2012 YEAR IN REVIEW
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- Bain Capital buys majority stake in parka maker Canada Goose
By Cameron French TORONTO (Reuters) - Bain Capital, the U.S. private equity firm, has bought a majority stake in Canada Goose Inc, a family-owned company which had been seeking an investor to help it meet demand for its high-end cold-weather gear. The two companies did not disclose the purchase price or the size of the majority stake bought by Bain, but said in a statement on Tuesday that Canada Goose Chief Executive Dani Reiss will remain in his position and maintain a "significant" stake in the company. Canada Goose has built a name on its pricey fur-lined parkas and other winter items, which the company boasts are manufactured in Canada, in spite of higher manufacturing costs than in other locations. In April, the company hired investment bank Canaccord Genuity to find a partner to bring additional equity into the company, with Reiss saying at the time that a minority partner was preferred.
- Air Canada to buy up to 109 Boeing 737 MAX planes
Air Canada said on Wednesday it will purchase up to 109 of Boeing Co's 737 MAX under its narrow-body fleet renewal plan, a major win for the aircraft maker and significant shift in supplier for Canada's largest carrier. The agreement, which includes 61 firm orders, will replace Air Canada's existing mainline fleet of Airbus narrow-body aircraft, the carrier said, confirming an earlier Reuters report. The deal marks a substantial competitive victory for Boeing over Airbus and a rebound on its home turf after Airbus displaced it at low-cost Mexican airline VivaAerobus in a fierce contest earlier this year.
- GM doesn't owe $450 million in retiree benefits: U.S. judge
A federal judge said General Motors Co is not required to pay $450 million to cover medical benefits for retirees, in a defeat for the United Auto Workers union. In a 36-page decision, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn in Detroit said on Tuesday that the current GM did not assume any obligation for the payment, which the automaker had contracted to make two years before its June 2009 bankruptcy filing. The payment had been part of a June 2007 contract between the old GM, its former Delphi Corp affiliate and the UAW. It was not, however, included in a different contract over medical benefits signed in July 2009 by the GM that emerged from Chapter 11.
- Budget deal reached amid conservative opposition
By Richard Cowan and David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Budget negotiators in the Congress have reached an agreement on Tuesday that, if approved by the House and Senate, could restore some order to the nation's chaotic budget process and avoid another government shutdown on January 15. The chief negotiators, Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Representative Paul Ryan, were to announce details at a news conference at 6 p.m. ET (2300 GMT). The most immediate result would be to avoid starting the new year with another government shutdown on January 15. The government was partially closed from October 1 to October 16 after a battle over Obamacare held up passage of a measure to fund the government.
- Lululemon aims to move past gaffes with new CEO, chairman
By Solarina Ho and Allison Martell TORONTO (Reuters) - Lululemon Athletica Inc named a new chief executive on Tuesday and said founder Chip Wilson will step down as chairman, as the upscale yogawear retailer tries to expand globally and put a series of embarrassing quality issues and other gaffes behind it. The company said Laurent Potdevin, most recently president of trendy footwear brand TOMS Shoes, will replace Christine Day as CEO in January and emphasized Potdevin's role leading TOMS' global expansion. Lululemon, in the early stages of a push into Europe and Asia, was forced to recall some of its signature black stretchy pants in March because they were see-through. "Product and quality for any premium brand such as Lululemon is absolutely paramount," Potdevin told Reuters.
- GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. budget deal gets cautious thumbs-up
By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - Financial markets gave a cautious thumbs-up on Wednesday to a provisional budget deal that should end the threat of the U.S. government shutting down again in the coming months. News that U.S. budget negotiators had reached a two-year agreement was not enough to overcome the year-end blues in Asia, but it was more warmly received in Europe, where shares inched higher and the dollar began to firm. It removed a key uncertainty hanging over markets, and it heightened expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon start scaling back its $85 billion-a-month stimulus program. "It certainly does appear that a window of opportunity could be opening up for the Fed to act next week without a sharp market reaction, said CMC Markets strategist Michael Hewson.
- Hudson's Bay outlook disappoints; loss widens on Saks deal
Hudson's Bay Co cut its 2013 outlook on Wednesday on expectations of heavier holiday discounting and as overall sales were weaker than expected in the third quarter, depressing the retailer's stock 5 percent. The company, which completed its $2.4 billion purchase of U.S. luxury chain Saks Inc last month, reported a wider net loss primarily due to costs related to the acquisition. Excluding acquisition-related and restructuring costs, Hudson's Bay reported earnings that fell short of analysts' expectations. Shares of the Lord & Taylor chain operator fell 94 Canadian cents to C$19.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
- Fortum sells Finnish power distribution grid for $3.5 billion
By Jussi Rosendahl HELSINKI (Reuters) - State-controlled Finnish utility Fortum has agreed to sell its local power distribution grid to a consortium of institutional investors led by First State Investments and Borealis Infrastructure for 2.55 billion euros ($3.5 billion). At the same time it highlights the increasing popularity of established infrastructure assets for pension funds and other institutional investors seeking relatively safe and assured returns in a low interest rate world. The price Fortum got for the Finnish grid far exceeded expectations and it is now looking to sell its Swedish and Norwegian distribution networks. "It looks like the price is around 10-15 percent higher than what was expected," said Jari Honko, an Alandsbanken portfolio manager who said Fortum was one of his fund's biggest investments.