Briefs | Banking on a Turnaround

By Kyle Stock

Moody’s Investors Service raised its outlook for the U.S. banking system to “stable,” almost five years after it slapped a “negative” assessment on the sector. Banks have buttressed their balance sheets with capital and are benefiting from low interest rates and a burgeoning real estate recovery. Moody’s still has a negative outlook for Bank of America and Citigroup. • Club Méditerranée, the French resort operator better known as Club Med, received a takeover bid from its two largest shareholders, insurer AXA and Fosun International, a Chinese conglomerate. Going private would end almost half a century of public listing for the all-inclusive resort. Club Med started in 1950 on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca in a village created from used military tents. Despite closing properties in Europe and expanding in Asia, Club Med posted losses in six of the past 10 years. • Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has struck an $8.7 billion deal to buy Bausch & Lomb, which specializes in eye care. Despite the massive price tag, investors seem to think Valeant is getting a good deal, sending shares of the Canadian company up 14 percent immediately after the buyout was announced. • Coty, the Parisian perfumer, filed to raise up to $1.1 billion in a U.S. initial public offering next month. The proceeds will go to Coty’s current owners, including private equity firm Berkshire Partners. • Shuanghui International Holdings, China’s biggest pork producer, agreed to buy Smithfield Foods for about $4.7 billion. If the acquisition is approved, Shuanghui will control an additional 16 million hogs a year to help supply China’s growing appetite for pork. The offer was almost a third higher than Smithfield’s market price.

Nike dropped Lance Armstrong in October; now it’s cut ties with Livestrong, the cancer charity the cyclist founded. The apparel giant had been contributing $7.5 million a year to the organizatmon, according to Outside magazine.

Tiffany’s profit rose 2.5 percent in its first quarter thanks in part to a product line linked to the film The Great Gatsby. In addition to the Jazz Age boost, Asian sales jumped 16 percent.

$3.5bn The high end of the estimated cost to property insurers of the May 20 tornado that hit an Oklahoma City suburb, says catastrophe modeler Risk Management Solutions.


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