Imagine for a moment that activist investor Christopher Hohn owned the Montreal Canadiens.
Picture the billionaire British founder of TCI Fund Management telling hockey fans he is firing the Habs’ general manager and coach, and sending the NHL team’s three best players to the Calgary Flames. And Mr. Hohn also owns the Flames.
That’s the sort of misalignment that exists with fellow shareholders in Canadian National Railway Co. as Mr. Hohn presses ahead with a proxy fight at the Montreal-based railway.
TCI owns 5.2 per cent of CN Rail. TCI also owns eight per cent of Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
Over the past four months, Mr. Hohn steadily ramped up a campaign against CN executives. He wanted them to end the pursuit of Kansas City Southern (KCS), the U.S. railway that ranks as the corporate equivalent of the Canadiens’ Hall of Fame goalie and two young forwards who lit it up in last year’s Stanley Cup run. Mr. Hohn now wants four of 14 directors replaced, including chair Robert Pace, and chief executive Jean-Jacques Ruest ousted.
Mr. Hohn’s approach since May effectively has conceded KCS and its coveted southwestern U.S. and Mexican network to CP Rail.
The fact that Mr. Hohn has two horses in the race for KCS, one of which is his clear favourite, means his goals differ from those of fellow CN Rail shareholders. His bare-knuckles approach to such fights has been labelled as “poison,” and Mr. Hohn has been compared to a “locust” by executives at past targets, which include Deutsche Boerse and railway CSX Corp.
Mr. Hohn makes two arguments to support TCI’s activist campaign. In letters and presentations to the CN Rail board, he showed the railway’s results lag those of rivals. Mr. Hohn also said: “The bid for KCS exposed a basic misunderstanding of the railroad industry and regulatory environment.”
The first point is true. For a number of reasons, some outside the railway’s control, CN Rail currently trails other North American railways in efficiency. However, CN Rail executives have made it clear they are on top of the problems. Operations are going to improve, no matter who is on the board.
Mr. Hohn’s second argument is self-serving nonsense. If anything, the CN Rail board and CEO should have been canned if they lost their nerve and failed to take a shot at KCS, the smallest of North America’s seven large railways, and the player with the strongest growth prospects.
For two decades, U.S. regulators at the Surface Transportation Board (STB) made it clear that any consolidation among major railways would face intense scrutiny on competition concerns. In March, when CP Rail kicked off the battle for KCS by striking a friendly, US$29-billion deal, it was universally acknowledged that if the STB was going to approve any takeover, KCS would be the target and no further deals were likely.
KCS represented a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a network that seamlessly links Mexico’s industrial and agricultural centers to U.S. and Canadian markets. In April, CN Rail tabled a richer offer, and for a few weeks, seemed likely to win KCS.
In early July, U.S. President Joe Biden effectively changed the rules of the takeover game by signing an executive order aimed at limiting corporate concentration across all sectors. The next month, the STB nixed a key element of CN Rail’s takeover strategy on competition issues, while CP Rail raised its offer.
With CP Rail now poised to win KCS – the STB still needs to give final approval – consider what CN Rail accomplished.
Mr. Ruest came close to building the dominant player in an industry that rewards scale. He saw the landscape shift mid-deal, yet still will walk away with US$1.4-billion in termination fees – a hefty consolation prize – and the satisfaction of forcing an arch rival to pay more on an acquisition.
It’s not the outcome CN Rail’s CEO wanted. However, it’s no reason to replace Mr. Ruest and four directors. Unless you are TCI’s Chris Hohn, and your nose is out of joint because the Montreal team ignored your advice, and the Calgary team had to pay a higher price to win the prize.
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Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ estimated to be worth about $900 million – Bloomberg News
“Squid Game,” Netflix Inc’s biggest original series launch, is estimated to be worth almost $900 million for the streaming giant, Bloomberg News reported late on Saturday, citing figures from an internal Netflix document.
The nine-episode thriller, in which cash-strapped contestants play childhood games with deadly consequences in a bid to win 45.6 billion won ($38.58 million), became an international hit after it launched last month.
In comparison to its estimated net worth, the show cost just $21.4 million to produce, Bloomberg said.
According to the report https://bloom.bg/3lNzxGY, about 132 million had watched at least two minutes of the show in its first 23 days, easily breaking the record set by U.K. costume drama “Bridgerton,” which was streamed by 82 million accounts in its first 28 days.
Netflix had earlier announced the show had amassed 111 million fans, but Bloomberg said those figures were based on slightly older data.
Los Gatos, California-based Netflix estimated that 89% of people who started the show watched more than one episode, the news agency said, and 66% of the viewers finished watching the series in the first 23 days.
Netflix did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request to comment on the report. An attorney for the company told Bloomberg that it would be inappropriate for Bloomberg to disclose the confidential data contained in the documents that it had reviewed.
The series is also the first Korean drama to snatch the top spot on Netflix in the United States, and has even spurred interest among people in learning Korean.
In China, where Netflix is unavailable without a VPN, a Beijing bakery has introduced a Squid Game-themed confection-making challenge in its store.
The show has even drawn positive comments from Amazon Inc founder Jeff Bezos, with the billionaire calling the work “impressive and inspiring.” Amazon’s streaming service Prime Video competes with Netflix.
($1 = 1,182.0700 won)
(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru, Editing by Nick Zieminski)
Bank of England will have to act to contain inflation – Bailey
“Monetary policy cannot solve supply side problems but it will have to act and must do so if we see a risk particularly to medium-term inflation and to medium-term inflation expectations,” Bailey said on Sunday.
“And that’s why we at the Bank of England have signalled, and this is another such signal, that we will have to act,” he said during a panel discussion organised by the Group of 30 consultative group. “But of course that action comes in our monetary policy meetings.”
(Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Alex Richardson)
UPDATE: U.S. expected to reopen border November 8, mixed doses eligible – BlackburnNews.com
UPDATE: U.S. expected to reopen border November 8, mixed doses eligible
October 15, 2021 7:25pm
There is word the U.S. will allow fully vaccinated Canadians with mixed doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter when the land border reopens to travellers next month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said early Friday evening that individuals who received doses of two or more different COVID-19 vaccines, including the Astra Zeneca vaccine, will be considered eligible to enter the United States starting in November.
“While CDC has not recommended mixing types of vaccine in a primary series, we recognize that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records,” a statement from the agency read.
Earlier on Friday, a White House official told the Canadian Press on condition of anonymity, since the policy has not yet been made public, that the official reopening date for land borders will be November 8.
However, New York State Congressman Brian Higgins tweeted the date too.
The White House is indicating the U.S. will start allowing vaccinated Canadians to enter the U.S. through land ports of entry beginning on November 8. pic.twitter.com/dlWWZsL1wU
— Brian Higgins (@RepBrianHiggins) October 15, 2021
The Canada Border Services Agency also reminded Canadians what they would need to re-enter the country once land and water border points do open.
Travellers re-entering Canada will have to complete a PCR test within 72 hours of arriving at the border. They will also have to provide proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 using the ArriveCan app.
“Antigen tests, often called ‘rapid tests,’ are not accepted,” said the CBSA statement.
For trips of less than 72 hours, Canadians and those registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents and protected persons can take their PCR test before they leave the country.
“Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada must continue to follow pre-arrival, arrival, and Day-8 molecular COVID-19 testing requirements, and quarantine for 14 days,” continued the statement.
Canada reopened its border to American travellers on August 9.
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