Virgin Mobile 280 iPhone refurb deal includes 1 service

first_imgWhile you might be cautious about a phone someone else has used before, Virgin Mobile says it’s testing and inspecting them according to Apple’s specifications. They’re restored to the factory default settings and whatever the latest version of iOS is. Most importantly, they swap out the existing battery for a brand new one.Finally, they throw in a new set of Apple EarPods headphones, and a brand new charger. A one-year Apple warranty is also included, as per a new iPhone purchase. Virgin Mobile shifted to only sell iPhones in the US back in June 2017, eventually dropping all of the other handsets from its line-up.For the first six months, service will be priced at a dollar a month. After that, subscribers will be moved over the Virgin Mobile Inner Circle plan, which is $50 per month. That gets unlimited talk, text, and data, the latter with a 23GB “de-prioritizing” cap that could see you throttled in situations of heavy network load.The iPhone 6s has a 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone 6s Plus has a 5.5-inch display. Both use Apple’s A9 processor, have LTE and WiFi 802.11ac, and a 12-megapixel main camera. There’s Touch ID in the home button, together with Apple Pay support. Apple originally released the phones in September 2015, and they’re still available to buy new today: a new iPhone 6s will set you back $449 SIM-free, while the iPhone 6s Plus is from $549 SIM-free.Come January 2018, meanwhile, Virgin Mobile will be adding the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to its offer. They’ll be priced from $379.99 to $499.99. Whichever you pick, there’s no minimum service contract.MORE iPhone 6s ReviewThey’re aggressive prices all round. Apple offers refurbished iPhones itself, though it’s currently offering the iPhone 6s Plus in 32GB form for $469 unlocked and SIM-free. It’s unclear whether, like Apple does, Virgin Mobile is giving the refurbs a new outer shell, however.In the run up to the holidays, meanwhile, Virgin Mobile is also throwing in an Amazon gift card for anybody buying its “pre-loved” iPhones. Purchases made between December 8 and December 14 will get $100 from the retailer. The refurbished phones will only be available via the carrier’s online store, not at physical locations. Virgin Mobile is offering Apple’s iPhone for as little as $280, as long as you’re okay with a refurbished phone, and it’s sweetening the deal with $1 per month service. The carrier’s Certified Pre-Loved iPhone will initially launch with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which will be priced from $279.99 to $399.99. They’re on sale alongside full-priced, brand new models on Virgin Mobile‘s network.last_img read more

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YouTube livestreams get support for playing prerecorded videos

first_imgUntil now, YouTube creators could schedule a livestream and their audience would have to wait for it to start. Premieres change that, offering a way to show videos before the actual livestream starts. Creators can use this as a opportunity to help everyone get up-to-date on what they may have missed, to introduce the context for the video, or just to keep viewers entertained while they wait. Viewers can chat with each other during these premieres, as demonstrated in the video above. YouTube says it will automatically create a landing page when the creator uses Premieres, and it’ll also trigger an on-screen countdown when the creator is ready to transition from the pre-recorded footage to their live video.YouTube likewise positions Premieres as a new way to earn revenue, touching on a sore spot many creators have with the platform. This opens the door for using Super Chat with regular videos, not just livestreams, as well as Channel Membership benefits that are exclusive to livestreaming content. The company says it is rolling out Premieres to some of its creators starting today, and that they’ll be available to more people “soon.” In addition, YouTube has joined up with Teespring to help creators sell merchandise and launched that aforementioned Channel Membership features, which gives viewers unique goodies (like exclusive posts) in exchange for $4.99/month.SOURCE: YouTube Blog Fresh out of VidCon, YouTube has announced new features specifically for its content creators, not the least of which is the ability to play pre-recorded videos during livestreams. YouTube calls these “Premieres,” presenting them as a way to offer existing content as live content for ushering in a planned livestreaming event.last_img read more

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Honda and Waymo may team up on selfdriving cars

first_imgStory TimelineAs self-driving car safety debate rages, Google teaches cyclist mannersGoogle Self-Driving Car to get steering wheel and pedals after allWaymo announced as the next step for Google’s self-driving technology Waymo is the new company identity for what was previously the autonomous car arm of Google research. Spun out into its own subsidiary of parent business Alphabet earlier this month, it will attempt to commercialize the self-driving technology the search giant has been working on for several years. Now, Honda may well be the first known industry customer. Before that, however, there’ll potentially be a technical collaboration. That would see Honda supply Waymo with vehicles for it to use in its test fleet, “modified to accommodate” the company’s combination of LIDAR, cameras, and other sensors. Currently, Waymo has a variety of vehicles that it’s trialling in four cities across the US, including the pod-like designs Google developed itself and, more recently, 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.“If both parties agree to enter into a formal agreement,” Honda says, “Honda R&D engineers based in Silicon Valley, California and Tochigi, Japan, would work closely with Waymo engineers based in Mountain View, California and Novi, Michigan.”It’s unclear which cars in particular Honda and Waymo are discussing. The company is expected to refresh its Odyssey minivan in 2017, though the duo might prefer to work on something different to the Chryslers already undergoing public testing. The Honda Civic and Accord are two of the best-selling cars in the US, which would make either a suitable candidate for exploring how autonomous features might be embraced – or otherwise – by the mass-market. Last year, Honda committed to putting autonomous vehicle technology on the road around 2020, and indeed we tested out some of the assistance technologies it intends to use for that. Beyond just making traffic more straightforward to deal with, Honda has said its goal is to prevent any collisions involving Honda cars. Now, the collaboration with Waymo could open up “a different technological approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market,” Honda says. Though that’s far from settled upon, it’s keen to point out, it would potentially see Waymo as another component and systems supplier for future Honda cars, much in the same way that brands like Mobileye have provided vision-based systems for adaptive cruise control and other technologies to firms like Tesla. Honda and Waymo, the autonomous car company spun off from Google, are in talks that could potentially see future Honda cars get Waymo-powered self-driving abilities. Discussions are underway between Honda R&D – the Japanese automaker’s research and development arm – and Waymo, Honda confirmed today. Although initially that would likely lead to another expansion of the Waymo fleet, beyond that it could mean far more advanced driver-assistance systems in Honda cars. last_img read more

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Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus shows off 004S supercar

first_imgSOURCE: MotorTrend Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus or SCG has unveiled a new supercar that will slip into its line under that $2 million 003 hypercar. The new car is called the SCG 004S and it’s much more “affordable” with a price of around $100,000. That much loot will get you a very cool car that the company calls a “fully legal race car for the road.” The 004S packs in a 650hp engine and tips the scales at a svelte 2,500 pounds. The car looks fantastic, just as a super expensive sports car should. There are lots of aero bits and the greenhouse is rounder than you might expect on a supercar.Inside the 004S channels the infamous McLaren F1 with a three-person seating arrangement that puts the driver in the dead center of the car. Passengers ride behind and to the sides of the driver. It looks as if it might be a bit hard to get into that driver’s seat.The manual transmission has a gated shifter that looks like something out of an old Lamborghini. The gauges in the rendering are all manual with little digital crammed inside. The only modern conveniences that appear to be in the car are a rearview camera and an iPhone dock.The engine powering the car is a 5.0L twin-turbo with an 8,500 rpm redline with about 650hp and 531 lb-ft of torque. For those who don’t want that gated manual transmission a paddle-shifted auto will be an option. Only 250 of the cars will be made per year.last_img read more

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Audi R8 to reportedly lose V10 and go allelectric by 2022 Updated

first_imgThe Audi R8 is a very cool car and is far from common. It’s rare to see them on the road in most areas. The R8 is currently powered by an Audi V10 engine. That will change with word surfacing that by 2022 Audi plans to ditch the beloved V10 in favor of all-electric propulsion. The demise of the V10 is no big surprise, Audi is also starting to end the use of V8 engines in its cars with rides like the RS4 and RS5 adopting turbo V6 engines instead. There are still some V8 rides in the Audi line with the A6, A7, and A8 as well as Audi’s SQ7 SUV. It would be no surprise to see the V8 in these cars get discontinued in the future, much as Audi has discontinued the manual transmission in the US.Word is that when the next R8 launches around 2022 there will be no combustion engine offered in the car, Autocar reports. Audi is expected to use liberal bits of the PB18 e-tron concept that was seen in Pebble Beach this year. That concept car was interesting packing 764bhp with three electric motors. It had a wagon-style rear end and aimed to be more daily practical than the current R8.Many will lament the loss of the V10 in Audi’s supercar, but the new electric model will still perform well. The PB18 e-tron claimed a top speed of around 186mph and a 0-62mph time of around two seconds. Audi has seen sales slump for many of its models in recent years, including the R8. AdChoices广告The company is trying to reinvent itself as an electric car maker and plans to sell lots of EVs to the tune of about a third of its overall sales by 2025. Figures being tossed around for the EV R8 include as much as 1000bhp, a 0-62mph time of around two seconds, and AWD.Update: We’ve been digging, and the word among people familiar with Audi’s plans – early as they may be considering how far out we are from a new R8 – is that the drivetrain situation isn’t so clear cut. As it stands, so we’re hearing, things are still very much at the discussion phase as to what Audi might do for the new R8’s powertrain. As such there are a few possibilities, including the chance of an “R8 e-tron” alongside a more conventional V10 R8, rather than an either/or situation. In short, nothing has been decided finally, so don’t get disappointed prematurely if you’re a fan of internal-combustion still.last_img read more

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Googles 099 movie rentals are back in Ultimate Weekend deal

first_imgStory TimelinePlayStation Productions studio will turn games into movies and TV showsInternet backlash won: Sonic the Hedgehog movie kicked to 2020Robert Pattinson confirmed to star as Batman in 2021 movie Ultimate Movie Weekend appears to be a digital movie rental deal spanning multiple platforms, with both Walmart’s Vudu and Apple’s iTunes also participating. Select movie rentals have been discounted to $0.99, with the discounted titles appearing identical on each platform.The cheapest movies in this weekend promotion include Wonder Woman, The Equalizer, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Forrest Gump, Suicide Squad, American Sniper, Man of Steel, The LEGO Movie, The Conjuring 2, and more. The full list of discounted movie rentals can be found here.The Ultimate Movie Weekend isn’t limited to just $0.99 titles, however. Customers looking for a movie released at a more recent date have other options, such as Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse for $2.99 instead of $5.99. That same discount is also available for Aquaman, Isn’t It Romantic, Cold Pursuit, What Men Want, The Mule, A Star is Born, and more.Customers will also find some mid-tier discounts, with movies that originally cost $3.99 being discounted to $1.99. Ultimately, the deal includes a large selection of new and mostly new movies at discounted rate, though not all of them have been slashed down to the $0.99 cent level. The promotion will only be available this weekend. If you missed the ultra-cheap $0.99 movie rentals deal Google launched in February, good news: it’s ‘Ultimate Movie Weekend’ on the Google Play Movies & TV store. Under this new deal, Google is offering movie rentals at $0.99 each, including blockbuster titles and popular options from a number of major studios. last_img read more

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2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive – The Wagon Agenda

first_imgIt was while going sideways on a frozen lake in the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country that I began to seriously question the wisdom of giving the American customer what they want. For years now, the answer to that question at car dealerships across the US has been “an SUV, please.” That may be what they want, but what they actually need is something very different. Yes, I’m talking about wagons again, and no, I haven’t given up on coaxing American drivers out of the SUVs they think they need. Neither has Volvo, for that matter, though the automaker is willing to undertake a little subterfuge in order to get you to take your wagon medicine.Enter, sneakily, the V60 Cross Country. Occupying the space between the regular V60 wagon and the XC60 SUV, it’s a jacked-up tweener, a true crossover. Almost 3-inches more ride height, beefier cladding, and a generally more imposing aesthetic than the standard V60 so as to placate those who want their daily driver to also be a suit of armor. Just the one 2020 V60 Cross CountryVolvo doesn’t have unreasonable expectations for the cars, though it is a little more ambitious than before. Despite initial expectations, the V60 Cross Country won’t in fact be a special-order item in the US. Like the V60, it will be stocked on dealer lots in the US, a sly duo hoping to sway some would-be SUV shoppers. All the same, the automaker will be keeping things fairly simple rather than overwhelming with choice. There’ll be just one 2020 V60 Cross Country trim, and a single engine option. That’s Volvo’s T5, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque that arrives from 1,800 rpm. All-wheel drive is standard, using a BorgWarner system, as is an 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s not an overpowered drivetrain, though neither is the V60 Cross Country T5 slow. 0-60 mph arrives in 6.8 seconds; the top speed is 143 mph. I’d not have argued with the T6 – its addition of supercharging nudges power up to 316 hp and torque up to 295 lb-ft – though having driven the V60 T8 Plug-In Hybrid I’m not terribly disappointed it won’t be offered in the US in Cross Country form. Cross Country on iceTo explain why, you have to go back to that sideways ice action. Volvo had supplied not only the V60 Cross Country T5 AWD, but a handsome V60 T8 to experiment with on its frozen lake in northern Sweden it had invited me out to. In theory the hybrid – which applies its gas-derived grunt to the front wheels and electric force to the rear, with no mechanical link between the two – should out-power and out-perform the turbo-4. The reality, though, is that the electrification is a little too binary for you to fully appreciate that extra heaping of hybrid help. The T5 AWD splits its power up to 50/50 front to rear, judiciously squirting torque to the back axle in a way that’s progressive and predictable (not to mention fun, as the sideways direction implies). The T8’s rear power, in contrast, seems to wade in at the flick of a switch: there’s the unsettling feeling that you’re losing grip, and then the electric drive kicks in with a jolt. Out on public roads, with plentiful snowdrifts and no shortage of black ice, the V60 Cross Country T5’s sure-footedness was even more appreciated. Volvo had slapped on a set of Michelin X-Ice North snow tires, complete with studs; in the US, there’ll be a more traditional set of standard rubber. It should ride a little softer than the V60, too, Volvo having dialed down the spring rates by 8-percent to soak up more obstinate bumps. We’ll need American roads, wheels, and rubber before making a final judgement. The other big change over the V60 is the Cross Country’s AWD drive mode. It primarily adds Hill Descent Control, which automatically starts when you begin to descend a steep incline at low speed. While it won’t steer you around obstacles it does handle smooth braking and acceleration, and does so with quiet efficiency. Cabin feverIf you’ve ever bemoaned your heated steering wheel’s inability to boil your fingers like spoiled little hotdogs, the V60 Cross Country’s roasting rim should set you right. The three levels of heating crank up to frankly uncomfortable temperatures, while the heated seats are similarly toasty. It’s a sign of how seriously Volvo’s cabin design sweats – in some cases quite literally – the small stuff. Those who have sat in a recent Volvo back to the XC90 will find it a familiar place. Big 9-inch Sensus touchscreen in the center console flanked with elegant metal trim; sturdy but comfortable leather wrapped around superbly supportive seats; and an attention to detail on the touch-points that has rightly earned the automaker acclaim. It feels special, but without the feeling that the Swedes are slavishly aping what Audi and Mercedes are doing.Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system is getting a shiny new upgrade soon, which will hopefully speed it up some, but even in this current form there are still advantages over rival platforms. The ability to have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto occupy a window rather than take over the whole screen, for instance, is something most other systems could still learn from, as is the fact that support for each is standard. Sensus is also where you control the various active safety features.They fall under the umbrella of Volvo City Safety, and include things like forward collision assistance that helps with the brakes and steering if a crash into a vehicle, cyclist, pedestrian, or a large animal is likely. Run-off Road Mitigation and Run-off Road Protection respectively help you stay out of the ditch or at least cushion your impact if you do end up there. Happily I didn’t encounter a moose to challenge the braking assistance, and nor would Volvo permit me access to the 790 pound rubber replica it uses to test its cars. However I can confirm that the automatically-tightening seatbelts – designed to hold you in place if the car thinks you’re about to lose control – will indeed fire into action when you’re in ESC Sport mode and kicking the rear end out on the ice. They go from “gentle embrace” to “furious Swedish nanny insists you stay in your chair” with startling rapidity.The allure of the unusualNobody is saying wagons don’t sell in the US. It’s just that, in relation to SUVs and crossovers, they sell in vanishingly small numbers. That’s despite something like the 2020 V60 Cross Country actually offering – at 23.2 cubic feet – a little more trunk space than its XC60 SUV sibling with the rear seats up, not to mention a more rewarding experience behind the wheel thanks to a lower center of gravity and a smudge less weight. The reality is that it’s not pragmatism driving the decision – otherwise Audi buyers would be flocking to the excellent A4 Allroad, the Volvo’s natural competitor in the US, rather than making the Q5 the best-seller – but the emotional response. So, in my quest to get you out of an SUV and into a wagon instead, I have to argue on the basis of how I think the 2020 V60 Cross Country might make you feel.Rarity may be the strongest lure: the fact that it’s very, very unlikely you’ll bump into another Cross Country driver. That it’s an undeniably handsome and beautifully made car, too, in a way that’s distinctive from German visions of luxury. If you want all that with a relatively affordable price tag, while Volvo hasn’t confirmed how much the Cross Country will cost yet, I’m expecting it to start below $45k and thus undercut the Audi. When US sales of the 2020 V60 Cross Country begin this quarter, and deliveries in July or thereabouts, we’ll find out quite how many American drivers are willing to open their garages, wallets, and hearts to some Swedish exotica. The wagon has already had its reinvention. Now, it’s time for the rest of us to catch up.center_img Story Timeline2018 Volvo XC60 First Drive: The best Swedish all-rounder since ABBA2019 Volvo S60 first drive: A Swedish revelation2019 Volvo V60 first drive: The wagon’s time has come 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country Gallerylast_img read more

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Verizons 60day lock approved by FCC and theyre right

first_imgOnce Verizon began to take part in Block C spectrum with the FCC, they became subject to rules which stopped the locking of phones. This meant that if you purchased a phone from Verizon, you could potentially walk right out the door and over to an AT&T, for example, and buy a SIM card that’d work (to some degree). Now, thanks to a new waiver on the part of the FCC, Verizon is allowed to keep their phones locked to their network for 60 days after purchase. Verizon’s ArgumentVerizon contends that the 60-day lockdown period is in place to combat fraud. To the average internet denizen, this might seem like nonsense or some sort of unreasonable, made up, goofiness. In reality, this ruling might be the first time I agree with both the FCC and Verizon on a ruling which includes greater power for the carrier.As the most giant smartphone service carrier in the United States, Verizon is subject to a significant amount of fraud attempts. As we discussed in our numbers rundown on this subject earlier this year, fraudsters steal thousands of devices each year. In the study “2018 Identity Fraud: Fraud Enters a New Era of Complexity” by Javelin Strategy and Research, the number of new-account mobile phone account frauds were up to 340,000 for the year 2017. One of the most major ways in which fraud is committed is with identity theft, where a person will use a stolen ID to buy a phone, then turn around and sell it on the black market. The other major way in which fraud is committed is with what Verizon calls “first-party fraud”, where a person will buy a Verizon phone with a contract, but will never actually pay for said phone (also likely selling said phone on the black market). AdChoices广告In the document announcing the waver, the FCC relays the Verizon claim that “handset fraud cost the company approximately $190 million in 2018, up from approximately $115 million in 2017, and that it lost almost 210,000 devices in 2018, up from approximately 155,000 devices in 2017.” FCC waiver timeThe FCC heard these arguments and agreed that a 60-day carrier lock on all standard network phones purchased at Verizon was appropriate. This does not include prepaid phones, only everything else.The FCC ruled that the lockdown must be automatically lifted after 60 days, regardless of if the customer asked for an unlock. The period during which the phones are locked will, apparently, allow for users to realize fraud occurred as well as time for Verizon to take action in an effort to rectify said fraud.What’s the issue?Besides the basic “rules are rules” argument against the FCC giving Verizon a 60-day waiver of said rules, what customers will have an issue with this lock? People who don’t want to activate their phone with Verizon? People who want to buy the phone all at once for full retail?In both cases, why not just buy from the manufacturer? Only a couple instances occur now where Verizon has an absolute exclusive on a smartphone, and they’re most certainly not the sort of phone that a significant amount of people are looking for. Like the Palm phone. [UPDATE: Actually Palm now sells their phone at other carriers, like AT&T and T-Mobile.] Or the Google Pixel. [UPDATE: Actually you can buy Pixel phones straight through Google, or with Google Fi.]Verizon doesn’t sell DROID phones anymore – and the Moto Z3 works with Verizon, Google Fi, and Boost Mobile in the USA. So which phone are we looking at here? On which phones does Verizon have an unfair strangle hold? Story TimelineAndroid Q will offer carriers more power to lock down phonesVerizon’s Galaxy S10 5G released without one major featureMoto Z4 on Verizon comes with a 5G offerlast_img read more

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Viewpoints Look Whos Worried About Activist Judges Now No Matter What The

first_imgViewpoints: Look Who’s Worried About Activist Judges Now; No Matter What The Court Decides, A Bipartisan Plan Will Be Needed The New York Times: The Liberal Embrace Of Judicial Restraint It’s a great pleasure, in this week when the entire political world is hanging on the Supreme Court’s health care ruling, to welcome so many liberals to a cause dear to my heart: The crusade for judicial restraint (Ross Douthat, 6/26). Lexington Herald-Leader/McClatchy Newspapers: Dump The Politics And Fix The U.S. Health Care SystemWhatever the Supreme Court decides, this is the question each Kentuckian should ask his or her representative and senators: How will you work with members of the other party to create a system that gives all Americans access to good, affordable health care? How will you provide us with access to insurance coverage as good as what the government provides for you (Tom Eblen, 6/27)?Richmond Times-Dispatch: At Least Reduce Waste, Fraud, AbuseRecently, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) told Congress that “more needs to be done” to reduce improper payments due to waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid. That’s an understatement. Last year, Medicare alone made $43 billion in improper payments. Medicaid made an estimated $21.9 billion in improper payments in 2011. The Affordable Care Act — the 2010 federal health reform law — took some major steps to help ensure that Medicare and Medicaid dollars are spent wisely. Unfortunately, those efforts may stall if the Supreme Court finds the more controversial parts of the act unconstitutional this week (Bill Lucia, 6/27).Richmond Times-Dispatch: Both Sides, Back To The Drawing BoardThis week, the ACA’s destiny lies in the hands of the Supreme Court’s justices, who have worked for months to determine whether the legislation will stand, be minced into pieces, or chucked entirely. Because it was jammed through Congress on a strongly partisan basis, real health care reform has taken a back seat as the court mulls over the legislation’s constitutionality. Regardless of the Supreme Court decision, Congress should discuss, debate, and pass reforms that promote patients’ rights while controlling health care costs, improving quality, and expanding access (Donald J. Palmisano, 6/27).Bloomberg: The Unhealthy Politics Of Health CareReforming health care self-evidently involves intensely political choices, but the issues aren’t exclusively political. Getting to grips with such a complex issue also demands a widely accepted body of analysis. Never in control, but somewhere in the picture, must be the trusted nonaligned expert (Clive Crook, 6/26).Bloomberg: Federal Mandates Are Almost Always A Bad Idea Although I am open to having state governments require more health coverage, I fear a federal government with too much power to control individual behavior. The track record of federal interventions in managing markets suggests a strong case for limiting that power. The question of bestowing appropriate power on the federal government depends not on the health-care issue alone, but on whether you think — on the whole — that the U.S. government does good things when it heavily regulates behavior (Edward Glaeser, 6/26).The Wall Street Journal: What Good Is A GOP Senate? Will it matter if Republicans take over the Senate this November? Not much if you judge by the TV ads trashing Paul Ryan and the House budget reforms, courtesy of Republican Senate candidate Denny Rehberg. The six-term Montana Congressman is gunning for Jon Tester, in what is one the GOP’s best chances to defeat a Democratic incumbent. The Montana Republican Party has been running 30-second TV spots touting Mr. Rehberg as an “independent thinker,” and neither word is true. The ad goes on to note (with a glint) that “Rehberg refused to support a Republican budget plan that could harm the Medicare program so many of Montana’s seniors rely on,” and in “a partisan town”—presumably not Billings—”Rehberg refuses to toe the party line” (6/26). Des Moines Register: Ryan’s Federal Budget Plan Is Bold And CompassionateThe Obama approach jeopardizes our long-term ability to pay for America’s social safety net. The budget office reports that Obamacare made health care cost containment worse, not better. It says mandatory federal spending on health care will increase from 5.4 percent of gross domestic product to 10.4 percent of GDP over the next 25 years (Tom Quiner, 6/26).The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Fiscal Fallout Of ObesityThere are two key components to ensure this initiative is a success. The first is the recognition that we all have to take more personal responsibility when it comes to managing our weight…. The second component involves working together to make sure our communities are more conducive to choices and practices that will help curtail obesity (Dr. Phillip L. Williams, 6/26).The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Epidemic Has Heavier Price For ChildrenMost importantly, we must, as a state, focus on those who are paying the true price of obesity and that’s our children. We’re doing that through Georgia SHAPE, a statewide childhood obesity initiative, because we know the longer a person struggles with obesity the greater the chance for harm. So we’re starting early in addressing obesity from birth through the elementary, middle and high school years (Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, 6/26).JAMA: Health Information Technology In The Era Of Care Delivery ReformThe inspiration for a better approach to HIT can best be described by the concept popularized by the Bauhaus school of architecture: “form ever follows function.” Applied to HIT, this suggests beginning with the “function” of integrated, efficient, team-oriented care and following with the “form,” or design of the IT. However, much of HIT today is designed to track billable episodes of care and focuses on maximizing revenue under fee-for-service payment systems. These EHR systems generally do not facilitate integrated, team-oriented, cost-conscious care (Dr. Asaf Bitton, Lydia A. Flier and Dr. Ashish K. Jha, 6/27).JAMA: Assessing Individual Physician PerformanceIf US society needs physicians as change leaders, it must consider how their motivation is affected by assessments that quantify and reward their behaviors. The motivation of highly skilled persons who perform complex work has been widely studied in the management sciences and psychology literatures. Insights from these disciplines should be considered as incentive programs in health care are developed and refined (Drs. Christine K. Cassel and Sachin H. Jain, 6/27). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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Fiscal Cliff Talks Morph Into HighStakes Game Of Political Chicken

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. White House negotiators and GOP lawmakers remain at odds over a deficit-reduction plan with only weeks to go before automatic spending cuts and tax increases are triggered. Policymakers seek a two-step deal with an initial round of spending cuts and changes to the tax code in January, followed by an overhaul of the tax code and entitlement programs next year.The Wall Street Journal: Fiscal Cliff Talks At StalemateThe White House and congressional Republicans remained at loggerheads—in both public and private—over how to design a deficit-reduction package, with just a few weeks remaining before the nation hits the fiscal cliff. … Policy makers are aiming to secure a two-step deal by year-end. The first would lock in an initial round of spending cuts and potentially make changes to the tax code that would take effect in January. The second would require policy makers to pursue an overhaul of the tax code and entitlement programs, with the White House setting August as its target date for the negotiations to end (Paletta and O’Connor, 12/3).The Associated Press/Washington Post: White House, Republicans Play Game Of Political Chicken As Fiscal Cliff NearsThe White House says Republicans should come clean about how much they’re willing to raise tax rates on the rich. Republicans counter that President Barack Obama’s latest plan is a joke that avoids tough decisions on the nation’s biggest entitlement programs, including Medicare (12/3).The New York Times: Negotiators Leading Talks On Fiscal Crisis Defend StandsThe separate television appearances of the two men came after their private meeting on Capitol Hill on Thursday, when Mr. Geithner outlined the president’s positions for about $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the first 10 years to Mr. Boehner and the No. 2 Republican in the House, Eric Cantor of Virginia. The specifics were the same as those proposed by Mr. Obama in his budget earlier this year, without any additional concessions. The proposal includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue from upper-income taxpayers; $600 billion in reduced spending for Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies and other programs; $1 trillion in other spending cuts that the president and Congress committed to last year for the coming decade; and an $800 billion reduction in projected war spending, reflecting the winding down of American combat operations overseas (Calmes, 12/2).The New York Times’ News Analysis: Criticized As Weak In Past Talks, Obama Takes Harder LineHis approach is born of painful experience. In his first four years in office, Mr. Obama has repeatedly offered what he considered compromises on stimulus spending, health care and deficit reduction to Republicans, who either rejected them as inadequate or pocketed them and insisted on more. Republicans argued that Mr. Obama never made serious efforts at compromise and instead lectured them about what they ought to want rather than listening to what they did want. Either way, the two sides were left at loggerheads over the weekend with less than a month until a series of painful tax increases and spending cuts automatically take effect, risking what economists say would be a new recession (Baker, 12/2).The Wall Street Journal: GOP Takes Aim At EntitlementsSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined potential changes to Medicare and Social Security in an interview Friday, providing fresh clarity on the concessions Republicans would like to see from Democrats … Mr. McConnell (R., Ky.) said bipartisan agreement on higher Medicare premiums for the wealthy, an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and slowing cost-of-living increases for Social Security could move both parties closer to a budget deal … Some Democrats have said they were open to more so-called means testing in Medicare, which would charge higher premiums to higher-income recipients (Bendavid and Hook, 11/30).The Washington Post: Lindsay Graham: ‘I Think We’re Going Over The Cliff'”I think we’re going over the cliff. It’s pretty clear to me they made a political calculation. This offer doesn’t remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy. It raises $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy and there are no spending controls,” Graham said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” Graham had signaled a willingness to violate Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge to avert the “fiscal cliff” if Democrats made an effort to reform entitlements. But he said Sunday the White House’s plan for entitlement reform was laughable (Sullivan, 12/ 2).The New York Times: Trusted Aide To Obama Faces Test in Budget ShowdownWhen President Obama was locked in painful spending negotiations with House Republicans last spring, his exceedingly meticulous budget director, Jacob J. Lew, went to the Oval Office to propose some complex budget changes. … With his owlish glasses and low-key manner, Mr. Lew may come off as just a policy nerd. But he is a fierce negotiator. When defending social safety net programs, particularly those like Medicaid that help the poor, he morphs into a warrior, Republicans say, though he has proved willing to make concessions (Stolberg, 12/1). Politico: The Cold, Hard Realities Behind Medicare CutsDemocrats have said they can cut Medicare spending without touching seniors’ benefits. But here’s the reality: They can’t get several hundred billion dollars out of Medicare without at least some beneficiaries taking a hit. And that could be a big problem if the framework for a fiscal cliff deal calls for $400 billion in entitlement savings — most of which would be likely to come from Medicare (Haberkorn and Cunningham, 12/2). CQ HealthBeat: Republicans Point To Health Care, Social Security Changes In Fiscal DealRepublicans may be sharply denouncing what they called an unrealistic fiscal proposal from President Obama, but beneath that heated rhetoric lawmakers and conservatives also pointed Friday toward areas of potential compromise and broad suggestions for the changes they want to see in entitlement programs. Those included calls for changes in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that stop well short of overhauling those programs, as GOP leaders have sought amid this year’s budget and electoral battles, but add up to the kinds of savings Republicans want in exchange for higher revenue. “I’m not dogmatic and ideological on fixing problems but this president is losing all ability to negotiate with Republicans who want to solve problems with the kind of offer he put on the table yesterday,” Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, told reporters (Goldfarb and Weyl, 11/30).CQ HealthBeat: Drugmakers Hardest Hit If Cliff Deal Includes Obama CutsWho are the biggest losers if a fiscal cliff deal includes the health care cuts put on the table by President Barack Obama in an initial offer this week? Well, the pharmaceutical industry, skilled nursing facilities, teaching hospitals and imaging suppliers would not be happy. Neither would future seniors. The drugmakers in particular would take a hit to their profits. And future seniors would see higher charges for Medigap policies that pick up charges Medicare doesn’t cover. In his opening cliff offer outlined this week, the president says he would save $400 billion over 10 years through changes to entitlements first outlined in his fiscal 2013 budget proposal (Reichard, 11/30).The Denver Post: Fiscal Cliff: How Colorado Health Care Will Be AffectedThe fiscal cliff is no ethereal metaphor in Colorado’s health-care community — it would be a calamity for thousands of health and medical jobs because of Medicare cuts, in one of the few industries that remained a bright spot in the recession. Other federal budget cuts required by the cliff’s “sequestration” provisions could severely hamper such public-health efforts as vaccinations, food safety and doctor training (Booth, 11/30). ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Talks Morph Into High-Stakes Game Of Political Chickenlast_img read more

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CBO Cadillac Taxs Bark May Be Worse Than Its Bite

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Bloomberg: Health Law’s Cadillac Tax Bite on Companies Drops by $57 BillionThe U.S. health-care law’s projected tax bite on businesses with more generous health benefits is dropping as medical spending slows and employers look to rein in the cost of coverage. The 2010 Affordable Care Act’s so-called Cadillac tax on high-premium health plans was initially projected to bring in $137 billion over the next decade. That estimate has now been trimmed to about $80 billion, a $57 billion decrease, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report this week (Nusbaum, 5/16). CBO: Cadillac Tax’s Bark May Be Worse Than Its Bitelast_img read more

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State Highlights Ga Lawmakers Consider Hospital Tax Extension Surprise Medical Bills Calif

first_img A statewide safe-sleeping campaign featuring free cardboard “Baby Boxes” rolled out Thursday at Cooper University Hospital, part of the newest effort to reduce the number of infants dying from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (or SUIDS). (Mulford, 1/26) The Associated Press: Bill Allows Research, Transplants With HIV-Positive Organs A surprise bill can be the result of “balance billing.” This occurs when the patient is pursued for the balance after his or her health insurer pays its share to the medical provider. The problem is that the balance often turns out to be much more than the patient anticipated. Two state lawmakers have introduced separate bills in the General Assembly to prevent these surprise bills. Other states, including Florida, recently have passed legislation to address the problem. (Miller, 1/26) The Star Tribune: Two New Clinics Meet ‘Huge Need’ For Health Care At North Metro Community Colleges Columbus Dispatch: CoverMyMeds’ Sale For $1.1 Billion Touted As ‘Seminal’ For Central Ohio USA Today: New Jersey Is Giving Every New Mom A ‘Baby Box’ In Move To Lower Infant Mortality Rates Public health officials throughout Southern California are grappling with alarming increases in syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia that are part of a national epidemic. In 2015, total combined cases of the three sexually transmitted diseases reached an all-time high, according to a late 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report noted that gonorrhea rates were at historic lows and syphilis was close to elimination earlier in the 2000s but now the STDs pose “a substantial health challenge.” (Perkes, 1/26) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: $2.3 Million Grant To Double MATC Nursing Program A pregnant Bexar County resident has been diagnosed with the Zika virus after traveling to Brownsville in November, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced Wednesday. She is the first pregnant woman in Texas to be infected without traveling outside of the state. The Department of State Health Services said she was in Brownsville around the time mosquitoes there infected six people. The local transmissions were reported between Nov. 28 and Dec. 22. (Martin, 1/26) Tampa Bay Times: Trulieve Opens Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Tampa  The chaotic scene was a drill, part of a daylong training about how to respond to an improvised explosive device blast, offered at the Wisconsin EMS Association’s annual conference. The conference, which ends Saturday, brought hundreds of first-responders from around the state to the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. This year was the first time the event offered specific training to address an IED situation, such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. (Luthern, 1/26) San Jose Mercury News: Why Are Southern California STD Rates Through The Roof? State Highlights: Ga. Lawmakers Consider Hospital Tax Extension, ‘Surprise’ Medical Bills; Calif. STD Rates Skyrocket Outlets report on news from Georgia, California, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Delaware, Hawaii, Colorado, Ohio, Arizona, Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, Florida and Virginia. California Healthline: California Fines Kaiser Permanente $2.5 Million Over Missing Medicaid Data Trulieve, one of seven companies in Florida authorized to grow marijuana and produce and sell cannabis pills and oil, opened in a former fitness gym at 8701 N Dale Mabry Highway. It’s Trulieve’s third location in Florida — the others are in Clearwater and Tallahassee — and the latest in a plan to expand to all of the state’s major markets, said chief executive officer Kim Rivers. A St. Petersburg location is expected to open later this year. The goal is to improve access for patients, Rivers said. Trulieve, which has a growing and production facility near Tallahassee, already delivers anywhere in the state, but patients can avoid a delivery fee by picking up their medication in person. (Marrero, 1/26) The [Delaware] state Senate has approved a bill that allows people who are HIV positive to donate organs for research or transplantation. The legislation was approved unanimously Thursday with no debate and now goes to the House. (Chase, 1/26) San Jose Mercury News: University Fined After Potentially Lethal Doses Of Caffeine Given To Students Up to 30 Colorado hospitals are opting out of the state’s new medical aid-in-dying law, either fully or in part, but whether that means the doctors they employ are banned from writing life-ending prescriptions is a controversy that could wind up in court. At this point, terminally ill Coloradans who want to end their lives under the law will need to find out whether their physicians are allowed to participate. (Brown, 1/26) An United Kingdom university has received a fine after a decimal point miscalculation caused students to consume the equivalent of 300 cups of coffee, resulting in medical treatment. In March 2015, two sports science students at Northumbria University were admitted to intensive care for dialysis after consuming 30g of caffeine, the BBC reported. The prosecutor told the court that the test performed by the sports science department caused the two volunteer students to suffer and “could easily have been fatal”. (Baca, 1/26) Denver Post: About 30 Hospitals Opting Out Of Colorado’s Medical Aid-In-Dying Law  Milpitas has expanded its smoking ban to include outdoor dining areas around the city beginning on Feb. 2. The City Council on Jan. 3 held a second reading to adopt the expanded smoking ban to include marijuana, e-cigarettes and hookahs. (Mohammed, 1/26) Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cleveland Lead Safe Network Forms To Prevent Childhood Lead Poisoning  Atlanta Business Chronicle: Georgia Senate To Take Up Hospital Tax Extension  Cleveland Plain Dealer: Akron Children’s Hospital Unveils $4.5 Million Pediatric Behavioral Health Unit center_img San Antonio Press Express: Bexar County Resident First Pregnant Woman Infected With Zika In Texas  Arizona Republic: Bill Would Legalize Sunscreen In Arizona Schools Two new health clinics treated their first patients on the campuses of north metro community colleges in recent weeks, improving access for a group of young people that research shows is in urgent need of such care. North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park and Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids debuted health clinics this semester. The two colleges join a small but growing number of two-year schools in the state to offer clinic-style services. (Covington, 1/26) Akron Children’s Hospital has finished construction of its $4.5 million, 24-bed inpatient pediatric behavioral health unit. An expansion of the existing unit, the new inpatient pediatric behavioral health unit features 10 additional beds and 14 upgraded rooms. The completed unit is designed to help Akron Children’s Hospital better meet the demands of area children and adolescents in need of behavioral health services. (Becka, 1/26) Hospitalization for influenza have surpassed 1,000, trampling the previous record set in 2014-15, when 810 people were hospitalized in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. A type of influenza A – H2N3 – circulated in 2014-15 and is the dominant strain this season too. For an unknown reason, it hits older people the hardest. So far this season, those 51 and older account for 85 percent of those hospitalized, a number that’s similar to the 2014-15 season. In comparison, about 70 percent of those 51 and older were hospitalized with the flu in last year’s season. (Terry, 1/26) Milwaukee Area Technical College will double enrollment in the college’s registered nursing program over the next three years and address the nursing shortage in Wisconsin under a $2.3 million grant from United Health Foundation, the organizations announced Thursday. The three-year grant will help MATC increase the enrollment of the nursing program by 100 students beginning in fall 2017. The program currently enrolls 350 students. (Carloni, 1/26) The Associated Press: Hawaii Bill Would Classify Homelessness As Medical Condition The owner of Community Angels Ambulance will serve two years in prison after being convicted of money laundering and health care fraud. Terry Johnson, 43, of Hamilton, was sentenced in U.S. District Court after admitting to submitting more than $1.4 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare and Medicaid, according to a news release from United States Attorney of the Southern District of Ohio’s office. Over about seven years, court documents say Johnson fraudulently billed the federal health insurance programs for transportation services when patients were not transported in an ambulance or other vehicle. (Brookbank, 1/26) Cincinnati Enquirer: Ambulance Company Owner Sentenced In Medicare Fraud Case Georgia Health News: Georgia Lawmakers To Tackle ‘Surprise’ Medical Billing To Patients  Virginia’s Senate voted Thursday to expand the use of marijuana oil for medical purposes after a spirited debate that veered into presidential drug usage, 1960s hippie culture and the comically long list of potential side effects recited on some TV pharmaceutical ads. (Vozzella, 1/26) The Oregonian: Flu Hospitalizations Set New Record In Portland Area  As an emergency room doctor, Hawaii Sen. Josh Green sees homeless patients suffering from diabetes, mental health problems and an array of medical issues that are more difficult to manage when they are homeless or do not have permanent housing. That’s why Green says he wants homelessness classified under Hawaii state law as a medical condition. If homelessness is a disease, he reasons, then doctors should be able to write prescriptions for the cure: Housing. (1/26) A tax on hospitals that supports Georgia’s Medicaid program would be extended until 2020 under legislation introduced in the state Senate Thursday. The so-called “bed” tax, which is due to expire this year, is a 1.45 percent levy on hospitals’ net revenues. Hospital officials support it because, without the additional revenue, the state would suffer a shortfall Medicaid funding with no alternative for filling the gap. (Williams, 1/26) The purchase of a young Columbus health-care technology company for $1.1 billion is being seen by central Ohio’a tech community as the kind of pivotal event that can take local startup efforts to a higher level. CoverMyMeds, which produces software used by doctors and pharmacists to obtain quick drug approval for patients, was bought by San Francisco-based wholesale drug distributor McKesson in a deal announced this week. (Williams, Rose and Feran, 1/26) For many Arizonans, sunscreen is as much a part of the daily ritual as cranking up the air-conditioner and refilling the water bottle. But while parents may slather it on their kids before sending them to school or summer camp, many schools forbid children from carrying it in their backpacks and re-applying it themselves. Sunscreen, like ibuprofen or cough medicine, is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an over-the-counter drug. As such, many school policies ban it without a doctor’s note. (Beard Rau, 1/26) California officials have fined health care giant Kaiser Permanente $2.5 million for failing to turn over required data on patient care to the state’s Medicaid program. The California Department of Health Care Services said this was the first fine imposed against one of its Medicaid managed care plans since at least 2000. The state relies on the data to help set rates, ensure adequate care is available and monitor how taxpayer dollars are being spent in the program, known as Medi-Cal in California. (Terhune, 1/26) A group of parents, residents, and volunteer experts in law, health and housing met for the first time Wednesday night to discuss ways to prevent Cleveland area children from being poisoned by lead in rental homes. The Cleveland Lead Safe Network’s primary goal is to help pass and implement laws that can prevent children from being exposed to the harmful heavy metal, which can be found in deteriorated paint or in the soil around homes built prior to 1978. That means making sure as many rental units in the area as possible are “lead safe”– meaning they’ve been tested for lead and don’t pose an immediate threat to the health of children. (Dissell, 1/26) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin EMS Staff Train For Active Shooters, IEDs The Washington Post: Va. Senate Votes To Expand Use Of Marijuana Oil To Treat More Illnesses San Jose Mercury News: Milpitas: Council Bans Smoking In Outdoor Dining Areas This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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Brookfield buys most of Oaktree in 48 billion deal to build juggernaut

first_img March 13, 20191:38 PM EDT Filed under News FP Street Brookfield Asset Management Inc said on Wednesday it will buy most of Oaktree Capital Group LLC in a roughly US$4.8 billion deal, creating an alternative-asset manager that would rival industry leader Blackstone Group in size.The decision by Oaktree, led by distressed debt investor Howard Marks, to sell a majority stake of itself comes after a sustained period in which its stock has underperformed the broader market.Oaktree’s stock is down around 13 per cent in the last five years, even after a price bump on Wednesday following the deal’s announcement. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index is up more than 50 per cent over the same time and Blackstone’s share price is up 4 per cent. Risky bet in the Financial Crisis has small Canadian pension fund leading the biggest private real estate project in U.S. history Caisse accelerates industrial real estate shift with deal for logistics firm Caisse and OMERS’ Oxford team up in $4.7 billion deal for warehouse developer IDI Logistics Brookfield approached Oaktree about the deal sometime during the fall season, a person familiar with the matter said. The deal is also a bet by Brookfield, which currently focuses on private equity, real estate, infrastructure and renewable power, on the prospects for investing in debt, which makes up around 70 per cent of Oaktree’s assets under management.“This transaction enables us to broaden our product offering to include one of the finest credit platforms in the world, which has a value-driven, contrarian investment style, consistent with ours,” Brookfield Chief Executive Bruce Flatt said in a statement.The combined businesses will have about US$475 billion of assets under management, Brookfield said in a statement. Industry leader Blackstone had US$472 billion in assets under management at the end of 2018.Oaktree shareholders can exchange each of their shares for either US$49 in cash or 1.0770 Class A shares of Brookfield. However, Brookfield said the total amount will be paid in 50 per cent stock and rest in cash. The offer represents an 11.8 per cent premium to Oaktree’s Tuesday closing price. The stock was up 11.8 per cent in mid-day trading.Both companies will continue to operate as independent businesses, while Marks, Oaktree’s co-chairman, would join Brookfield’s board of directors.Oaktree shareholders, consisting primarily of its founders, certain members of management and employees, will own the remaining 38 per cent of the company.Starting from 2022, Oaktree’s founders, senior management as well as current and former employee shareholders will be able to sell their remaining Oaktree units to Brookfield over time.© Thomson Reuters 2019 advertisement Reddit Featured Stories Comment Sponsored By: Join the conversation → Email Reuters Brookfield buys most of Oaktree in $4.8 billion deal to build juggernaut to rival Blackstone The deal is also a bet by Brookfield on the prospects for investing in debt, 70% of Oaktree’s assets under management 0 Comments Recommended For YouPrivate Family Photo and Video Sharing App FamilyAlbum Surpasses 5 Million UsersDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016The storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them through Twitter Share this storyBrookfield buys most of Oaktree in $4.8 billion deal to build juggernaut to rival Blackstone Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Joshua Franklin and Debroop Roy More ← Previous Next → Facebook What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Brookfield Asset Management Inc will buy a 62 per cent stake in Oaktree Capital Group LLC in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about US$4.8 billion.Reuters/Mark Blinch last_img read more

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CPPIB and Ontario Teachers on team buying British satellite operator Inmarsat for

first_imgCPPIB and Ontario Teachers’ on team buying British satellite operator Inmarsat for $3.4 billion Inmarsat last year rebuffed a slightly lower bid from U.S. rival EchoStar Reuters Featured Stories Recommended For YouDavid Rosenberg: How weak economic growth is actually fuelling this bull market’s riseIt’s getting harder to be a long-term investor: Here’s how to keep your focus on what really countsDavid Rosenberg: The hopes that fuelled the market rally are all evaporating — and now reality is setting inThe storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them throughTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permits March 25, 20197:29 AM EDT Filed under News FP Street The offices of satellite operator Inmarsat in central London.Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images Justin George Varghese What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation 1 Comments Reddit Join the conversation → Share this storyCPPIB and Ontario Teachers’ on team buying British satellite operator Inmarsat for $3.4 billion Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn A private equity-led consortium agreed to buy Inmarsat Plc for about US$3.4 billion in cash after the British satellite operator last year rebuffed a slightly lower bid from U.S. rival EchoStar.The consortium includes UK-based Apax Partners, U.S.-based Warburg Pincus and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.Inmarsat shareholders will get US$7.21 cash, or 546 pence per share. Inmarsat’s shares were up 8.5 per cent at 549 pence by 0910 GMT, just above the offer price.A takeover of the company could be closely scrutinized by the British authorities because of Inmarsat’s position as a strategic asset.The company was the first international satellite operator to be privatized, and Apax was part of the group that invested in 2003, before taking it public two years later.The offer comprises cash of US$7.09 for each share plus a previously agreed final dividend of US$0.12 per share, representing a nearly 45 percent premium to Inmarsat’s close on Feb. 27, a day before media reports said EchoStar was expected to renew its interest in the company.Related Stories:British watchdog to review Inmarsat’s sale to private equity consortiumInmarsat is a long established provider of communication services to shipping and sees a growing opportunity to supply in-flight broadband services to commercial aircraft.TOP SHAREHOLDER SUPPORTThe consortium said it received support from Inmarsat’s top shareholder Lansdowne Partners, which holds about an 11.4 per cent stake in the company.The consortium’s approach, which was made on Jan. 31 but disclosed only last week, comes after Inmarsat rebuffed a US$3.25 billion cash and stock bid from EchoStar last summer.Colorado-based EchoStar had proposed a cash and stock offer of 265 pence in cash and 0.0777 EchoStar shares for every Inmarsat share held, which valued Inmarsat at about 532 pence-a-share at the time.Inmarsat had argued it “very significantly undervalued” the company and its standalone prospects and EchoStar dropped the bid last July.Inmarsat said its directors consider the terms of the latest deal to be “fair and reasonable” and intends to unanimously recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the deal.Inmarsat has been investing heavily in its networks, particularly focusing on in-flight connectivity, and as a result cut its dividend last year.The stock has struggled in recent years as revenue in its maritime business – which is responsible for 41 per cent of its total – has been eroded by competitors.Inmarsat sees capital expenses moderating after 2020, which it hopes will boost cashflow. It also expects significant growth in markets including aviation and providing communications to the government.Inmarsat was advised by J.P. Morgan Cazenove, PJT Partners and Credit Suisse on the financial terms. © Thomson Reuters 2019 advertisement Email More Twitter Comment Sponsored By: Facebook ← Previous Next →last_img read more

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Brushing off doubts Pence says US will approve USMCA by summer

first_img Join the conversation → Pence brushed off questions about the dispute during a press conference, saying his administration was making “significant progress” and remained determined to work with both the Democrat leadership and the “rank and file” in advancing the deal.“We remain confident the USMCA will receive broad based support in Congress if it gets to a vote,” he said.The Trump administration needs to get the new NAFTA passed by summer or risk the deal being pushed onto the back burner when the U.S. presidential election season ramps up in the fall. The Trump-Pelosi fight, combined with ongoing disputes over former U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign, make a summer ratification “very unlikely,” said Todd Tucker, a fellow at the New York-based Roosevelt Institute.“I think they are very much stuck here at home with House Democrats who do not want to cooperate and they are very much slowing next steps,” said Tucker. “So if you’re running a campaign with targets who won’t talk to you, what do you do? You go to Ottawa, fill the time. There’s also a sense that if Mexico and Canada ratify it’ll give the deal some momentum with the Democrats.”So if (the Republicans are) running a campaign with targets who won’t talk to you, what do you do? You go to Ottawa, fill the time.Todd Tucker, fellow, Roosevelt Institute Sponsored By: 1 Comments More Naomi Powell What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Twitter Email Brushing off doubts, Pence says U.S. will approve USMCA ‘by summer’ Removal of tariffs helped, but plenty of hurdles stand in the way, not the least of which is the Trump-Pelosi dispute Share this storyBrushing off doubts, Pence says U.S. will approve USMCA ‘by summer’ Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has pledged to win Congressional approval for the new North American free trade agreement “by the summer,” even as a heated public fight between U.S. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi adds a new hurdle to the deal’s passage.Touting the revamped trade pact as a “win-win-win” agreement, Pence downplayed the impact of the Trump-Pelosi feud during a visit to Ottawa Thursday, suggesting the deal represented a historic opportunity to strengthen ties between Canada and the U.S.“Our administration is working earnestly in the Congress of the United States to approve the USMCA this summer,” Pence said. “The people of Canada and the United States know this agreement is superior to its predecessor in every way in the interests of jobs and growth and working people and investment and all the things that can improve the economies of our country and yours.”The ongoing softwood lumber dispute, the detention of two Canadians in China and continued Canadian access to the U.S. market for uranium — currently the subject of a U.S. Commerce Department national security investigation — were also discussed during Pence’s meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump drops steel and aluminum tariffs, clearing path for USMCA Half of Canadian executives say old NAFTA better for our economy than USMCA U.S. ‘not ready’ to make a trade deal with China, Trump says But staking out a route to ratification for the new North American free trade agreement was at the top of the agenda. The Liberals took key procedural steps this week to set the stage for ratification – including presenting implementing legislation for the deal – after U.S. tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum imports were dropped on May 21.Related Stories:Mexico and U.S. try new trade fix to win over Democrats -officialUPDATE 1-Trump, Xi set for high-stakes trade war talks in JapanUPDATE 4-Trump says trade deal ‘possible’ with China’s Xi, tariffs could be lowerMexico, which had joined Canada in refusing to ratify the new NAFTA while the levies remained, was to send the pact on Thursday to the Senate, where it should be ratified “soon,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said.Even so, ratification by a Democrat-controlled Congress remains far from certain, analysts say. Those lawmakers still want changes to the deal’s provisions on pharmaceuticals, labour and the environment. And the spat between Pelosi and Trump — which surfaced after a White House infrastructure meeting ended in an exchange of insults with Trump suggesting the trade deal was too complicated for Pelosi to understand — only adds to those challenges.As House Leader, Pelosi will decide if and when the new NAFTA advances to a vote in Congress and could do much to delay its progress.“One of the obstacles was removed when Trump lifted the tariffs,” said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “But now there’s a new one. There are all these medium-sized to big issues where Democrats want to see changes and there have to be negotiations before they can get a vote in Congress. So Pence is trying to get Canada to ratify as a way of getting some momentum going. If Canada ratifies, it’ll be viewed as a milestone.”There’s also a sense that if Mexico and Canada ratify it’ll give the deal some momentum with the Democrats.Todd Tucker, fellow, Roosevelt Institute center_img ← Previous Next → Featured Stories May 30, 20196:07 PM EDT Filed under News Economy Comment Recommended For YouAll 23 crew of seized British-operated tanker are safe -Iranian TVOptiv Security Brings Cybersecurity Innovation to Dallas-Fort WorthThe storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them throughTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know it Pence and Trudeau also touched on each country’s diplomatic issues with China and the potential security threat posed by Huawei Technologies Co.“We consider Huawei incompatible with the security interests of the United States of America or our allies in freedom-loving nations across the world,” Pence said.He also voiced support for the two Canadian men detained in China in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, on an extradition request from the U.S.The Trump administration “has spoken out strongly about the arrest and detention of two Canadian citizens in China,” Pence said. “Just know that we stand with you.”Pence’s comments seemed designed to strike a new tone in Washington’s relationship with Ottawa, following 17 months of often rocky negotiations on the new NAFTA and a fraught Group of Seven Summit that ended with Trump labelling Trudeau “weak” and “dishonest.”“President Trump and I believe the relationship between the United States and Canada has never been stronger and that is a reflection of his leadership and your leadership,” Pence told Trudeau. advertisement Reddit Facebook Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens as U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence makes opening remarks at the Canadian Council for the USMCA on Parliament Hill.Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press last_img read more

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Down to Business podcast How Canadas largest sports company is grappling with

first_imgDown to Business podcast: How Canada’s largest sports company is grappling with digital disruption Episode 6 of the weekly podcast from the Financial Post Emily Jackson advertisement Comment Twitter Facebook ← Previous Next → Email 0 Comments Share this storyDown to Business podcast: How Canada’s largest sports company is grappling with digital disruption Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generationcenter_img More Join the conversation → May 29, 20196:44 AM EDT Filed under News FP Street Sponsored By: Featured Stories Welcome to Down to Business, a weekly podcast from the Financial Post.To celebrate the Toronto Raptors making the NBA finals, our sixth episode covers North America’s $70-billion sports market. Humza Teherany, the chief technology and digital officer at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, talks to host Emily Jackson about how technology is changing the business and fan experience of major league sports.You can listen below — or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play, where you can also subscribe to get new episodes every Wednesday morning. If you have any questions about the show, or if there are topics you want us to tackle, email us: downtobusiness@postmedia.com. Down to Business podcast: Why the Canada-China trade relationship is making Canadian businesses uneasy Down to Business podcast: The real culprit behind Vancouver’s runaway real estate Recommended For YouDollar modestly higher in thin summer trading; upside limitedGoldman banker highlights Morgan Stanley’s Hong Kong IPO woesAll change again in zinc and lead’s relative value dance: Andy HomeLoonie steadies near 9-month high as home sales dipIn makeover mode, Burberry bets on new branding to boost sales Redditlast_img read more

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Loblaw profit beats expectations as more people shop at its food and

first_img More February 21, 20197:24 AM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing Loblaw Cos Ltd said retail same-store sales, both in the food and drug segments, grew 1.7 per cent in the quarter.Canadian Press Share this storyLoblaw profit beats expectations as more people shop at its food and drug stores Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Comment Loblaw Cos Ltd reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, as more people shopped at the Canadian retailer’s food and drug stores.In the face of stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc , Loblaw has been expanding its home delivery services in Canada, through its partnership with San Francisco-based online grocery chain, Instacart.Adjusted gross profit in the retail segment, the company’s biggest, rose 2.6 per cent to $3.25 billion.The company said retail same-store sales, both in the food and drug segments, grew 1.7 per cent in the quarter.Excluding items, the company earned $1.07 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.04 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.Net profit available to shareholders rose to $221 million, or 59 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec.31, from $31 million, or 8 cents per share, a year earlier.Revenue rose to $11.22 billion from $10.99 billion.© Thomson Reuters 2019 Featured Stories Twitter Reddit Email Recommended For YouCeridian Announces Second Quarter 2019 Earnings Release and Conference CallPuerto Rico governor vows to remain in office after violent protestsJapan’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries surge to near two-year peak -Treasury dataMexico’s Pemex cannot comply with reduced sulfur content rule -company documentCorn, soy slip on U.S. rains, better-than-expected crop ratings center_img What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Facebook 0 Comments Join the conversation → Sponsored By: Reuters advertisement Loblaw profit beats expectations as more people shop at its food and drug stores Canada’s largest grocer expands home delivery to compete with Amazon.com ← Previous Next →last_img read more

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Donald Trump is suing Deutsche Bank Capital One to stop them from

first_imgDonald Trump is suing Deutsche Bank, Capital One to stop them from handing over his finances Deutsche had been Trump’s go-to lender for decades, even as other banks stopped doing business with him Recommended For YouDownbeat Swedish earnings, oil slide hurt European sharesU.S. Democrat urges USTR to respond to proposals on US-Mexico-Canada trade dealPaint makers reach $305 mln settlement in California, ending marathon lead poisoning lawsuitTurkey’s restructuring stalls as banks, government wrestle with bad debtWall St falls as railroads slide after CSX signals trade impact Join the conversation → Peter Blumberg and Robert Burnson Bloomberg News More advertisement Sponsored By: Reddit Share this storyDonald Trump is suing Deutsche Bank, Capital One to stop them from handing over his finances Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Comment Donald Trump poses with his children Don Trump Jr., left, Ivanka and Eric at a ribbon cutting ceremony of the Trump International Hotel and Tower at Toronto in 2012.Ernest Doroszuk/Postmedia Facebook President Donald Trump sued to block Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. from complying with congressional subpoenas targeting his bank records, escalating the president’s showdown with Democratic lawmakers investigating his finances.The German lender has already begun the process of giving documents related to loans made to Trump or some of his businesses to the New York state attorney general, who is conducting her own probe, said a person familiar with the matter. The bank hasn’t yet handed over any client-related records to the House committees and will wait for the outcome of the legal proceedings, said the person, asking not to be identified in disclosing internal information.“The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family, and to ferret about for any material that might be used to cause him political damage,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the introduction to the 13-page complaint filed Monday in Manhattan federal court.Joining Trump as plaintiffs were his eldest children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump, as well as the Trump Organization, the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust and other entities affiliated with the president’s family.House Democrats’ investigations into President Trump’s finances and potential money laundering tied to Russia have prompted them to demand documents from nine banking giants, according to people familiar with the matter. Deutsche Bank, which lent Trump some US$340 million, has been a primary target of the House Financial Services Committee, led by Representative Maxine Waters.Both Waters and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff have been seeking information from Deutsche Bank since Democrats took over the House majority in January. Schiff said the Frankfurt-based bank has been cooperative with the investigations and their request was a “friendly subpoena.” Such a subpoena is typically submitted when a firm is willing to hand over documents but wants a formal request first.Related Stories:U.S. appeals court judges spar with Trump lawyer over bid to block House subpoenaExit of Deutsche Bank’s investment bank chief marks end of eraAfter Deutsche Bank cuts, where will the growth be?“We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations,” a Deutsche Bank spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.Deutsche Bank had been Trump’s go-to lender for decades, even as other commercial banks stopped doing business with him because of multiple bankruptcies. Although the German lender’s investment bank had severed ties with Trump during the financial crisis, after he defaulted on a loan and then sued the bank, its wealth management unit continued to extend him credit.The firm has stopped doing new business with Trump while he is president, a person briefed on the matter said previously.The complaint is very similar to one Trump filed last week in Washington to block Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, from getting records held by Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA LLP.The new case is Trump v. Deutsche Bank, 19-cv-03826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).With assistance from Steven AronsBloomberg.com Twitter Featured Stories 1 Comments ← Previous Next → Email What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation April 30, 20197:36 AM EDT Filed under News FP Street last_img read more

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A look at Volkswagens MEB architecture

first_imgThe result is a car with a range of 200 miles or more that can be mass-priced, or close, with the threat of range anxiety significantly abated. Nissan’s experience with its 40 kWh LEAF, introduced for 2018, indicates that 150 miles of range may be enough for Europe – where that model has been extremely popular – but that 200 miles is the minimum necessary for North America, which has little or no mass transit of the sort Europeans take for granted between city pairs.The Volkswagen I.D. Neo is expected to come to market with three battery capacity options. While VW hasn’t given exact specs, they’re anticipated to be about 48, 55, and 62 kWh. Ranges on the European WLTP test cycles were quoted at 330, 450 and 600 km, which might translate to EPA ratings of roughly 160, 210 and 250 miles. The all-electric underpinnings that the VW Group will use to build dozens of EVsA few weeks before the end of 2019, if all goes according to plan, the first Volkswagen I.D. Neo electric car will roll off the assembly line at the company’s plant in Zwickau, Germany. Different versions will offer ranges from 160 to perhaps as much as 300 miles. It will be Volkswagen’s first long-range electric car, and the company expects it to sell in high volumes. The C-segment (compact) I.D. Neo hatchback is just the first of more than two dozen all-electric models to be launched by the VW Group. It won’t be the first long-range EV offered by the group; that honor will be claimed by the Audi e-tron when it goes on sale this spring and summer in various markets around the world. He noted that its battery modules are designed to accommodate any form of prismatic or pouch cells, though the company is not focused on using large numbers of small cylindrical cells. That is the Tesla approach, but it remains unique to that company. Renna walked through historic and projected rates of battery improvement and, unusually, offered precise numbers. The cells used in the 2014 e-Golf provided 230 watt-hours per liter and 140 Wh per kilogram, he said, while the cells VW will use in 2020 are rated at 700 Wh/l and 300 Wh/kg. At the same time their price (in dollars per kWh) has fallen steadily, though he declined to give specific costs. Neo, Crozz, Buzz, Vizzion, and moreAlthough VW’s I.D. Neo will go into production before the end of this year, North American buyers won’t see it in showrooms. The hatchback will be sold only in Europe, where that format is most popular. In the US and Canada, we’ll have to wait until 2021, when a compact crossover – with the concept name I.D. Crozz – goes into production.That car will first be built in Europe, then enter production in 2022 at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Americas, and perhaps other markets. Putting the I.D. Crozz into that plant requires an investment of $800 million, Volkswagen says, and will create 1,000 new jobs onsite, and many more at suppliers.Beyond that, in 2022, VW expects to introduce the model that may have created the most buzz of any VW electric. Known as the I.D. Buzz (pronounced “bus” in German), it’s an all-electric rebirth of the classic and much-beloved Volkswagen Bus of the 1960s. The company has big plans for this vehicle, which is a joint development between Volkswagen’s vehicle division and its commercial-truck group. That indicates that we’ll see not only passenger versions, but also panel vans and very possibly pickups and other models, echoing the multiple versions of the old “Type 2” or “Bulli,” as Germans called it. Certainly the response to the I.D. Buzz design on the auto-show circuit and during a prototype drive we took part in was nothing short of ecstatic, with a couple of fans running right through the middle of a photo shoot to ask questions about what it was and when it was coming. For 2023, the company is promising a large Volkswagen sedan, possibly a replacement for the luxury VW Phaeton that bombed in the US but took the brand far further upscale in Europe than it had ever been. The I.D. Vizzion concept may be destined mostly for Chinese buyers, as sedans with generous rear compartments remain in high demand there. After that, in 2024, comes a large utility vehicle, likely an Atlas-sized electric SUV with seven seats. Considerably earlier, in 2021, a small Audi (“A SUVe”) will be built on the MEB architecture – just as the brand’s A3 compact sedan is built on VW Golf and Jetta MQB underpinnings. That Audi is likely previewed by the Q4 e-tron concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Obviously, the Volkswagen Group is hardly the only large automaker to plan a skateboard chassis for hundreds of thousands of battery-electric vehicles a year by the early 2020s. It is, however, the company that has spent the most time talking about its plans – partly out of necessity, to distract from news reports and court decisions around its diesel scandal. The openness is also partly pride, however. VW Group firmly believes it has a chance to become one of the world’s major electric car makers by 2025, catching up to Nissan, Tesla and GM. Perhaps its executives took to heart the words famously attributed to Winston Churchill: Never let a good crisis go to waste. This article appeared in Charged Issue 42 – March/April 2019 – Subscribe now. All these vehicles will share a common set of underpinnings, known as the MEB architecture. This is a set of frontal crash structures, motor mountings and suspension assemblies, and a floor structure under which is located a wide, long, flat battery pack. Known as a “skateboard” arrangement, it’s the same layout used by Tesla and likely all future high-volume battery-electric vehicles. MEB can accommodate rear- or all-wheel drive, a variety of vehicle types from sleek sedans to tall, boxy utility vehicles and vans, and various wheelbases with lower- or higher-capacity batteries. The VW Group currently builds up to 4 million vehicles with transverse combustion engines each year on its shared MQB architecture, which underlies everything from the Polo subcompact hatchback (smaller than a Golf) to the seven-seat Atlas mid-size crossover built and largely sold in the US. The MEB architecture is meant to be to electric cars what MQB is to transverse front-wheel-drive vehicles: a single, highly flexible set of underpinnings intended to cut costs by using shared components across multiple brands, vehicles and segments. ID. rethinks the automobile ñ fully electric, a range of up to 600 km, ready for fully automated driving. The innovative technology concept creates more space and greater flexibility than ever previously possible in the compact class.October 2015: decision pointThe plan for such a platform was hatched during an executive retreat in October 2015, one month after the VW diesel-emission cheating scandal was revealed by the US EPA. The full scope and cost of the scandal had yet to emerge, but even then some of the newly appointed executives viewed it as an opportunity for a corporate reset. At that point, Volkswagen had only two years of experience with low-volume production of two battery-electric vehicles, both adapted from conventional models. The Volkswagen e-Golf, sold in Europe and North America, sited sections of its battery pack in various locations across a highly modified MQB platform. Launched in 2014 with an EPA range of 83 miles from a 24 kWh battery pack, it got far higher-capacity cells for the 2017 model year, giving it a range of 125 miles. Volkswagen’s other EV was the e-Up, an adaptation of its European Up minicar, fitted with a 18 kWh battery that delivered a real-world range of 60 to 90 miles. But MEB was to be a dedicated platform, allowing every vehicle to offer at least 200 miles of range from a battery with a capacity of 48 kWh or greater. The pain of adapting combustion-engine vehicles to accommodate smaller powertrains but bulky batteries not anticipated in the design would end. Instead, dozens of models could be created as optimized electric vehicles from the start. The first concept car, known simply as the Volkswagen I.D., appeared a year later at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. The battery-electric five-door compact hatchback offered the interior volume of a larger mid-size sedan like the VW Passat. That was due not only to the flat under-floor battery pack, but also the lengthy cabin that was made possible by pushing the wheels to the corners of the car to allow as much room as possible within the wheelbase for the battery pack.To the surprise of many, VW’s engineers put the primary traction motor in the rear. It was a decisive step away from the transverse front-wheel-drive layout that was standard for all small and medium-size vehicles since the pioneering 1959 Morris Mini showed what packaging efficiencies were possible by turning the engine sideways and powering the front wheels. For a single-motor EV, however, Volkswagen says handling and road-holding are better with rear-wheel drive. Analysts note that it also avoids the use of costly constant-velocity joints to accommodate pivoting front drive wheels. When all-wheel traction is required, the front structures are designed to accommodate a second motor between the front wheels. VW says AWD versions are likely to be offered only with the largest battery option, which can better supply the current demanded by two motors operating simultaneously. Exposing the naked platformWith less than a year left to go until production, the company has started to show the naked MEB platform to the media. Charged saw the rolling chassis during its first North American appearance, at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show in February. Matthew Renna, VP of E-mobility for VW North America, ran through the history of VW’s decades of experimenting with electric vehicles, the stats and specs for its modern era of EVs, and what it expects from battery technology over the next few years. However, the I.D. Neo will be the first mass-priced long-range EV the group offers. Executives have confirmed over the years that their goal is a starting price roughly the same as that of a high-end diesel Golf, which carries a premium of a few thousand dollars over its gasoline-engine equivalent. The VW Group says these EVs will roll out in quick succession – it has promised two dozen by 2025, when the company expects to sell 1 million all-electric vehicles out of its global sales total of 10 million or more. The VW Group will sell them under four separate brands in Europe alone: Volkswagen, yes, but also Audi, SEAT and Skoda. There will be electric models for several China-only brands as well. The total projected cost: 80 billion euros. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazinelast_img read more

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Issues To Consider From The Petrobras Enforcement Action

first_imgThis previous post went in-depth into the DOJ and SEC’s recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Petrobras which resulted in a net approximate $170 million enforcement action. This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.FirstThe Petrobras enforcement action is believed to be the first ever FCPA enforcement action against a foreign government. As stated by the DOJ, Petrobras is a “state-owned and controlled oil and gas company.” As stated by the SEC, Petrobras is a “Brazilian government-controlled oil and gas company.” Reflective of this unusual aspect of the Petrobras enforcement action, the DOJ’s NPA states:“By entering into this Agreement, notwithstanding anything contained herein, the Company does not prospectively waive any arguments that, as an instrumentality of the Republic of Brazil, it is protected by sovereign immunity from criminal prosecution in the United States, and it reserves the right to assert this argument in any future prosecution or civil action by the United States.”This unusual aspect of the Petrobras enforcement action was previously flagged in this 2014 post when the company first became the subject of FCPA scrutiny.Anytime the U.S. government exercises power (be it legal power or other forms of government power), it is always prudent to take a look in the mirror and consider the flip side. The flip side here being a foreign government bringing a bribery and corruption enforcement action against what the foreign government considers the U.S. government.[Note: some have suggested that the 2006 Statoil enforcement action also involved a “company directly owned and controlled by a foreign government.” However, there is no reference of this in either the DOJ’s resolution document or SEC’s.]Further UniqueThis previous post highlighted the December 2016 Odebrecht / Braskem FCPA enforcement action as being unique in the sense that it was believed to be the first ever enforcement action against a foreign company based on its alleged interactions with its own alleged government officials.This type of enforcement action did not occur for the FCPA’s first 39 years and then in January 2017 it happened again in the SQM enforcement action (see here).With the Petrobras enforcement action, it has happened yet again.As highlighted in the above-linked Odebrecht / Braskem post, are we prepared for the flip-side? In other words, a foreign law enforcement agency bringing a bribery and corruption enforcement action against a U.S. company (based on the company’s mere listing of shares on its exchanges) based on the U.S. company’s alleged interactions with U.S. officials?But Then Again?But then again, the Petrobras enforcement action was technically not a bribery and corruption enforcement action. Sure, those were the bulk of the allegations, but technically the DOJ’s NPA references the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions and the SEC’s administrative order does the same (as well as invoke other securities laws provisions). The SEC is rarely shy of using the term “FCPA” yet notably that term is nowhere in the SEC’s release which has the headline “Petrobras Reaches Settlement With SEC For Misleading Investors.”“Piling On”As highlighted in this prior post, the DOJ’s “anti-piling” policy sounds great, but it all depends on what “piling on” means. While Deputy Assistant AG Miner insisted in yesterday’s speech that the DOJ did not “pile” on Petrobras – that is exactly what the DOJ did (as it also did in the Societe Generale enforcement action – see here).As highlighted in prior posts here and here, much of the largeness of modern FCPA enforcement has resulted from corporate enforcement actions against foreign companies (based in many instances on mere listing of securities on U.S. markets and in a few instances on sparse allegations of a U.S. nexus in furtherance of an alleged bribery scheme).A substantial majority of these enforcement actions (such as the Petrobras and Societe Generale enforcement actions) have been against companies headquartered in countries that, like the U.S., are parties to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (OECD Convention). In other words, “peer” countries with mature FCPA-like laws governing the conduct of their companies coupled with reputable legal systems to prosecute such offenses.Given this reality, as well as the specific provision in Article 4 of OECD Convention that “when more than one Party has jurisdiction over an alleged offence described in this Convention, the Parties involved shall, at the request of one of them, consult with a view to determining the most appropriate jurisdiction for prosecution,” is it “piling on” when the U.S. brings FCPA enforcement actions against such foreign companies for their interactions with non-U.S. officials?I believe the answer is yes.VictimOn a number of occasions, the DOJ termed Petrobras and its shareholders victims. For instance, the DOJ’s release notes:  “a number of executives of the company engaged in an embezzlement scheme that victimized the company and its shareholders.” The NPA contains the same statement.If the DOJ was being intellectually honest, the “victim” term could be used in several other FCPA enforcement actions that also included allegations that single actors or a small group of actors circumvented internal controls and received kickbacks from their alleged conduct.I foresee the DOJ’s use of the term “victim” in the Petrobras enforcement as complicating – and rightly so – the DOJ’s steadfast position in several FCPA related proceedings that companies (and its shareholders) who resolve certain FCPA enforcement actions are not victims. (See here and here for prior posts).TimelineAs highlighted in this prior post, Petrobras become the subject of FCPA scrutiny sometime during Fall 2014.  Thus, from start to finish its scrutiny lasted approximately 4 years.At the risk of sounding like a broken record to regular readers … if the FCPA enforcement agencies want the public to have confidence in their FCPA enforcement programs, they must resolve instances of FCPA scrutiny much quicker. The validity and credibility of FCPA enforcement depends on this. Having FCPA scrutiny linger for over four years is inexcusable particularly since Petrobras in the words of the DOJ:“the Company received full credit for its cooperation with the Fraud Section and the Office’ investigation, including conducting a thorough internal investigation, proactively sharing in real-time facts discovered during the internal investigation and sharing information that would not have been otherwise available to the Fraud Section and the Office, making regular factual presentations to the Fraud Section and the Office, facilitating interviews of and information from foreign witnesses, and voluntarily collecting, analyzing, and organizing voluminous evidence and information for the Fraud Section and the Office in response to requests, including translating key documents”In the words of the SEC:“In determining to accept the Offer, the Commission considered remedial acts promptly undertaken by Petrobras and significant cooperation afforded to the Commission staff. After learning of the corruption and bribery scheme described above, Petrobras immediately cooperated with the Brazilian authorities’ investigation, and has served as an Assistant to the Prosecution in 51 proceedings in Brazil. Petrobras conducted a thorough and timely internal investigation and identified significant documents for the Commission staff, translating them from Portuguese. Petrobras also provided summaries of the investigation’s findings and assisted in other SEC investigations.” Learn More & Register FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available.last_img read more

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