German watchdog to closely examine cable market consolidation

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 | Finance News

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - The German cartel office said it would have to examine very closely further consolidation plans in the country's cable market, which is currently witnessing a takeover battle for Kabel Deutschland .

The 3.16 billion euro ($4.13 billion) takeover of smaller peer Kabel BW by Liberty Global was approved in 2011 only under far-reaching remedies, Andreas Mundt, head of the watchdog, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

On Monday Vodafone agreed to buy Germany's largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland for 7.7 billion euros, beating Liberty Global, which could still return with a higher bid.

A spokesman for the cartel office had said on Monday the German watchdog would likely be responsible for examining the deal between Vodafone and Kabel Deutschland.

($1 = 0.7649 euros)

(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff, writing by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Victoria Bryan)


Marc Rich, legendary commodities trader, dies

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 | Finance News

LONDON (Reuters) - Marc Rich, father of modern oil trading and founder of the group that became Glencore Xstrata , has died at the age of 78, the head of his philanthropic foundation said on Wednesday.

Many of the biggest players in oil and metals trading trace their roots back to Rich, whose triumph in the 1960s and 70s was to create a spot market for oil, wresting business away from the world's big oil companies.

Rich, however, was also a controversial figure. He was forced to flee the United States for Switzerland in 1983 after allegedly taking advantage of the 1980 U.S. embargo against Iran to make huge profits in illicit Iranian oil sale.

"Marc Rich passed away this morning at his home in Lucerne. He will be brought to Israel for burial," Avner Azulay, managing director of Marc Rich Foundation, said by telephone.

The Belgian-born son of Jewish refugees, Rich began his career with one of the biggest trading houses of the time, Philipp Brothers, subsequently Phibro, aged 20. He left in 1974 with a fellow graduate of the Phibro mailroom, Pincus "Pinky" Green, to set up Marc Rich and Co AG in Switzerland.

That group would eventually become Glencore.

"We are saddened to hear of the death of Marc," Glencore Xstrata Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said. "He was a friend and one of the great pioneers of the commodities trading industry, founding the company that became Glencore."

Allegations of oil trading with Iran and tax evasion later landed Rich on the FBI's most-wanted list.

He never returned to the United States after fleeing to Europe, although he received a presidential pardon from Bill Clinton on the president's last day in office.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso, Clara Ferreira-Marques, Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Andrew Callus)


Draghi: up to governments now to help economy

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 | Finance News

PARIS (AP) — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says the bank has "done as much as it can" to stabilize Europe's troubled economy and that now it's up to national governments to reform their economies.

Draghi urged politicians to streamline excessive labor market regulations that result in high levels of youth unemployment.

He said in a speech Wednesday to French members of parliament that governments "need to do all they can" to increase potential growth and make their economies more competitive.

So far the ECB has cut its key interest rate to a record low of 0.5 percent, offered unlimited cheap loans to banks and outlined a plan to buy government bonds issued by indebted countries. Analysts say the bank could cut rates again sometime this year.