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London's financial district. (PAUL HACKETT/Paul Hacket/Reuters)
London's financial district. (PAUL HACKETT/Paul Hacket/Reuters)

Morning Meeting: Investment bankers to rule them all Add to ...

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

Masters of the U.K. Universe

Six of the eight big banks in Britain are now run by investment bankers, after the appointment of Stuart Gulliver as chief executive officer of HSBC PLC. Investment bankers bring with them knowledge of some of the complicated products that banks use (not always to their benefit) and also expectations of pay that are much higher than retail bankers.

For Canadians, that's not an unfamiliar place to be, with CEOs such as Gordon Nixon of Royal Bank of Canada and Louis Vachon of National Bank having had careers primarily in securities. Even CEOs known largely as retail bankers, such as Ed Clark of , spent time in investment banking.

BHP bid for Potash clears U.S. antitrust hurdle

So much for speculation that the U.S. would hold up the BHP Billiton PLC hostile bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. out of concern that somehow farmers in the U.S. would be affected. The plan to acquire Potash Corp. for $38.6-billion in cash cleared anti-trust examination late Thursday, ticking one of the boxes that BHP has required before the bid can be accepted.

When he visited The Globe and Mail on Tuesday, BHP chief executive officer Marius Kloppers said his main focus was on getting regulatory clearance in Canada and the U.S.

Rich, really really rich

A number of hedge fund managers make the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the United States, led by George Soros and John Paulson, who soared thanks to winning bets on a losing housing market. However, the top 20 richest is still dominated by people fortunes earned far from Wall Street in businesses such as retail and technology.

Couche-Tard to give up on Casey's?

Is this it for Alimentation Couche-Tard's attempt to win over Casey's General Stores Inc. in a hostile takeover battle? After a tender offer fell short, Couche-Tard tried a proxy battle but couldn't gain enough support for its directors slate, winning fewer than 10 per cent of votes at a shareholders meeting, where investors were talking tough about not selling their company for less than $50 (U.S.) a share. That's a far cry from the $38.50 Couche-Tard is offering, and as a result analysts are increasingly expecting the Canadian company to walk away from its bid.

RBC gets lead role on CoreSite offering

RBC Dominion Securities is showing up on more big U.S. deals as its New York operations gain traction, with the latest example being the initial public offering of CoreSite Realty Corp. The data centre operator, which was owned by private equity fund Carlyle Group, went public Thursday in a $270-million offering led by RBC, Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. CoreSite sold shares at $16 apiece, the midpoint of the expected range, and they closed basically flat on the day. By the standards of the rocky IPO market of late, that qualifies as a success.

 

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