Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in South Korea, and Michael J. de la Merced and Amie Tsang in London.
When will Kraft Heinz strike its next big deal?
That question’s sure to greet the company’s C.E.O., Bernardo Hees, during earnings discussions this morning. What’s curious is that he hinted at the topic during a pre-earnings presentation yesterday.
“With our global presence and financial strength, I think that we’ll continue to generate opportunities for us to expand our portfolio,” he said, according to Annie Gasparro of the WSJ.
Why another deal? It’s what Kraft Heinz and its backers at 3G do best. Meanwhile, sales have been declining, and the company’s last big takeover attempt, at Unilever two years ago, fizzed quickly.
The deals flyaround
• The S.E.C. blocked a Chinese company’s takeover of the Chicago Stock Exchange, in part because it couldn’t identify the owners. (NYT)
• The European Commission will examine whether Linde and Praxair’s $80 billion merger. (FT)
• Roche has bought Flatiron Health, an electronic records company with a focus on cancer treatments, for $1.9 billion. (CNBC)
• A lawsuit against CVS raises questions about what its proposed deal with Aetna might do to drug and services prices. (Axios)
• Standard Life Aberdeen’s loss of a big client has stoked fears about the £11 billion merger that created the giant asset manager. (FT)
U.S. Bancorp’s fine tarnishes its sterling reputation
What had been regarded as one of the best-run regional banks has had to pay $613 million to settle accusations that it wasn’t doing enough to stop money laundering.
More from Emily Flitter of the NYT:
For about five years, senior bank employees tried to balance their security system’s constant alerts about suspicious customer activity against internal staffing limitations, the authorities said. In a late-2009 memo, court documents show, U.S. Bank’s anti-money-laundering officer warned the chief compliance officer that employees responsible for investigating the alerts were “stretched dangerously thin.”
The upside: U.S. Bancorp’s actions weren’t as bad as HSBC’s or Standard Charter’s.
Elsewhere in regulation: Dual-class stock structure of the sort that let Mark Zuckerberg and the Ford family control their companies should have a time limit, according to the Democratic S.E.C. commissioner Robert Jackson Jr.
The regulatory long read: Check out ProPublica’s investigation into how Mick Mulvaney is loosening regulations on Wells Fargo, payday lenders and more at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Washington flyaround
• The Senate rejected two bipartisan bills to protect Dreamers and a much harsher immigration bill backed by President Trump, leaving the fate of the young immigrants uncertain. That raised questions about Congress’s ability to pass any bipartisan legislation.
• After another school shooting, Congress is again being criticized on gun regulation. Meanwhile, the White House’s budget proposal would reduce funding for school counselors and violence reduction programs.
• A second appeals court ruled against the Trump administration’s travel ban. (NYT)
• A former Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, is close to a plea agreement with Robert Mueller, unnamed sources say. (CNN)
• The Trump inaugural committee paid $26 million to a firm set up not long beforehand by a friend of Melania Trump. (NYT)
Harry’s raises $112 million to go beyond shaving
Since its founding nearly five years ago, the men’s grooming company has become an competitor to Procter & Gamble’s Gillette. Now its founders want to create what they describe as a next-generation P. & G.
The company’s new financing round, led by Alliance Consumer Growth and Temasek of Singapore, is meant to help it buy stakes in nascent consumer brands. Harry’s has already invested in Hims, which is focused on men’s hair loss prevention. But its founders want to go into products for women, babies and households.
More from Michael’s article:
“We’ve built a lot of infrastructure at Harry’s that we think we can leverage into new categories,” Jeff Raider, one of Harry’s founders, said in a telephone interview. “It’s something that we’ve been excited about for a long time, and we’re now at a point in our business where we can act on it.”
Elsewhere in fund-raising: Cellularity, a biotech start-up focused on stem cells, has raised $250 million from Celgene, United Therapeutics and other investors. The goal: turning 100 into the new 60.
The tech flyaround
• The U.S. joined Britain in formally blaming Russia for a huge cyberattack last June that was aimed at Ukraine — but crippled computers worldwide. (NYT)
• After the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Russian bots began spreading pro-gun messages. (Wired)
• Instagram blocked access in Russia to posts referring to an opposition leader’s corruption accusations, as a censor had demanded. (BBC)
• Salesforce led Fortune’s list of the best companies to work for. (Fortune)
• London proposed new rules for Uber drivers, including shorter shifts and more wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Uber is suggesting a 24-hour hotline to report “bad experiences.”
• Evan Spiegel doesn’t regret taking Snap public. (Fortune)
• How allegations of fraud and sexual harassment at Singularity University cost it Google’s support and raised questions about its mission. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
• Priceline wants to muscle in on Airbnb’s turf. (The Information)
Japan’s new virtual currency regime
Two industry groups will merge to create a self-regulating body, according to people involved in the negotiation. It’s the latest sign that the crackdown investors had feared isn’t happening.
So expect more buyers to emerge:
“For most of December and all of January investors were focused on a regulatory crackdown, mostly in Asia,” said Brian Kelly, a CNBC contributor and head of U, which runs a digital assets strategy for clients. “That all changed when C.F.T.C. Commissioner Giancarlo spoke at the Senate Banking Committee and changed the regulatory tone.”
Where’s Bitcoin today: Just under $10,000, according to CoinMarketCap.
Elsewhere in digital money: A crypto miner in Brooklyn was ordered to shut down after causing reception problems for T-Mobile users. Coincheck is being sued by investors whose assets it froze after a heist last month.
• Andrew Chen, Uber’s head of growth, has left to become a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. (Recode)
• NBC promoted Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta as co-presidents of scripted entertainment, replacing Jennifer Salke as she heads to Amazon. (NYT)
• IBM has sued Microsoft over its poaching of Lindsay-Rae McIntyre as chief diversity officer, pointing to a noncompete clause in her contract. (Axios)
Quote of the day
“Private schools have done this forever, and it’s a capability that public schools can develop.”
— Steve Schwarzman, who gave $25 million to his old public high school, on seeking alumni donations.
The Speed Read
• A playboy model’s account of her claimed affair with Donald Trump features hotel-room meetings, payoffs and complex legal agreements. (New Yorker)
• SRS Investment Management is seeking to shake up the board at Avis Budget Group, where it’s the largest investor. (WSJ)
• Children’s book publishing is facing a #MeToo moment, with complaints about prominent writers and editors. (NYT)
• Amazon Studios will continue to make “Transparent” without Jeffrey Tambor, who has been accused of sexual harassment. (NYT)
• Britain’s proposal for how financial services would operate after Brexit involves staying in line with E.U. rules but ceding authority to a dispute resolution mechanism. (FT)
• The James Beard Foundation has advised the people who nominate and vote for winners of its award to consider whether they also possess “the values of respect, transparency, diversity, sustainability and equality.” (NYT)
• Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s new president, faces a familiar challenge: making the economy into a source of progress for the masses. (NYT)
• Brian Niccol transformed Taco Bell’s fortunes. Can he do the same at Chipotle? (NYT)
• The corporate investigator Peter Humphrey gave an account of the nearly two years he spent in prison in China after being hired to look into a former GlaxoSmithKline executive there. (FT)
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