie Currency Traders Are Causing Trouble at Crucial Moments (BBG)
  • Two in Five Americans Say They’ll Need $1 Million to Retire (BBG)
  • Porsche SE has no information about Piech’s stake sale talksa (Reuters)
  • What the Biggest Banks Are Planning Once Brexit Starts (BBG)
  • Merkel ally says Turkey’s Erdogan ‘not welcome’ in Germany (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


– SoftBank Group Corp scrapped a planned $100 million investment in a smartphone startup founded by the creator of Google’s Android software, partly because of the Japanese investor’s increasingly close relationship with Apple Inc, according to people familiar with the matter.

– Costco Wholesale Corp, which improbably caused a frenzy in the golf world when it started selling low-priced but well-reviewed balls last year, filed a lawsuit against the parent company for Titleist, maker of the self-proclaimed “number one ball in golf.”

– Vodafone Group Plc said it would merge its embattled Indian business with a local rival, a $24 billion move that would create India’s largest wireless company and could strengthen the British telecommunication company’s standing in a cutthroat market.

– A rift between Political-news outlet Politico’s co-founder and chief executive, Jim VandeHei, and its owner, Robert Allbritton, over its direction triggered VandeHei’s abrupt departure, along with those of star reporter Mike Allen and three top executives. VandeHei warned various executives that a wave of additional exits might follow, two people familiar with the matter say.

– An executive for Alphabet Inc’s Google apologized for commercials that appeared before extremist videos on its YouTube site and said it would simplify tools that enable advertisers to control where their ads appear.

– Alternative Bank Schweiz AG, the first Swiss bank to require all depositors to pay to leave money with it, posted a jump in 2016 profit, suggesting the strategy is working.

– Honda Motor Co’s U.S. unit said in January it would shift its more-than-$500-million media-buying account from Mediavest Spark, a unit of advertising giant Publicis Groupe , to an independent agency.

– Qualcomm Inc is introducing a new product designed to bring faster wireless service to basic, lower-priced cellphones in emerging markets, an attempt to bolster the chip giant’s reach among consumers who can’t afford smartphones.



* Uber is facing a new legal challenge in London’s high court over its payment of value added tax.

* Jeremy Fleming, the deputy director general of Britain’s internal security service, will become the new head of intelligence eavesdropping service GCHQ.

* Britain’s Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular agreed on Monday to merge their Indian operations in a $23 billion deal, creating the country’s biggest telecoms business after the entry of a new rival sparked a brutal price war.

* Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, which is in the throes of a proxy battle with Arconic Inc, demanded on Monday an independent review of the company’s voting agreement with private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners.

* Google apologised on Monday for allowing ads to appear alongside offensive videos on YouTube as more high-profile firms such as Marks & Spencer and HSBC pulled advertising for British markets from Google sites.



– Walmart is expanding its e-commerce ambitions, and has tapped a Jet executive to help it build new start-ups within the company. Walmart announced on Monday that it had formed Store No 8, an internal venture meant to hatch new online retail businesses.

– Bank of America has poached a top rainmaker for financial services companies from Morgan Stanley. Eric Bischof, who helped advise the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on matters related to the American International Group, will join Bank of America as co-head of its global financial institutions group, serving alongside Jim O’Neil in New York.

– The British government said on Monday that it intended to formally notify the European Union on March 29 of its intention to leave the bloc, putting the country on track to complete a withdrawal by early 2019.




** Wednesday’s federal Liberal budget won’t announce plans to sell off Canada’s major airports, even though such a move could raise billions in one-time revenue for a government that has little room left for new spending.

** Rogers Communications Inc paid its outgoing CEO Guy Laurence a total of C$42.6 million ($32 million) for his three years with the company, according to a financial filing.

** Alberta’s Wildrose Party, which serves as the Official Opposition, has agreed to negotiate a reunification deal with the province’s Progressive Conservatives, with both pledging not to dominate the talks as they kick off a polite power struggle.


** Canada’s biggest banks will be among the first to use a digital identity network powered by blockchain when Toronto-based SecureKey Technologies — in partnership with IBM — launches it later this year.

** Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci heard pointed criticism of his government’s C$10.3 billion ($7.73 billion) budget deficit and rapidly rising debt levels Monday as he tried to allay the business community’s concerns about the province’s fiscal plan at a Calgary Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

** The EU is worried about a protectionist U.S. White House that appears to see trade as a game that some countries win and others lose. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told a meeting at the University of Toronto on Monday that trade agreements create benefits by lowering consumer prices and creating more jobs.



The Times

Nearly 15 years after Tesco Plc bought One Stop it is still paying staff at the convenience chain less and charging customers more for products than in its Tesco Express outlets.

Aberdeen Asset Management Plc and Standard Life have given more details about how the joint chief executives of the enlarged business will split their roles in an attempt to head off investors’ concern.

The Guardian

HSBC Holdings Plc , the Royal Bank of Scotland Plc , Lloyds Banking Group Plc , Barclays Plc and Coutts are among 17 banks based in the UK, or with branches here, that are facing questions over vast money-laundering operation run by Russian criminals with links to the Russian government and the KGB.

Theresa May has informed the European council that she will trigger article 50 on Wednesday 29 March, but European sources have made clear that Britain could be forced to wait until June to embark on formal talks.

The Telegraph

Arcadia Group chairman Philip Green “prioritised his loyal senior managers” with his 363 million pounds ($449.21 million)deal to help plug the BHS pension black hole, MPs scrutinising the agreement have concluded.

Sports Direct International Plc has lost a trademark battle against a small online business despite claiming that the company, run by a husband and wife team, would confuse consumers about its burgeoning gym business.

Sky News

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Imperial Brands Plc are examining whether to pump tens of millions of pounds into P&H in return for an equity stake.

George Osborne has defended his shock appointment as the new London Evening Standard editor after facing criticism for saying he will stay on as an MP while also heading up the newspaper from this May.

The Independent

UK’s ambassador to Europe Tim Barrow has warned that the EU will push for Britain to pay a hefty Brexit “divorce bill” after Theresa May triggers Article 50 on March 29.



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