CC Land Looks to Buy London’s Cheesegrater
The Chinese packaging and property company is reportedly in advanced talks to buy the London tower for over £1bn.
Editor’s Remarks: CC Land, owned by Chinese property mogul Cheung Chung-kiu, wants to take over British Land, a London-based property developer, and Canadian real estate giant Oxford Properties, which each own 50% of the Leadenhall Building, nicknamed Cheesegrater due to its distinctive wedge shape. If it went through, the deal would be one of the biggest Chinese purchases of UK property amidst a trend of Chinese capital inflows – last year China-HK investors poured a record £3bn into the UK market – and the second-biggest for a single British building after London’s HSBC tower went for £1bn to a Qatari company.
What to watch: CC Land, British Land, Oxford Properties
Comcast to Buy Rest of Universal Studios Japan
US broadcaster Comcast will buy the remaining 49% it does not own in Universal Studios Japan for $2.27bn.
Editor’s Remarks: Comcast bought the 51% stake two years ago through Universal Parks & Resorts, which it owns in turn through its NBCUniversal division. The deal, which values the Japanese company at $7.5bn (including debt assumption), shows confidence on Comcast’s part in the Asian theme parks market. Comcast is in fact already building a theme park in Beijing, adding to a Singaporean site it licenses out. The deal unifies Universal’s three most-attended parks Universal Studios Japan, the Universal Orlando Resort, and Universal Studios Hollywood – under full ownership of the company.
What to watch: Comcast, Universal Studios Japan, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Philip Green Pays £363m to BHS Pension Fund
The UK billionaire paid the sum to the pension fund made insolvent by BHS’ collapse.
Editor’s Remarks: After the retail tycoon worth some £6.2bn sold BHS to Dominic Chappell for £1, the British department store chain went into insolvency. Chappell, the former racing driver who has been declared bankrupt three times, admitted receiving £4.1m in his 13 months in charge of the company, which ended in one of the UK’s most caustic corporate failures in recent history. Legal proceedings have been dropped, though critics are reluctant to let Green off the hook in light of the months of public pressure it took to prompt him to pay up, which left BHS pensioners and former employees in limbo over whether their fund would have to enter a government pension protection lifeboat.
What to watch: Philip Green, Frank Field, Theresa May, Dominic Chappell
Egypt’s Banks to Repatriate Foreign Profits
A large part of Egyptian banks’ currency backlog has been available to foreign firms looking to repatriate profits.
Editor’s Remarks: When Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising in 2011 drove off foreign investment, the subsequent lack of hard currency meant it started to ration dollars in order to ensure essentials like food and medicines weren’t as hard-hit, while foreign companies looking to repatriate their profits were left in the cold. Its central bank floated the Egyptian pound last November, crippling it from E£8.8 against the dollar to nearly 20 in just a month, meaning it had to wait until a strengthening in recent weeks meant it could give the green light for the £13.5bn that has flowed into its banks since to be used for repatriation. A quick rush seems unlikely, though, given the persisting weakness in the currency.
What to watch: Egyptian Pound, Central Bank of Egypt, Tarek Amer
Valeant Predicts Tough 2017
Drug giant Valeant Pharmaceuticals has forecasted another sickly year, with revenues to fall as much as 8%.
Editor’s Remarks: Valeant still characterised the time ahead as a period of transition towards a turnaround after it changed its business model dramatically in 2016, from selling through specialist Philidor to Walgreens Boots Alliance pharmacies and contracts with care companies. As a result, though, it has not been able to charge as much and its sales volume has fallen. It still has some $30bn in debt to boot. Despite Valeant’s gloomy outlook, some analysts have still questioned whether its management is being realistic enough, and the company’s 8.62% share price slide – its worst day since November – suggests that markets are in agreement.
What to watch: Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Salix Pharmaceuticals, Bausch & Lomb, Walgreens Boots Alliance