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U.S. SEC probes Altria’s investment in Juul: source


FILE PHOTO: Juul brand vape cartridges are pictured for sale at a shop in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

(Reuters) – U.S. regulators have opened a probe regarding Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc’s (MO.N) investment in e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether the Marlboro maker adequately disclosed the risks to its shareholders when it spent $12.8 billion in 2018 for a 35% stake in the start-up, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday.

The SEC has issued subpoenas to Juul and the e-cigarette maker has responded, according to the person familiar with the matter.

Juul has turned over documents including correspondence with Altria and financial projections Juul shared with Altria before the deal, the person said.

Altria has recorded $8.6 billion in impairment charges since investing in Juul in December 2018, bringing the value of its investment to $4.2 billion by end of 2019.

Juul and Altria did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam and Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru, and Chris Kirkham in Los Angeles; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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China’s indebted HNA group names chairman’s son as president: Caixin


A HNA Group emblem is seen on the constructing of HNA Plaza in Beijing, China February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s indebted HNA Group has appointed its chairman’s son as president as a part of enterprise restructuring on the finance-to-aviation conglomerate, Chinese language monetary journal Caixin reported on its web site on Saturday.

Chen Xiaofeng, son of HNA Chairman Chen Feng, has been appointed president of the group, changing Zhang Ling, in accordance with Caixin.

HNA’s official web site named Chen Xiaofeng as president, in addition to a member of the board. Chen, a graduate of the College of Washington, can be chairman and CEO of HNA’s North American unit, in accordance with the web site.

Chen Feng has been HNA’s sole chairman after Wang Jian, the group’s co-chairman, died throughout a enterprise journey in France in July, 2018.

Since final 12 months, HNA has been ramping up gross sales of its property to stave off an intensifying money crunch as Beijing curbs abroad enlargement by personal corporations. By way of asset disposals, HNA is paring again an empire that when unfold from Deutsche Financial institution (DBKGn.DE) to Hilton Worldwide (HLT.N).

Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.


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Paddy Energy and Poker Stars house owners to create on-line playing chief


DUBLIN (Reuters) – The house owners of Paddy Energy Betfair and Poker Stars have agreed to merge in an all-share deal that may create the world’s largest on-line betting and playing firm by income to reap the benefits of the opening up of U.S. markets.

FILE PHOTO: Paddy Energy emblem is seen behind a keyboard and playing cube on this illustration taken in Sarajevo, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photograph

Flutter Leisure (FLTRE.I), previously generally known as Paddy Energy Betfair, is to mix with Nasdaq- and Toronto-listed Stars Group Inc (TSG) (TSGI.TO), proprietor of Poker Stars, the businesses mentioned on Wednesday.

Following the merger, shareholders of Flutter would personal roughly 54.64% of the brand new firm, with TSG shareholders proudly owning about 45.36%.

The merger is the most recent in a sequence of offers because the trade responds to the rising variety of gamblers utilizing on-line and cellular gadgets and the chance created by the comfort of guidelines on sports activities betting in the USA.

Shares in Flutter jumped 15 p.c in early buying and selling, whereas playing rivals GVC (GVC.L) and William Hill (WMH.L) had been additionally lifted by the prospect of additional consolidation.

Mixed annual revenues would have totaled 3.eight billion kilos ($4.7 billion) in 2018, making Flutter-TSG the most important on-line betting and gaming operator globally, the businesses mentioned.

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson, who will retain his function within the mixed group, mentioned the deal would “turbocharge” Flutter’s current technique and “present world-class capabilities throughout sports activities betting, gaming, every day fantasy sports activities and poker, in addition to higher geographical and product diversification.”

The merged group can have its headquarters in Dublin and its major itemizing in London.


The merged group shall be boosted by a partnership in the USA with FOX Sports activities, which can have the fitting to amass an 18.5% stake in Flutter’s FanDuel U.S. enterprise from 2021.

Dublin-based Flutter merged its U.S. enterprise with fantasy sports activities firm FanDuel final yr in a deal it mentioned would create the trade’s largest on-line enterprise in the USA.

TSG had bolstered its British operations final yr when it purchased Sky Betting & Gaming in a $4.7 billion deal.

Flutter has sharpened its concentrate on North America as the doubtless large U.S. market opens up and it faces increased taxes and elevated rules in its major British, Irish and Australian markets.

Betting trade Betfair and Paddy Energy, which runs excessive road betting outlets in addition to a web based enterprise, merged in 2016, though the mixing took longer than anticipated and a toll on product funding for a time.

The merger is predicted to ship pretax value synergies of 140 million kilos per yr, together with alternatives to cross-sell merchandise to 1 one other’s clients in worldwide markets and decrease finance prices, the businesses mentioned.

The deal can be anticipated to spice up Flutter’s underlying earnings per share by at the very least 50 p.c within the first full monetary yr following completion.

Beneath the phrases of the merger, TSG shareholders shall be entitled to 0.2253 new Flutter shares for every TSG share.

Reporting by Graham Fahy; Modifying by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Mark Potter

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.


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China’s Anbang to offload health insurance unit as government speeds up asset sales


BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Anbang Insurance Group said it will sell its entire stake in a health insurance unit as Beijing speeds up asset disposals at the troubled government-controlled insurance conglomerate.

FILE PHOTO – A general view shows the headquarters of Anbang Insurance Group in Beijing, China, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Anbang said it would sell 77.7% of its stake in Hexie Health Insurance through its property and casualty insurance subsidiary, and the remaining portion to five companies including Fujia Group, a private commerce company.

Fujia Group will take a 51% controlling stake after the deal, the statement said.

Anbang did not reveal the size of the deal, which requires approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC).

The move comes as regulators seek to speed up the process of selling Anbang’s assets to minimize financial risks. Anbang was one of the most aggressive Chinese buyers of foreign assets a few years ago, using leveraged loans and risky short-term financing tools.

More than 1 trillion yuan ($145.4 billion) worth of Anbang assets had been or were in the process of being disposed, CBIRC Vice Chairman Liang Tao told reporters on Thursday.

The regulator also would cut the portion of Anbang’s risky short-term insurance products to under 15% of its total insurance products by 2019, Liang said.

The Chinese government took control of Anbang in February last year, part of a sweeping campaign to reduce financial risk. The company’s former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was later sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud and embezzlement.

“For the next step, the takeover team will steadily introduce strategic investors to Anbang and push forward its restructuring,” Liang said, without elaboration.

China has formed a new company called Dajia Insurance Group to take over the assets of Anbang, according to sources familiar with the matter and a government document. The new group was led by He Xiaofeng, the head of Anbang’s takeover team.

($1 = 6.8763 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo; Editing by Stephen Coates


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Best & Most Outrageously Ridiculous Live News Bloopers for November 2016! Part 2

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