December 15, 2022 | Editor: Martin Wennerström
Canada to get tougher on foreign investment
The Canadian government has proposed changes to the country’s foreign investment legislation aimed at enhancing the government’s ability to scrutinize and block investments that pose national security risks. The planned amendments would require foreign investors to give the government more notice for proposed investments in certain sectors. Additionally, the government will be allowed to impose interim conditions on an investment during the national security review, such as limiting access to transfer of assets, intellectual property or trade secrets. Moreover, the proposed amendments increase the penalties for non-compliance, while a new penalty will be introduced for breaching the pre-implementation filing requirements. While the proposed amendments do not target a specific country, they appear aligned with Canada’s new policy approach towards China, a country which a top Canadian government official has described as an “increasingly disruptive global power.” In November, Canada ordered three Chinese companies to divest their investments in Canada’s critical minerals sector on national security grounds.
Canadian Gov't (1) | Canadian Gov't (2) | WLG | Bloomberg | Yahoo |
Masayoshi Son increases stake in Softbank Group
Softbank CEO and founder Masayoshi Son’s stake in the company has increased to 34.2%, following a series of share buybacks over the past two months. As Son now owns more than one third of capital, he can veto shareholder proposals at general meetings. Additionally, he is closer to the point where he could bid to take the company private. According to Japanese regulations, Son can force a minority squeeze-out once he owns 66% of Softbank, a possibility that has been internally floated.
CNA | Yahoo | Japan Times | NN |
Exxon to boost share repurchase amid fuel price surge
Exxon Mobil has expanded its share repurchase programme despite political backlash for handing record profits to investors rather than reinvesting them. Exxon will spend USD 50 billion to buy its own shares over the next three years, an increase from the current USD 30 billion buyback program scheduled to end in 2023. Additionally, Exxon increased its annual dividend payment for the 40th consecutive year. By the end of the year, the company plans to distribute approximately USD 30 billion to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases.
ExxonMobil | AFR | FOX Business | BNN | Yahoo |
FTC moves to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard
The Federal Trade Commission has filed an antitrust case against Microsoft seeking to block the company’s USD 69 billion planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to the U.S. antitrust watchdog, the deal would harm competition by denying Microsoft’s gaming rivals access to its video content. Moreover, Microsoft could manipulate Activision product prices or degrade Activision’s game quality or player experience on rival consoles. Microsoft announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January.
FTC | CNBC | Guardian | Yahoo (1) | Yahoo (2) | CNN |
Governance in Brief – May 25, 2023
Activist investor pushes for leadership and strategy changes at NRG Energy Activist investor Elliott Investment Management has disclosed a 13% stake in the US-based NRG Energy and called for leadership and operational changes at the company to remedy its “meaningful underperformance.” The investor urged NRG to add independent directors with experience in the power and energy sector to its board, noting that it has already identified five executives to guide the operational and strategic changes.
Governance in Brief – May 19, 2023
EU court sides with Ryanair on Lufthansa’s 2020 bailout. The EU General Court, the second-highest court in the EU, has annulled the European Commission’s decision on the approval of state bailout for Deutsche Lufthansa prompted by the 2020 pandemic. The judgment found the EC erroneously considered that Lufthansa could not obtain financing on the markets and failed to ask for the implementation of an incentive mechanism for the airline to buy back the German Government’s stake.
Governance in Brief – May 11, 2023
JPMorgan Chase takes over failed First Republic Bank JPMorgan Chase has acquired the assets and deposits of First Republic Bank after California authorities seized and auctioned the troubled lender. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), an independent governmental agency established to maintain financial stability through the insurance of banks’ deposits, took possession of First Republic Bank after the lender suffered a severe liquidity crisis following the failure of SVB and Signature Bank earlier in March.
Governance in Brief – May 4, 2023
TotalEnergies sells Canadian oil sands operations to Suncor TotalEnergies has announced that it will sell its Canadian operations to Suncor Energy, in an agreement worth up to CAD 6.1 billion (USD 4.47 billion). The French energy giant had originally planned to exit Canadian oil sands by spinning off TotalEnergies EP Canada, but later agreed to instead sell the operations after having received unsolicited offers from both Suncor and other parties.