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BHP Billiton chief executive officer Marius Kloppers. (DANIEL MUNOZ/Daniel Munoz/Reuters)
BHP Billiton chief executive officer Marius Kloppers. (DANIEL MUNOZ/Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

Morning Meeting: A bad day for BHP Add to ...

A look at some must-read news on deals and deal makers around the world



Bad news for BHP's Potash Corp. bid

Marius Kloppers, head of BHP Billiton Ltd., may want to take a pass on reading the papers today, as most of the news on Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan isn't good for his $39-billion bid for the fertilizer maker.

On the regulatory approval front -- the most important hurdle facing BHP as it tries to buy Potash Corp. -- there are signs that opposition is heightening. Industry Minister Tony Clement appears to be swayed by the arguments against letting BHP buy Potash Corp., sources told the Globe and Mail's team in Ottawa.

Adding to the political risks, Alberta premier Ed Stelmach has also come out in favour of blocking the deal, joining the premier of neighbouring Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, in opposition. Mr. Stelmach's Alberta is staunchly Conservative, and in many ways is the home base of the federal Conservative party. That makes it even tougher for the federal government in Ottawa to support the deal and still win votes in key areas in the next election.

At the same time, Potash Corp. is reporting earnings and giving a profit outlook that make the $130-a-share offer look cheap. The company handily topped analysts' expectations for quarterly earnings and issued higher guidance.

And just to make things really interesting, a Saskatchewan first nation is saying it is part of a rival bid group that plans to try to win Potash Corp.

Nothing here represents a definitive threat to BHP, which still has the only bid on the table for Potash Corp. But none of it is good news.

The result is that there's a chance that Mr. Kloppers will be a three-time loser in big deals, writes Globe and Mail European correspondent Eric Reguly.



Goldman raises $500-million in Canada

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is hot with Canadian bond investors, who lined up to buy a $500-million issue of five-year bonds priced in Canadian currency. The market for such so-called Maple bonds is returning after all but disappearing in the wake of the credit crisis as some big Maple issuers such as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. left investors holding big losses.





Sovereign wealth fund assets top record $4-trillion (U.S.)

Sovereign wealth funds continue to surge in assets, with a report from Norway that its fund has grown enough to push the global total to more than $4-trillion. Asian funds are now the world's largest concentration, overtaking the Middle East, reports Gulf News.





SEC adds curbs for naked market access

The Securities and Exchange Commission is tightening controls on one of the most controversial aspects of high speed electronic trading. Brokers will now have to ensure that all client trades go through per-trade risk controls, Bloomberg News reports. Some clients prefer to bypass such risk controls because it slows them down, and as a result naked access now is a huge part of trading.

It's increasingly prevalent in Canada as well, raising questions about whether regulators on this side of the border will follow suit.



Miners' fears disappear as bill defeated



Miners can breathe easier after Parliament defeated a bill that would have tried to impose regulation on their operations abroad. Analysts and industry executives had warned that the bill, C-300, would have been harmful to Canada's image as a mining centre.

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