A look at some must-read news on deals and deal makers around the world
Don’t mess with the ‘new’ OSC
Howard Wetston, the new head of the Ontario Securities Commission, wants more jail terms for serious securities offenders. In his first interview since taking office three weeks ago, Mr. Wetston acknowledged that the OSC has taken fewer cases to court in recent years. Instead, the Commission has often opted for administrative hearings before a tribunal, which means the primary punishments are fines or bans from working as a director or officer of a public company, rather than jail. But he may not have very long to crackdown. Mr. Wetston was given a three-year term instead of the typical five years because Ontario supports plans for forming a national securities regulator in the next few years.
Ivanhoe reportedly up for sale
Ivanhoe Mines is looking to sell off all its assets except for the precious Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, according to Reuters. Once complete, Ivanhoe may even then seek out a buyer for the Oyu Tolgoi stake. Details are vague, so it’s hard to tell if this will complicate, or make things easier, for Rio Tinto, which is the firm’s largest shareholder. The mining giant recently struck a deal to increase its ownership of Ivanhoe to 42 per cent and agreed on a financing plan for the Oyu Tolgoi project. However, the market didn’t like it. Ivanhoes shares plummeted 15 per cent Wednesday.
Insurers to Ottawa: relax
Canadian insurers are on a mission to convince Ottawa to relax the rules that prevent foreign governments and sovereign wealth funds from owning their shares. The rules have been in place for decades so that foreign governments don’t have any sway over Canadian banks and insurers. To understand how looser rules could help some of Canada’s troubled insurers, just look at Manulife. The insurer operates in 20 countries and earns about two-thirds of its profit outside of Canada. Also, during the financial crisis, the first wave of refinancings that saved some U.S. banks came from sovereign wealth funds.
A.I.G. following in GM’s footsteps
American International Group is preparing to sell a fifth of the company to public shareholders in the first quarter of 2011 to partially pay back money it owes to the U.S. government. But unlike the recent General Motors IPO, which the government lost money on, a sale at current prices will turn a profit. Taxpayers need a sale above the $30 level to make a profit and at the moment A.I.G.’s shares are trading at $42.32. A.I.G. is reportedly looking at selling $15-billion in shares.