Daily Agenda: Third Bailout for Greece Moves Forward

Wal-Mart completes acquisition of Chinese online retailer Yihaodian; Ferrari takes off for IPO; Anthem nearing merger with Cigna.


Kostas Tsironis

With a vote of 230 to 63, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras secured a second victory in parliament to adopt reforms demanded by creditors. Despite some desertions by fellow Syriza coalition members, Tsipras insists that the deal was the best available and that he will continue to fight for debt relief going forward. While European markets have been calmed since the initial parliamentary vote and chosen to refocus on earnings season, the political risks in Athens remain high as parties on both sides of the aisle wait to see if International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde can convince her fellow members of the Troika — the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Union — that the debt structure in its present form is unsustainable.

Wal-Mart acquires remainder of Yihaodian. Bentonville, Arkansas–based retail giant Wal-Mart today announced the acquisition of the 49 percent of Chinese online grocer Yihaodian it did not already own. The deal comes one month after Beijing allowed for the first time full foreign ownership for some online businesses. China’s push into e-commerce comes as Wal-Mart continues to expand its physical footprint in the world’s second-largest economy. The retail chain plans to roll out more than 100 new store openings over the next two years.

Japanese trade volume remains flat. Data released today from Japan’s Ministry of Finance showed June exports rising at the fastest pace in five months. Despite a 9.5 percent year-over-year rise in value, volume measures remained flat, however, potentially illustrating that external demand for Japanese industrial goods remains weak despite the yen’s decline driven by quantitative easing.

Credit Suisse profits rise on wealth management. Credit Suisse Group, the second-largest Swiss bank, registered a $1.1 billion profit for the second quarter, significantly above consensus forecasts. Poor results from trading and investment bank divisions were more than offset by gains in private banking and wealth management — a trend that perhaps reflects the leadership of new CEO Tidjane Thiam, who came to the Swiss bank earlier this year from U.K. insurer Prudential.

Ferrari files for IPO. Italian-U.S. carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Stock Exchange for an initial public offering of its famous Ferrari sports car division. The company plans a total separation of the unit to be completed by early 2016. At present, Fiat Chrysler owns 90 percent of Ferrari; the remaining 10 percent is controlled by the Ferrari family. Under the terms of the deal, 10 percent of Fiat Chrysler’s stake in Ferrari will be offered publicly and the remaining 80 percent Fiat distributed to shareholders.

Anthem reportedly near deal with Cigna. Reports emerged today that Indianapolis–based health insurance company Anthem Inc. is near an agreement to buy Bloomfield, Connecticut–headquartered rival Cigna Corp. after years of maneuvering and rejected offers. If consummated, the merger would create the largest health insurance company in the U.S., capping a wave of consolidation in the health care industry this year.

Overbrook names new president. New York–headquartered $1.1 billion registered investment adviser Overbrook Management Corp. announced that Richard Zenker has been named the firm’s president. Zenker, an industry veteran with stints in senior management at Thomas Weisel Partners and Royal Bank of Canada, joined Overbrook in 2003 to transform the Altschul family office into a multifamily practice and played a key role in developing the firm’s asset management franchise. According to the company, Zenker will assume day-to-day management responsibility for the firm, freeing up CEO Andrew Goffe, also the CIO, to focus on portfolio management. Arthur G. Altschul Jr. remains chair of the company’s board.