Confidence returns to deal making

1009160_ConfidenceReturns

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This week’s post is by Matthew Toole, Director of Deals Intelligence.

It was the year that deal makers have been waiting for. After grappling with six years of post-financial crisis fits and starts, global deal making began firing on all cylinders over the course of 2014 with significant gains across mergers and capital markets.

Despite improving economic indicators, record corporate cash levels, a rising stock market and low interest rates, C-suite confidence seemed to be the missing component to a resounding signal that the next deal cycle had arrived. All of that changed in the first quarter of 2014 with a number of large-scale strategic bids across a number of sectors – competing bids for New York’s Time Warner Cable and France’s SFR in the Media and Telecom sectors, Facebook’s audacious $19 billion takeover of WhatsApp in the Tech sector and the beginnings of an all-time record year for Healthcare and Pharma M&A with Actavis PLC’s acquisition of Forest Laboratories. (more…)

Australia and New Zealand property boom – Graphic of the day

Australia and New Zealand are looking outside traditional monetary policy to cool red-hot housing markets in their biggest cities without hurting borrowers, banks and their economies. Today’s graphic looks at the property boom occurring in Australia and New Zealand.

property boom

Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.

Notre Dame again denied injunction in contraception case

From Westlaw Journal Health LawReligious exemptions in Obamacare’s “contraceptive mandate” do not make the University of Notre Dame “complicit” in providing its female employees and students with free birth control, a federal appeals court has again decided after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling against the Catholic school.

A divided three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Notre Dame’s preliminary injunction application for the second time May 19, with U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner reiterating much of the reasoning from the appellate court’s original decision, which he also authored.  Univ. of Notre Dame v. Sebelius, 743 F.3d 547 (7th Cir. 2014).

(WestlawNext users: Click here for the 10 most recent stories from Westlaw Journals.)

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SEC examinations grow aggressive, sometimes intrusive – industry panel

SEC examinations grow aggressive, sometimes intrusive – industry panel

Gone are the kinder, gentler days when it comes to onsite examinations by the Securities Exchange Commission, say senior compliance officers, who portray the agency’s recent behavior as much more aggressive, and at times even intrusive on a firm’s time and resources.

At a New York conference sponsored by the Regulatory Compliance Association this week, industry participants heard of recent examples of SEC exams where compliance officers described strained and tense interactions with the agency’s staff. (more…)

Our markets – Part two

Our_markets___Corporate_Responsibility___Inclusion__CR_I____2014_Annual_Report___Thomson_Reuters

Being responsible and ethical is part of the Thomson Reuters heritage — a fundamental pillar of our business. We seek to attract and retain the most talented individuals and create an environment where all our people can develop to their full potential to better serve our customers and communities. Valuing and promoting diversity and inclusion is key to this objective. Explore our 2014 Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion report to see how we’re ensuring sustainable growth through diversity of talents, outlooks and ideas. Read part one here.

Pulitzer Prize – Reporting on human-rights abuses leads to Pulitzer — and helps free 900 people from traffickers

In 2014, Reuters won its first-ever Pulitzer Prize for text-based reporting. The 2014 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting recognized the dedication of a team of Reuters reporters who spent two years investigating human-rights abuses in Myanmar. The Pulitzer committee recognized the team for “their courageous reports on the violent persecution of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar that, in efforts to flee the country, often falls victim to predatory human-trafficking networks.” By bringing the abuses to global attention, the team helped to free more than 900 people from trafficking rings.

Cyberbullying – Fighting back against the cyberbullies

Thomson Reuters this year released a major white paper, ”Fighting Cyberbullying in Schools: What Law Enforcement, Schools and Parents Can Do.” It draws on leading law enforcement professionals, a judge and a county attorney, to help police, school resource officers and security officials better understand, investigate and confront cyberbullying — often cited as a key factor in student suicides and deadly school shootings. Among the solutions outlined in the white paper is CLEAR, an investigative suite from Thomson Reuters, which helps identify and locate people engaged in cyberbullying.

Thomson Reuters Eikon – Eikon in the classroom gives students real-time trading experience

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Capex cuts at major oil & gas companies – Graphic of the day

A 40% drop in oil prices has shaken up the energy sector, forcing companies to reevaluate projects, sift through balance sheets to cut costs and preserve cash. Today’s graphic shows the change in capital expenditure at major oil and gas companies.

capex

Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.

Journalist spotlight: James Pearson on solar power use in North Korea

In late April, Reuters offered insight into North Korea’s increasingly vibrant economy, revealing a boom in households setting up solar power systems to get around the isolated country’s chronic electricity shortage. The soaring sales of cheap and easily-installed solar panels reflect a jump in demand for electricity as incomes rise and people buy electronic goods like mobile phones and the “notel” media player that need regular charging. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, correspondent James Pearson offers a behind-the-scenes look at how he landed the story.

Q. How did you get started on this story?

James PearsonA. In October last year, we broke the news that Pyongyang was planning to shut its borders to foreigners over Ebola concerns. In the months that followed, restricted access to outsiders meant I had far less sources to talk to. When we broke the news that the borders had been reopened, and people started visiting the country again, many who returned remarked that they had seen a notable increase in private solar panel use in their five-month absence. North Korea suffers from chronic electricity shortages, so a rise in cheap solar panels made sense – especially when one takes into account how prevalent and far-reaching the black market is in North Korea now.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved?

A. I would love to talk more about North Korean sourcing but I am simply not in a position to do so. North Korea is very much a ‘live’ issue. The people inside who are willing to talk do so at great personal and professional risk. That said, just as one might when reporting on any other country, I try hard to cross-corroborate what I hear with as much physical evidence as possible. I am somewhat crippled by working in effective exile of the country I strive to cover, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. North Korea has traditionally been portrayed as an “information black hole” but, with a bit of creativity, it’s possible to use photography, satellite images, radio broadcasts and a whole host of other slightly more involved sourcing techniques to build up a better picture of what’s going on inside. Like any other story, it’s about putting the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.

There are people, for example, who have tracked the growth and subsequent crackdown on private markets — the real foundation of today’s North Korean economy — using satellite imagery. Private solar panels don’t show up very well on Google Earth, but looking at recent visitor photos and video footage of North Korean cities and countryside revealed a clear trend – one that had not existed five months ago. With this story, it was simply a case of corroborating reports from in-country sources by comparing imagery from before and after the Ebola ban.

Q. What makes you passionate about journalism? (more…)

Data Science Insight series presents Building Brains: Learning from Data

A staff talks to a humanoid robot named Han developed by Hanson Robotics via a mobile phone during the Global Sources spring electronics show in Hong Kong

Hear from one of the world experts on Artificial Intelligence, a topic that is changing the world, as part of London Technology Week in one of London, and the world’s, most iconic venues, on June 17, 2015. Click here to register

Learning from data is something that has evolved naturally in the human (and animal) brain. Learning is a fundamentally important part of how we make decisions, how we build things and how we create value. Building machines that can learn was one of the grand challenges in computing in the 20th century, spawning a wealth of research into how to mimic processes of the human brain with artificial neural networks. Most recently, more advanced artificial neural networks have lead to the emergence of the field of machine learning that is today being applied widely in data science and big data analytics. Machine learning is transforming whole industries, and is driving the development of advances such as self-driving cars, a computer that can beat humans at Jeopardy! and real-time machine translation.

In this fourth Data Science Insights event we welcome Steve Furber CBE. Most recently he is working on SpiNNaker – a new kind of computer architecture that directly mimics the human brain. Axel Threlfall, Lead Anchor for Reuters Television, will chair.

Note that this event will be held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in central London.

About the speakers:

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U.S. counterfeit goods seizures – Graphic of the day

More than 85% of counterfeit goods seized by U.S. customs and border officials last year originated in China and Hong Kong. Today’s graphic shows the value and number of seizures in the last two years.

counterfeit

Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.

U.S. dollar role in sanctions, AML fight threatened by looming rival payments system

U.S. dollar role in sanctions, AML fight threatened by looming rival payments system

A looming erosion of U.S. dollar dominance in international payments threatens to cripple the worldwide reach of financial sanctions and anti-money laundering controls led by the United States and its allies. This would compel Western financial institutions to improve data and analysis about their customers to guard against tainted money, officials said.

“It’s not if; it’s when,” retired Rear Adm. Chris Parry, a U.K.-based strategic forecaster, told a Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk conference in New York. “Every financial institution needs a strategy to be developed now for the days that are coming when money will be thrown across the wall to you and you have no indication whatsoever of where it’s come from and its provenance.” (more…)