Morning Agenda: Deutsche Bank’s Ties to Trump Under Scrutiny

Mr. Trump’s 20-year relationship with the bank is complicated, involving more than $4 billion in loan commitments and potential bond offerings, most of them completed. Despite the risks involved, working with Mr. Trump has made Deutsche Bank money, according to people with knowledge of the details.

John Malone Tests the Deal-Making Waters

The media industry is headed toward more consolidation, and John C. Malone is interested in joining in.

The telecommunications billionaire approached Univision about a potential investment in the Spanish-language broadcasting giant, according to people briefed on the discussions.

And Discovery Communications, of which Mr. Malone is a major backer, has held merger talks with Scripps Networks Interactive, people briefed on those meetings said.

As companies like Comcast, Charter (also backed by Mr. Malone) and AT&T grow in strength, content providers are banding together to maintain negotiation leverage.

Neither a deal to merge Discovery and Scripps nor the potential investment in Univision, earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal, is assured.

Univision may yet choose a sale or an initial public offering over accepting a major investment. Mr. Malone and the Univision investors remain far apart on an acceptable valuation.

Ups and (Mostly) Downs of Chinese Deal-Making

Enthusiasm for big deals with Chinese conglomerates is starting to cool.

Bank of America has decided not to do business with HNA, the huge conglomerate that The New York Times found had been giving business to relatives and associates with little disclosure to investors.

The problem? Bank of America is concerned about HNA’s shareholding and corporate structure, its complex business model, allegations concerning political connections, and Chinese regulatory interest in the company.

READ ---  SoftBank CEO Says T-Mobile-Sprint Deal Will Lift Competition

“We simply don’t know what we don’t know, and are not prepared to take the risk,” Matthew M. Koder, Bank of America’s president for Asia Pacific, wrote in an email.

Bank of America had been talking to HNA about new lending partnerships, according to a person with direct knowledge. It has also been among the banks helping HNA to take at least one of its many companies public.

The beleaguered Dalian Wanda tore up a $9.3 billion agreement to sell a portfolio of hotels and theme parks and found a new buyer for the hotel properties.

After reaching a deal last week to sell the whole lot to the property firm Sunac China Holdings, Wanda announced that it would sell Sunac only the theme parks. The hotels will instead go to the Guangzhou-based R&F Properties — but for $3 billion, where the deal last week valued them at $5 billion.

The hasty reorganizations have raised concern about the due diligence being conducted. It also highlights the pressure that the Chinese government is putting on the country’s deal makers to reduce their piles of loans.

The retail giant Suning has come under attack on Chinese state television over “irrational” foreign acquisitions, The Financial Times and Reuters reported.

In a program focused on risky overseas deals, China Central Television referred to Suning’s purchase of a 70 percent stake in the Italian soccer club Inter Milan as an example of a move that potentially raised concerns.

“This famous club has been loss-making for five years, with total losses of 275.9 million euros,” said the narrator. “What is the purpose of acquisitions like this?”

READ ---  'Need For Speed Payback' Trailer: Are You Hot, Cold Or Indifferent? - Forbes

Ranking the P.R. Advisers

Banks and law firms frequently celebrate their performance in deal league tables. But so do the legions of public relations firms that help sell mergers to the public. Here’s Mergermarket’s top 5 for the first half of the year on a global basis.

1. Sard Verbinnen, $201 billion in volume, 113 deals

2. Brunswick Group, $188.7 billion, 74 deals

3. Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, $151.6 billion, 77 deals

4. Kekst, $102.3 billion, 68 deals

5. FTI Consulting, $99.2 billion, 86 deals

Coming Up

The focus will be on Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, when he speaks after the monetary policy meeting today. He needs to prepare markets for the day when the E.C.B. begins withdrawing stimulus, but avoid provoking an overreaction in hypersensitive financial markets.

Continue reading the main story

Source