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Frontrunning: August 6

  • Trump at center stage as Republicans square off in first debate (Reuters)
  • Cleveland Debate Offers GOP Hopefuls a Chance to Break Away from the Pack (WSJ)
  • Bank of England Keeps Key Interest Rate at 0.5% in 8-1 Vote (BBG)
  • Emerging stocks submerged, UK gears up for 'Super Thursday' (Reuters)
  • No IMF decision on Greek bailout until autumn, Swedish rep tells paper (Reuters)
  • Japan Heads Toward Nuclear Unknown With Post-Fukushima Restarts (BBG)
  • Activist Ackman Takes $5.5 Billion Stake in Snacks Giant Mondelez (WSJ)
  • From Frat Brothers to FBI Suspects (BBG)
  • China growth probably half reported rate or less, say sceptics (Reuters)
  • Obama Challenges ‘Mindset’ of Force (WSJ)
  • Londoners Turn to Buses, Bikes to Cope With Second Tube Strike (BBG)
  • Polish banks plunge as Swiss franc mortgage bill strikes hard (Reuters)
  • Intact MH370 Part Lifts Odds Plane Glided, Not Crashed, Into Sea (BBG)
  • Special Report: How smuggled workers power 'Made in China' (Reuters)
  • Germany has growing doubts about quick deal on Greek aid (Reuters)
  • Barista Turned Stylist Shows Americans Switching Careers Again (BBG)
  • Ferguson braces for protests on anniversary of Michael Brown shooting (Reuters)
  • Japan's "role model" index set to include Fukushima operator Tepco (Reuters)
  • Pentagon's new blood-tracking system is a bust (Reuters)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* Activist investor William Ackman has built a $5.5 billion stake in Mondelez International Inc and will argue the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers needs to cut costs and grow revenue, or sell to a rival like Kraft Heinz Co. (http://on.wsj.com/1P7qt6X)

* Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Réunion Island came from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared over a year ago. The development marked the first concrete evidence of the missing plane but left unanswered why it crashed. (http://on.wsj.com/1SQGlAq)

* Companies must start disclosing the pay gap between their top boss and rank-and-file employees under one of the most significant post-crisis rules addressing executive pay, launching a period of uncertainty for companies over whether the disclosure will rile up shareholders, employees and the broader public. The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday voted 3-2 to approve the measure, with the panel's two Republican members opposing it. (http://on.wsj.com/1hkfI6b)

* Car makers recalled more vehicles in the U.S. through the end of July than during any other similar time frame except 2014, furthering a significant shift for manufacturers facing a crackdown on safety lapses. (http://on.wsj.com/1hkraP5)

* The hotel industry is urging the U.S. government to reject the proposed merger between online travel agents Expedia Inc and Orbitz Worldwide Inc, arguing the combined company would control the online booking market and be able to impose higher costs on the industry. (http://on.wsj.com/1SRjgOc)

* Planet Fitness Inc priced its initial public offering at $16 a share, the high end of expectations, according to a person familiar with the offering. The deal raised $216 million by selling 13.5 million shares, according to the person. The budget fitness chain, which is known for its $10 monthly memberships, and certain selling stockholders were planning to sell shares at $14 to $16 apiece, according to regulatory filings. (http://on.wsj.com/1MQLKCK)

 

FT

Britain's anti-fraud agency, the Serious Fraud Office, has launched an investigation into business and accounting practices at Quindell, which coincided with the company announcing a downwards revision of its revenues for last year by 290 million pounds ($452.40 million) and its post-tax profits by 282 million pounds.

U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Fund (GIP), owner of London's City airport, has appointed advisers to sell the airport this year, in a deal which could raise as much as 2 billion pounds.

India responded to the European Union's move to ban 700 Indian-made generic drugs by saying that it was "disappointed and concerned". The country said on Wednesday that it would indefinitely freeze talks on a planned free trade agreement with Brussels.

 

NYT

* Activist investor William Ackman has built up a $5.5 billion stake in Mondelez International Inc, the maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolate, in a bet that the food company may be a target as the industry consolidates. (http://nyti.ms/1IYjRZP)

* After a long delay and plenty of resistance from corporations, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved in a 3-to-2 vote on Wednesday a rule that would require most public companies to regularly reveal the ratio of the chief executive's pay to that of the average employee. (http://nyti.ms/1T5o5Ox)

* The shoemaker Adidas announced on Wednesday that it had acquired all outstanding shares of Runtastic, a European maker of fitness apps and wearable activity trackers, in a deal that valued Runtastic at 220 million euros, or about $239 million. (http://nyti.ms/1Nbgyw3)

 

China

CHINA DAILY

- The Chinese government has shut down 9,300 companies and suspended work at another 15,000 in the first six months of this year as it strengthens pollution control in line with the revised Environment Protection Law that took effect on Jan. 1.

PEOPLE'S DAILY

- Sharp increases in pork prices in China since March are a technical rebound following a two-year decline and the prices are likely to stabilise soon.

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- Expectations of more monetary easing steps amid fresh signs of a sharp slowdown of China's economy are likely to push down the yields of long-term Chinese bonds in coming months.

SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS

- The number of China's mutual funds issued via private placements slumped 70 percent to only 347 in July compared with June as the recent stock market rout dampened investor interest.

SECURITIES TIMES

- The weakening auto market in China has caused most car brokers based in the Chinese capital, Beijing, to make losses in the first half of this year.

 

Britain

The Times

The Serious Fraud Office has stepped into the Quindell debacle as the scale of the insurance technology company's overstating of profits becomes clear, posing new questions for the regulation of the Alternative Investment Market by the London Stock Exchange. Quindell said yesterday that it had overstated profits by 457 million pounds ($713.01 million) in 2012 and 2013. (http://thetim.es/1MQ6sCO)

BP Plc plans to pour an extra 670 million pounds into aging oilfields in the North Sea. The investment in the Eastern Trough Area Project, which comes as many companies are seeking to cut costs or exit the region, will secure the future of the fields in the central North Sea for at least another 15 years, the company said. (http://thetim.es/1MQ6rP3)

The Guardian

WM Morrison Supermarkets faces a day of action on Thursday by dairy farmers angry at milk price cuts they say are forcing them out of business. The protests - outside the supermarket's distribution centres - come as farmers prepare for wider action on Friday with a "trolley dash" in which they hope to clear supermarket shelves of milk up and down the country. (http://bit.ly/1MQ6UAV)

The new boss of Standard Chartered Bill Winters has halved the dividend and attempted to quash speculation that the emerging markets-focused bank is to move its headquarters out of London. The dividend is being cut by 50 percent in the first half to 14.4 cents a share - and it will be halved again for the year end in a move that is likely to save $1 billion. (http://bit.ly/1MQ76jw)

The Telegraph

Zurich's advisers are weighing up a lower than expected offer to take over the British insurer RSA Insurance Group . Advisers for the Swiss insurance group are said to be basing their preparations for a bid at about 525p per share, working from consensus estimates of RSA's earning potential. (http://bit.ly/1MQ7yOR)

Royal Bank of Scotland has sold another business to foreign investors as the bailed-out bank works to shrink its balance sheet and increase its focus on UK retail and business banking. Italian bank Mediobanca has bought a 51 percent stake in Cairn Capital, an asset manager based in Knightsbridge, with the right to acquire the remaining 49 percent in three years' time. (http://bit.ly/1MQ7G0T)

Sky News

A former backer of American technology giants including Twitter and Tumblr is in talks to invest in BlaBlaCar, the car-pooling app which is close to a fundraising valuing it at an estimated 900 million pounds. U.S.-based Insight Venture Partners is poised to lead a deal that will involve France-based BlaBlaCar raising tens of millions of pounds from new and existing investors. (http://bit.ly/1MQ8geZ)

A financial information website is warning that some fixed mortgage rates are on the rise. Moneyfacts said it saw a "jump" in rates - particularly for people with higher deposits - immediately after the governor of the Bank of England signalled last month that its base rate of interest may start to rise again at the turn of the year. (http://bit.ly/1MQ8uml)

The Independent

HSBC Holdings Plc has handed Antonio Simoes another promotion, encouraging speculation across London that he is being lined up to eventually replace the group's current chief executive, Stuart Gulliver. Simoes already runs HSBC's UK business. He will now add continental Europe to his responsibilities and join the FTSE 100 giant's executive board. (http://ind.pn/1MQbRtA)