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  • Ally Financial IPO priced at $25 per share: underwriter

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 5:41 PM EDT

    (Reuters) - Ally Financial Inc's initial public offering has been priced at $25 per share, an underwriter said, valuing the bailed-out auto lender at about $12.04 billion. Ally's IPO raised $2.38 billion, after the offering of 95 million shares was priced at the low end of its expected range. Ally's IPO is the biggest U.S. offering so far this year, eclipsing that of Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc and IMS Health Holdings Inc . The US Department of Treasury is selling all the shares of Ally in the offering. More »Ally Financial IPO priced at $25 per share: underwriter

  • U.S. lawmakers press Comcast on Time Warner Cable merger

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 4:53 PM EDT

    By Alina Selyukh and Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc executives sought to reassure lawmakers on Wednesday that their planned merger would not send cable TV prices skyrocketing but found a fair amount of congressional skepticism. The Senate Judiciary Committee held the first public hearing on the proposed $45.2 billion merger between the two largest U.S. cable companies, a deal that has raised eyebrows among public interest groups and some lawmakers. Comcast promises that it will benefit consumers without eliminating any choices. "My concern is that as Comcast continues to get bigger, it will have even more power to exercise its leverage and squeeze consumers," said Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat who has often opposed media concentration. More »U.S. lawmakers press Comcast on Time Warner Cable merger

  • Frontrunner in Afghan vote rules out coalition government

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 3:32 PM EDT

    By Maria Golovnina KABUL (Reuters) - A frontrunner to succeed Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan's president voiced the possibility of teaming up with a rival on Wednesday but ruled out forming a coalition government in order to avoid a second-round runoff. Afghanistan voted in a landmark presidential election last weekend which, if successful, will usher in the first democratic handover of power in the country's history as Karzai prepares to step down after more than 12 years in office. Preliminary tallies put former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah in the lead in parts of the capital Kabul. But it could be weeks before a countrywide winner emerges from the field of eight candidates because Afghanistan's rugged terrain and weak infrastructure make tallying all the ballots so difficult. More »Frontrunner in Afghan vote rules out coalition government

  • Fannie, Freddie shareholders lobby against U.S. housing reform bill

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 3:16 PM EDT

    By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A coalition of investors in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday launched an effort to stop Congress from moving ahead with a U.S. housing finance reform bill, arguing it would deny them a fair share in any remaining value in the two companies. The new tax-exempt group, Investors Unite, said it wants to protect the rights of shareholders in the bailed-out mortgage finance companies. The group's formation is the latest sign of stepped-up lobbying activity ahead of a Senate Banking Committee meeting later this month on a bill that would abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie and replace them with a new agency to back home loans. The group opposes the bill because it would prevent the companies from recapitalizing and compensating shareholders. More »Fannie, Freddie shareholders lobby against U.S. housing reform bill

  • RBS to pay $2.5 billion to end UK government's dividend priority

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 3:06 PM EDT

    By Matt Scuffham LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to pay 1.5 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) to cancel an arrangement that gives the government priority over dividends, clearing an obstacle to the lender's eventual privatization. The agreement between part-nationalized RBS and Britain's finance ministry to cancel the dividend access share (DAS), which gives the state priority over dividend payments and makes the stock less attractive to private investors, was approved by European regulators on Wednesday. It had been put in place after Britain pumped 45.8 billion pounds into RBS during the 2008/9 financial crisis, leaving the government with an 81 percent shareholding. The figure of 1.5 billion pounds was in line with what UK Financial Investments, which manages the government's stake in RBS, had previously indicated the agreement was worth. More »RBS to pay $2.5 billion to end UK government's dividend priority

  • Top EU election candidates struggle to find differences

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 1:16 PM EDT

    By Paul Taylor PARIS (Reuters) - The top two rival candidates to lead the European Commission struggled on Wednesday to find real policy differences in the first live television debate ahead of European Parliament elections next month. Conservative Jean-Claude Juncker and Social Democrat Martin Schulz - both native German speakers - argued politely in French over the appropriate balance between budget austerity and investment to promote economic growth in a 50-minute debate on France 24 television. Juncker, 59, the veteran former Luxembourg prime minister and chairman of euro group finance ministers, stressed the need to maintain tight control of public finances and said he could see no grounds to give France more time to reduce its deficit. "France has already had two extensions to its period of adjustment. More »Top EU election candidates struggle to find differences

  • UK welcomes deal to free RBS from dividend access share

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 1:07 PM EDT

    Britain's finance minister said an agreement for part-nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland to cancel a government-owned share that stops it paying dividends would help taxpayers to get their money back. RBS was rescued through a 45.5 billion pound ($76.21 billion) government bailout during the 2008/9 financial crisis, leaving taxpayers holding an 81 percent stake in the bank. European regulators on Wednesday agreed a proposal that would see RBS buy itself out of the dividend access share, which gives the state priority over dividends and has been seen as a major obstacle to full privatization. More »UK welcomes deal to free RBS from dividend access share

  • Greece to end its bond market exile on Thursday

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 1:06 PM EDT

    By Alex Chambers and Lefteris Papadimas LONDON/ATHENS, April 9 (IFR/Reuters) - Greece, at risk of crashing out of the euro zone just two years ago, will issue its first sovereign bond in almost four years on Thursday, seeking to send a strong political and economic signal it is on the way out of its debt crisis. According to sources speaking to Reuters and Thomson Reuters news and information service IFR, pricing is set for Thursday. "We aim to raise up to 2.5 billion euros," one Greek government official said. Athens has no pressing funding needs but wants to test the waters for more and bigger bond sales in the future, as part of its strategy to cover all its funding needs from the market by 2016. More »Greece to end its bond market exile on Thursday

  • EU regulators allow RBS to cancel UK's dividend share

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 12:50 PM EDT

    LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European regulators said on Wednesday they had agreed that Britain's part-nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland can cancel a government-owned share that effectively stops it from paying dividends. RBS and Britain's finance ministry said in November they were in advanced talks with the European Commission to free the bank from the dividend access share - which gives the state priority over dividends and has been seen as a major obstacle to full privatization. RBS was rescued by the government through a 45.5 billion pound ($76.21 billion) bailout during the 2008 financial crisis, leaving the government with an 81 percent stake. Sources familiar with the matter say RBS will pay 1.5 billion pounds to buy itself out of the arrangement, in line with the government's previous valuation of the share. More »EU regulators allow RBS to cancel UK's dividend share

  • New French PM wagers on growth, stirs deficit angst

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 12:42 PM EDT

    In a 47-minute speech only days after his appointment, Manuel Valls laid out a stark appraisal of Europe's second-largest economy that earned upbeat reviews on Wednesday for its forthright tone and unflinching view of the country's mood. "There is a clear change in tone that's very beneficial, with the clear understanding that companies will be the driver in any economic recovery," said Deutsche Bank economist Gilles Moec. "But Valls is vague on how the savings will be achieved and on the deficit, he seems to say: we'll do what we can." If deficit targets are not kept, as some Socialist ministers have suggested, investors could grow worried about debt sustainability, prompting credit downgrades and even a reawakening of Europe's sovereign debt crisis, critics said. "Moreover, beyond the French case, investors could lose confidence in the ability of European institutions to enforce budgetary discipline in the euro area." SAVINGS PLAN IS TOO VAGUE Valls' speech to parliament on Tuesday amplified measures announced in January by Socialist President Francois Hollande as he shifted toward supply-side policies in a last-ditch attempt to bring down unemployment stuck above 10 percent. More »New French PM wagers on growth, stirs deficit angst

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