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FCA-Renault deal hopes aid European shares

( ) – Strong Chinese export data and the U.S.-Mexico deal to avoid new import tariffs bolstered the mood on European stock markets on Monday, while car company shares also got a lift from signs of moves to revive Fiat-Chrysler and Renault’s merger.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 index rose 0.4% by 0805 GMT, with trading volumes thinned out by the Whit Monday holiday in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and most Nordic countries.

The auto sector gained 0.5% on signs that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Renault SA were looking for ways to resuscitate their collapsed merger plan and secure the approval of Nissan Motor Co.

Fiat Chrysler and Renault’s shares were both up about 2% after sources close to the companies told they were back in discussions on ways to revive the deal.

“We believe it is too early to talk about negotiations being re-opened,” Equita analyst Emanuele Gallazzi wrote in a note.

“Today’s news together with the hypotheses discussed in various press sources relating to alternative scenarios for FCA, including GM, Hyundai and Geely, keep high the speculative appeal of the stock.”

President Donald Trump on Friday retreated on last month’s shock threat of a 5% import tariff on all Mexican goods in exchange for moves on immigration, providing relief to investors worried that a second major U.S. trade dispute would drive the globa上海夜生活网l economy into recession.

“Markets are blowing small celebratory bubbles this morning,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China still lingered, with Group of 20 finance leaders saying that trade and geopolitical tensions have raised risks to improving global growth while stopping short of calling for a resolution of the conflict.

Adding to gains was some residual buying after weak U.S. nonfarm payrolls data on Friday that spurred hopes of the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates.

Concerns over the pace of growth in the world’s major economies drove a nearly 6% fall in European stock markets in May, their worst month in more than two years, but have been countered since by hopes of new stimulus from central banks to head off the threat.

Among other stocks, BAE Systems gained 1% on hopes of further deal making in the aerospace and defense space after United Technologies Corp agreed on Sunday to combine its aerospace business with U.S. contractor Raytheon Co, in what would be the sector’s biggest ever merger.

Thomas Cook’s shares jumped 15% after a report that Hong Kong’s Fosun Tourism was in talks to buy its tour operating business as the British group faces breakup after issuing three profit warnings in the past year.

Ferguson Plc fell 4% after the British plumbing products distributor’s third quarter revenue missed analysts’ estimates.

RPT-Fear and fervour propel Shanghai’s tech board amid trade, Huawei tensions

(Repeats with no change to text)

* Huawei ban, trade war fuel patriotic support for the new board

* 120 firms seeking to list, aiming to raise total of $16 bln

* About 100 tech-focused funds awaiting regulatory approval

* Venture capitalists scrambling to grab share of pre-IPO funding

By Samuel Shen and Josh Horwitz

SHANGHAI, June 11 ( ) – Chinese companies and investors are lining up in spades to take part in Shanghai’s new Nasdaq-style tech board, with a groundswell of patriotic support surging further after the U.S. blacklisting of telecom firm Huawei inflamed tr上海夜生活ade tensions.

In the two months since the application period began, 120 firms – many in industries such as semiconductors, artificial intelligence and biotech – have sought permission to list, aiming to raise a combined $16 billion.

By comparison, IPOs on Shanghai’s main bourse last year raised $11.7 billion while those on the Shenzhen exchange raised $8 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

On the investment side, there’s been a rush to launch tech-focused mutual funds, with about 100 currently seeking approval, data from the China Securities Regulatory Commission shows. Since late May, 12 such funds targeting the new board, each with a fundraising cap of 1 billion yuan ($145 million), have been launched.

The first mainland China exchange-run board to not make profitability a listing requirement, Shanghai’s Sci-tech Innovation Board was announced suddenly by President Xi Jinping in November and is widely seen as Beijing’s latest move to become self-sufficient in core technologies such as chips.

Those ambitions, highlighted by the government’s “Made in China 2025” campaign launched four years ago, have now taken on added urgency as the trade war with Washington and anxiety about its impact escalate.

“The trade war is no longer simply about China importing more soybeans, or reducing trade deficits,” Shi Donghui, director of the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Capital Market Institute told a financial forum last month after U.S-China trade talks collapsed.

“It’s essentially a tug of war around industry supply chains and core technologies,” he said, adding that as the two economic powers vie for tech supremacy, exchange staff were working day and night seven days a week to make the new board a success.

PATRIOTIC ENTHUSIASM

Washington’s ban in May on U.S. firms doing business with Huawei without government approval highlighted gaps in China’s tech prowess and has fuelled patriotic enthusiasm for the board.

If the new board can foster internationally competitive technologies, “Trump will no longer be able to choke us,” said Zhou Xiangyong, general manager of Guotai Asset Management, a Shanghai-based mutual fund house.

“China must turn external pressure into internal drive,” said Pan Jiang, CEO at private fund manager Shanghai V-Invest Co, which recently launched eight funds targeting the new board.

China Galaxy Securities estimates domestic mutual fund houses alone could pump more than $40 billion into the board, with about a third of that coming from new funds launching over the next six months.

In addition to allowing loss-making firms to list, the new board is doing away with paternalistic guidance from regulators on IPO pricing and timing – developments that have some bankers and investors calling it China’s boldest market reform yet.

A formal launch date has not been announced but investment bankers have said they expect it to start operating either late this month or in early July.

For Yuan Guowei, founder and CEO of big data startup Shanghai HyperS Data Technology Inc, being able to list while still loss-making is an opportunity not to be missed.

“We see U.S. companies which keep expanding aggressively despite losses. We couldn’t do that in the past, as we want to go public and struggled to balance expansion and making a profit,” he said.

Compared to the United States, stock market investment in China’s tech sector has been low, in part due to stricter listing requirements around profitability.

Tech companies account for roughly 11% of total market value in China’s stock markets, which are heavily weighted toward the financial sector, according to China Securities Index Co. In contrast, IT firms account for nearly 30% of the S&P 500’s market capitalisation, Refinitiv data shows.

Channeling investor money into homegrown technologies via the tech board could also help defuse U.S. criticism over the opaque shareholding structure of some Chinese firms and massive state subsidies for the tech sector, analysts said.

Foreign investors, however, are not expected to have much initial involvement in the new board. There are as yet no plans for it to be part of the cross-border Connect scheme, while overseas investors participating in the QFII investment scheme for mainland stocks tend to buy blue-chip shares due to their limited research capabilities in China.

VENTURE CAPITAL SCRAMBLE

The big unknown, however, is just how successful the new board will be in the long term.

China’s other startup boards have mostly languished despite a wellspring of excitement in their early days. Often speculation sent prices soaring, but those prices later collapsed spectacularly, souring investor sentiment to a point from which it never recovered.

The new tech board “is being propelled directly by China’s top decision-makers, so it has to succeed. It cannot afford to fail,” said Fu Ziheng, economist at China Fortune Securities.

“But there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead….and technology innovation does not happen overnight.”

High-profile companies planning to list on the new board include Beijing Kingsoft Office Software Inc, China’s biggest provider of officer software controlled by Xiaomi Corp founder Lei Jun, as well as chip sector firm Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc.

For a factbox on some of the companies planning to list please click.

Excitement surrounding prospective candidates is so high that venture capitalists interested in pre-IPO financing say they need to move quickly on due diligence or lose out to the competition, particularly in strategic industries such as chips.

“When companies conduct pre-IPO financing, you may have to make decisions in 1-2 weeks, which is very demanding for the investment team. Previously, such decisions were made over 1-2 months,” said Feng Sicheng, an investment manager at private equity firm GP Capital who specialises in the chip sector. ($1 = 6.9082 Chinese yuan)

Billionaire Schwartz makes $2.6 billion bet on Canada’s WestJet Airlines

( ) – Billionaire Gerry Schwartz pounced on Canada’s WestJet Airlines on Monday as his private equity firm Onex Corp offered to buy the struggling airline for C$3.5 billion ($2.6 billion), betting it can turn around its recent decline by taking the company private.

The surprise offer for C$31 a share, a 67% premium to their closing price on Friday, sparked a surge in WestJet shares, which closed up 60% at $29.61. If completed, it would be the biggest private equity deal ever for an airline, according to Refinitiv data.

If Onex obtains shareholder and regulatory approvals, the deal would help Schwartz get his hands on an airline two decades after he missed out on buying Air Canada, WestJet’s bigger rival. Air Canada shares rose more than 5%.

WestJet shares, which touched a record high of C$34.95 in December 2014, have recently been trading at almost half that level. The airline has reported declining net profit for each of the last three years, hurt by rising fuel costs, pressure on ticket prices and other issues.

Even before the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets in March, WestJet’s earnings had slipped as it worked to contain costs as its workforce unionized and was spending money on bold growth plans to expand international travel, introduce first class cabins and launch a budget carrier called Swoop.

Up to Friday’s close, WestJet shares had fallen 5.5% in the last 12 months while Air Canada shares gained 58%. American rival United Continental Holdings, the company that owns United Airlines, rose 28% in the same period.

“The ‘why now?’ is valuation,” said AltaCorp Capital analyst Chris Murray.

Onex, founded in 1984 by Schwartz who started out at Bear Stearns & Co in the 1970s, approached WestJet’s board in March. Neither Schwartz, nor any other Onex executive was available to comment.

WestJet Chief Executive Ed Sims said on BNN that the deal will allow the company to execute on its long-term growth strategy without the constraints of quarterly scrutiny. It is “a reaffirmation that the path we’re on is actually a path towards long-term profitability irrespective上海夜生活网 of the sort of headwinds that you refer to that we saw regularly in 2018.”

LONG HISTORY

With about $31 billion of assets under management, Onex is not new to investing in the aerospace industry. It bought Spirit AeroSystems from Boeing Co in 2005 and exited its investment in 2014 after making $3.2 billion.

Under Schwartz, who remains CEO, Onex tried to buy Air Canada in 1999 and merge it with now defunct Canadian Airlines, but that attempt failed. Onex shares closed up 4% in a broadly lower market.

Air Canada Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu declined to comment on the Onex deal, telling “it’s business as usual,” on the sidelines of the Air Transport Action Group conference in Montreal.

The Onex bid follows a deal last week where low-cost Latin American airline Viva Air received a $50 million investment from U.S. capital fund Cartesian Capital Group that it will direct toward expansion.

And the parent company of Montreal-based Air Transat has said it is in talks with more than one party regarding a potential transaction, although it is not yet clear what group might buy it.

Onex could “ultimately look” to also acquire Transat to “complement WestJet’s offering,” wrote Desjardins analyst Benoit Poirier in a note to clients. Transat AT stock was up 4 percent in afternoon trading.

The WestJet purchase will be led by Onex Partners, Onex’s private equity platform focused on larger investments. The airline’s board has urged shareholders to vote in favor.

The deal is subject to a number of conditions, including court and shareholder approval and receipt of certain regulatory approvals, including under the Canada Transportation Act.

In Ottawa, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said at first glance the proposed takeover looked fairly standard in terms of an acquisition.

“I am not going to prejudge until I see the details whether there are any regulatory obstacles – at first glance it doesn’t seem to be anything special,” he told reporters.

NO CHANGE TO ‘COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE’

Alberta’s Premier said on Monday that WestJet and Onex have assured him the carrier’s headquarters will remain in Calgary after the deal.

Chris Rauenbusch, president of the union local representing WestJet flight attendants, said he supports the deal after being informed by company executives that it would not lead to any layoffs among the carrier’s 14,000 employees, while permitting the continuation of its growth strategy.

“We do not believe this transaction dramatically alters the competitive landscape, at least negatively,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Doug Taylor said.

A spokesman for Delta Air Lines said the proposed transaction does not impact plans to implement a U.S-Canada trans-border joint venture with WestJet.

The deal, which has a value of $5 billion including debt, is expected to close in the latter part of this year or early next year.

CIBC Capital Markets and BofA Merrill Lynch were the financial advisers to WestJet, while Barclays, Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets advised Onex.

Wall Street weekahead: U.S. funds focus on media stocks, banks to find value as mid-caps rally

NEW YORK ( ) – The S&P 400 Mid-Cap index has surged to its best start to a year since 1991, both rewarding fund managers and forcing them to work harder to seek out bargains in a group that is now the most expensive part of the U.S. market based on their historical averages.

The rally in mid-cap stocks – companies with a market valuation between $2 billion and $10 billion – has come during a broad rally in global stock markets as investors price in a resolution in the trade talks between the United States and China and fewer interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Mid-caps are up 14 percent for the year to date and sport an average price-to-earnings ratio of 16.9 times forward earnings, for their highest valuation premiums to small-cap stocks since 2017, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch research.

Yet fund managers from Janus Henderson, Hotchkis & Wiley, and Fairpointe Capital are among those who are still finding values by concentrating on financial, energy and media stocks and eschewing the high-priced real estate investment trusts and utility companies that make up nearly a fifth of the benchmark index.

“The window for the big bargain bin was the fourth quarter and that was about it,” said Kevin Preloger, a portfolio manager of the $3.3 billion Janus Henderson Mid Cap Value fund. “We’re looking for companies that have good balance sheets and good cash flow, but the tough part is reasonable valuations.”

Preloger’s fund i上海夜生活网s finding them in financial companies such as M&T Bank Corp and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc that are increasing their stock buybacks at the same time they have been beating analysts’ earnings expectations. Shares of M&T, for instance, are up 20.8 percent since the start of the year and trade at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 11.8.

“Financials are the cheapest sector in the space, and their earnings are also growing,” Preloger said.

Stanley Majcher, a portfolio manager of the $1.4 billion Hotchkis & Wiley Mid-Cap Value fund, is buying into overlooked financial and energy stocks because he considers them less risky than utility companies or REITs with higher valuations.

“Energy is very out of favor and there’s a perception that it’s a risky business because oil prices are likely to be low for a long period of time because of the market share war between OPEC and the U.S.,” he said. “But we see low volatility of demand and more discipline on the supply side.”

Among its largest holdings, Majcher’s fund has several energy companies, including Whiting Petroleum Corp, Kosmos Energy Ltd and Ophir Energy PLC, according to Morningstar data, with mixed results for the year to date. Shares of Whiting are up 12.4 percent year-to-date, while shares of Ophir are up nearly 53 percent over the same time.

Thyra Zerhusen, a portfolio manager of the $2.6 billion AMG Managers Fairpointe Mid Cap fund, said her fund is finding opportunities in media stocks such as broadcast company Tegna Inc, which was spun off of Gannett Co, magazine and local broadcasting company Meredith Corp, and New York Times Co, all of which should see a significant boost in revenues from the 2020 presidential and congressional elections, she said.

“With everybody running for president, the political advertising goes to these smaller market stations. Newspapers are almost non-existent now,” except for the New York Times, which continues to grow its digital subscriptions, she said.

She is also adding opportunistic positions in companies such as Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp, which completed its merger with the transportation unit of General Electric Co on Feb. 25. Shares of the company are up 2.9 percent year-to-date, and remain 35 percent below where they were trading six months ago.

“We’re trying to add stocks where there may be a short-term problem hitting the share price but the long-term outlook looks okay,” she said.

PG&E close to reshaping leadership with investor backing: WSJ

( ) – PG&E Corp is close to naming a new chief executive officer and revamping its board backed by some of its largest investors, the Wall Street Journal said on Saturday, as the power utility restructures after filing for bankruptcy because of potential liabilities from California wildfires.

Bill Johnson, who is set to retire as the CEO of Tennessee Valley Authority in April, is the front-runner to get the top job at PG&E, the Journal reported.

PG&E has also made offers to 10 new independent board candidates and is expected to unveil the slate as soon as next week, saying it has significant shareholder support, according to the report.

Johnson’s new role, which could also be announced next week, has not yet been finalized and other candidates were still being interviewed, the newspaper added.

The utility filed for bankruptcy protection in January in anticipation of liabilities from the wildfires, including the catastrophic 2018 Camp Fire that killed 85 people.

PG&E declined to comment, while no one was available at U.S.-owned TVA to comment on Saturday.

A trio of activist investors, that together own nearly 10 percent of PG&E stock, has been working with the company to change its management, the Journal reported.

The three hedge funds, Abrams Capital Management LP, Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Redwood Capital Management LLC, said in a filing on Friday they had agreed with PG&E to work together to appoint a new CEO and refresh its board. bit.ly/2HqIxyM

The board slate 上海夜生活论坛they have helped PG&E assemble is expected to include experts on cyber security, nuclear security and restructurings, the Journal said.

PG&E’s previous CEO, Geisha Williams, stepped down in January after less than two years on the job.

Last month, the company said it expected only five of its current 10-strong board to stand for reelection at an annual shareholder meeting in May. It also said it expected the board to include 11 independent directors by the time of the meeting, without specifying how big the board would finally be.

The Journal said the efforts of the three investors are separate from those of another PG&E investor, BlueMountain Capital Management, which earlier in March named its own slate of 13 people it hopes to install as directors at the embattled power utility.

Howe: “The key period is about to begin now”

Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth coach, knows very well that his team are about to enter the key period of the whole season as his Bournemouth are about to play a lot of matches in the upcoming weeks.

It was clear that Bournemouth were not about to gain something from their last match against Manchester City and Eddie Howe admitted that he was focusing more on the upcoming period that on that particular match. The Cherries were beaten 4-0 by the Premier League leaders and they were clearly the worse side for the majority of the fixture so this loss was deserved.

The talented British coach spoke about the upcoming series of matches as he said, according to Sky Sports: “Those games will take on even more significance. We came here trying to get something but we knew it would have been incredibly difficult and we have to look at these games [against United, Liverpo上海夜生活论坛ol and City] as one-offs because of the quality of opposition we were playing. We had an incredibly tough run but my hope is the players have come through it okay and we’re ready to go into an important spell for us.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by adding that his side did well in the match against City: “I thought we did okay. It was a huge task for us today, not just the team we were facing but also the injuries we’ve got. We were okay in the game until we conceded the first goal, which was our own doing, and it was hugely frustrating with the game plan we had. From then on it is difficult.”

In the end, Howe admitted that the second goal meant that the match was over: “The second goal is the killer for us. We still had a go to try to chase it and then opened ourselves up to concede a couple more. I’ve not spoken to [Stanislas] but I think it’s his hamstring feeling tight. We had a patched up team anyway and to lose another important player for us made it very difficult. It was a difficult afternoon.”

Neymar’s bonus for Ballon d’Or

PSG have promised to reward Neymar in case the Brazilian manages to win the Ballon d’Or trophy.

The record transfer of Neymar from Barcelona to PSG continues to impress with the numbers included in the deal. The Parisians paid the €222m release clause in the Brazilian’s contract and offered him wages of around €100k per day (€36,8m/year), making him the most expensive and the best paid player in the world.

In addition to that, Neymar also has a clause in his contract that will see him earn a bonus of €3m every time he manages to win the Ballon d’Or trophy, according to Le Parisien.

Since 2008, the Ballon d’Or award has only been won by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Argentinian took the trophy home 5 times, while the Portuguese is still one behind his rival. However, Ronaldo has big chances of equalling Messi’s number of trophies this year.Report: Icardi opens PSG account in 0-1 win over Gala George Patchias – Mauro Icardi opened上海夜网 his goal-scoring account for PSG in a 0-1 away victory over Galatasaray.While Thomas Tuchel has begun to integrate Mauro Icardi into…

Even though Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are again the favourites for the award this year, Neymar also has a chance. He has been included on the 30-men shortlist for the FIFA gala that will take place in December and that will announce the winner.

26 years have passed since the last time a player from the French league won the Ballon d’Or. In 1991, Jean-Pierre Papin was awarded the trophy. That year, Papin helped Olympique Marseille reach the Champions League final, where they eventually lost to Red Star Belgrade, 3-5 at penalties.

Muller continues the attacks on Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti has left Bayern Munich after multiple players complained about his methods.

After the appointing of Jupp Heynckes, some of Bayern’s players are still hitting out at their former manager. Most recently, Thomas Muller stated that he is certain the arrival of Heynckes will bring a revival in the team’s playing style.

The German midfielder was, along with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, decisive for the departure of Carlo Ancelotti, after the 3-0 defeat to PSG in Champions League.Report: Ancelotti’s Napoli held by Genk George Patchias – Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli side was held to a scoreless draw by Belgian side Genk.This game was billed as a goal fest for the Italian…

Immediately after the appointing of Heynckes, one of the first reactions of Muller was: “Finally we will have good training sessions again”, hinting at the low quality of trainings under Ancelotti.

Speaking about the managerial change, Thomas Muller said: “Now we have no excuses. A change of manager always brings energy and we, the players, have to give everything. Both Jupp Heynckes and his staff came with a lot of energy to trainings from the beginning.” 

Bayern’s first match 上海夜网with Heynckes on the bench is to be played on Saturday, 15:30. The Bavarians will host Freiburg at Allianz Arena. Bayern are currently second in the standings, with 14 points after 7 rounds, five less than Bundesliga leaders, Borussia Dortmund.

Abidal hopeful that Mbapp\u00e9 will win the Ballon d’Or

The former Catalan has backed up the youngster, insisting he has the potential to win the award in the future.

Former Barcelona full-b上海夜生活网ack Eric Abidal is hoping that Kylian Mbappé will become the best footballer in the world. The 18-year-old has established himself as one of the most promising footballers of our generation, scoring 26 goals during a remarkable campaign with AS Monaco last season. He has also reached the final 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or award this year, but will likely not win the competition with Ronaldo and Messi being the favourites as usual.

However, Abidal has recognized the enormous talent of Mbappé and says he will be rooting for this fellow countryman to win the most prestigious individual award one day.

“Yes he can,” said Abidal when asked whether Mbappé could become one of football’s greatest players, according to Goal.Neymar keeps winning matches for Paris Saint-Germain Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Another solitary goal from Neymar gave Paris Saint-Germain the victory at Bordeaux on Saturday. Mbappe played football again.With this latest goal against Bordeaux, that…

“But I can say also he has to, because he has a lot of talent.

“He is only 18-years-old. PSG have hired one of the best players of his age so he deserves a good career. But he has to work. Talent is not enough, you have to work every day.

“And with Neymar and other good players around him he has to learn from them.

“I’m French and he’s French too so I hope in a few years he wins some titles with his club and maybe in a personal capacity too, like a Ballon d’Or.”

Ballon d’Or shortlist announced

The list of nominees for the prestigious award has been announced throughout the day.

France Football, the publication that awards the trophy has already announced the 30 names on the shortlist for this year’s award. The Ballon d’Or trophy was previously affiliated with FIFA, for the period 2010 to 2015, but since then, it has returned to the French publication.

For the past nine years, either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo have picked up the trophy. Ronaldo won his fourth Ballon d’Or last year and therefore moved just one behind Messi. The odds are favouring the Portuguese to equal the record of Messi and win his fifth this year.Top 5 most incredible snubs from football awards in 2019 Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Even though award season still hasn’t finished, we need to talk about the Top 5 most incredible snubs from football in 2019.Every year we…

After FIFA and France Football ended their collaboration in 2015, the trophy is now awarded based solely o上海夜生活n the votes of a panel of journalists, who will have to choose between the 30 finalists.

The 30 names shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or 2017 are:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) Edinson Cavani (PSG) Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) David de Gea (Man Utd) Paulo Dybala (Juventus) Edin Dzeko (Roma) Radamel Falcao (Monaco) Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich) Harry Kane (Tottenham) N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) Sadio Mane (Liverpool) Marcelo (Real Madrid) Dries Mertens (Napoli) Lionel Messi (Barcelona) Luka Modric (Real Madrid) Neymar (PSG) Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) Luis Suarez (Barcelona) Eden Hazard (Chelsea) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan) Kylian Mbappe (PSG) Isco (Real Madrid)

Iniesta denies Barcelona contract extension

The Spain international said the statement made by Barcelona‘s president claiming that t上海夜生活论坛erms have been reached is false.

Things are certainly not looking bright at Barcelona as Iniesta denied the claims made by the Catalans president Josep Maria Bartomeu saying terms have been reached. The club president recently said to Mundo Deportivo that Iniesta agreed terms about a contract extension and the deal should be finalised in the near future.

However, Andrés Iniesta has now come forward to disagree with that, simply adding up to the crisis within the Catalans.

“We already have a principle of agreement to renew and we hope to finalise it in the coming weeks,” Bartomeu told Mundo Deportivo when asked about Iniesta’s future.

“We are waiting these days to continue talking but Iniesta is a player that we want to retire here, and to retire when he thinks he wants to retire.

“The idea is to have an indefinite contract where he automatically renews from year to year until he thinks he can retire or change.”Griezmann and Neymar questions infuriate Valverde George Patchias – Questions about the Antoine Griezmann fine, and the Neymar court case, infuriated Ernesto Valverde at his pre-match press conference.Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde face Getafe…

Despite those claims, Iniesta has denied those claims when asked by reporters if he has extended his contract, according to sports reporter Ignacio Miguélez.

Iniesta on arrival at Barcelona airport; -Can you confirm the principle of renewal agreement announced by Bartomeu?” -No

Brighton announce the signing of Mathew Ryan from Valencia for a club-record fee

The Australian goalkeeper will become Seagulls’ third signing ahead of their Premier League debutWritten by – Nikolay Nikolov, June 17, 2017.

Brighton & Hove Albion have broken their club record transfer fee to sign Valencia’s goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

The 25-year-old Australia international agreed on a contract until 2022. He became the club’s third signing after Pascal Gross and Josh Kerr ahead of their Premier League debut season.Kane: Spurs out of excuses after shock Carabao Cup exit Andrew Smyth – Harry Kane concedes that Tottenham only have themselves to blame following a shock Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Colchester United.

Albion manager Chris Hughton said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to attract Mathew to the club, and he will certainly be an excellent addition to the squad in time for our first season in the Premier Leag上海夜生活论坛ue. We’re very much looking forward to working with him for the season ahead.

“For somebody of Mathew’s age, he has very good experience, having played in the top divisions in Australia, Belgium and Spain. He has also competed in European competition and made a number of appearances at international level.”

European top clubs started to follow Ryan at the time he was playing for Club Brugge in the Belgian Pro League. There, he was chosen as the Goalkeeper of the Year in two successive seasons – 2014/15 and 2015/16.

Buffon\u2019s classy gesture to Mbappe

上海夜生活The Italian goalkeeper has proved once again his character after the first leg of the UCL semi-finals between Monaco and Juventus.Written by Cosmin Mihalescu. May 5, 2017.

The 39-year-old is a true legend of world football and continues to impress, both with his performances and with his character. Gianluigi Buffon made another perfect game on his 100th Champions League appearance against Monaco and has managed to keep another clean sheet. In doing so, he has reached 600 minutes without conceding a goal.

At the end of the game, Buffon chose to swap shirts with the young French goal scorer Kylian Mbappe. Buffon proved his legendary status and character when he explained his decision: “I remember when I was young, nobody wanted to swap shirts with me. I hated this. It was a proof of respect that I swapped shirts with Mbappe”.Inter Milan V Lazio: Players to Watch Taimoor Khan – Inter Milan are set to host Lazio at the San Siro on Thursday and the game is definitely going to be an exciting affair…

In this Champions League season, Buffon played ten games and only conceded two goals, both in the group stage: in the 1-1 draw against Lyon and in the 3-1 victory over Sevilla. Buffon managed to keep a clean sheet in the quarter-finals against Barcelona – 3-0 in Turin and 0-0 in Barcelona.

Gianluigi Buffon won the World Cup in 2006 with Italy, but he has never managed to win the Champions League. He came very close to the trophy twice: in 2003, Juve lost at penalties against Milan; and in 2015 when the final was played in Turin, but Barcelona won 3-1.

Mueller complained to Barr about his summary of Russia probe: Washington Post

WASHINGTON ( ) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller complained in a letter to Attorney General William Barr that his four-page summary of Mueller’s Russia report “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation’s conclusions, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The Post said it reviewed a copy of Mueller’s letter, which was written in late March after Barr released a summary on March 24 that said Mueller did not establish that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.

Barr also said in the summary that Mueller had not reached a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had found the evidence insufficient to support such a charge.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec, in a statement, confirmed that Mueller wrote上海夜生活网 to Barr after the summary was released to express frustration over “the lack of context and the resulting media coverage,” particularly about Mueller’s conclusions on obstruction of justice.

Democrats have accused Barr of trying to spin the report’s conclusions to protect Trump.

In a statement in response to the Post report, House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Barr “should not have taken it upon himself to describe the Special Counsel’s findings in a light more favorable to the President.” The Democratic lawmaker demanded the Justice Department release a copy of Mueller’s letter by Wednesday morning.

Barr’s four-page summary was released more than three weeks before a redacted version of Mueller’s 448-page report was released to the public on April 18.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote, according to the Post.

“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations,” the Post quoted Mueller as writing.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment to .

Mueller asked Barr to release the report’s introductions and executive summaries quickly, without waiting for the full report to go through the redaction process.

“Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation,” Mueller wrote, according to the Post.

Kupec said after receiving Mueller’s letter, Barr called the special counsel and they had a “cordial and professional conversation.”

Kupec said “the Special Counsel emphasized nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading.”

She said Barr declined Mueller’s request to release part of the report early, deciding “it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion.”

Mueller’s letter is likely to be brought up when Barr testifies on Wednesday about the Russia investigation before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It will be the attorney general’s first appearance on Capitol Hill since the report’s release.

Warren Buffett’s charity lunch postponed after cryptocurrency…

NEW YORK/HONG KONG ( ) – Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun postponed his $4.57 million charity lunch with Warren Buffett after falling ill with kidney stones, according to a statement from a foundation he backs.

Sun had been scheduled to dine with Buffett on July 25 at the Michelin-starred Quince restaurant in San Francisco after he won an auction to benefit Glide, a charity in the city.

Sun’s Tron Foundation said all parties have agreed to reschedule the lunch. Buffett’s assistant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), has long been a skeptic of cryptocurrency.

He once called bitcoin “probably rat poison squared,” and at Berkshire’s annual meeting in May likened wagering on bitcoin to betting on zero or double-zero on a Las Vegasroulette wheel.

Sun had said that he hoped dining with Buffett would “bridge the gap between institutional and traditional investors and the realm of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.” Buffett has raised about $34.2 million for Glide, a charity that serves the poor, homeless and those battling substance abuse, in 20 annual auctions since 2000. Glide said on Tuesday it has received Sun’s entire donation.

Sun on Tuesday denied a Chinese media report suggesting he engaged in improper activities in China.

He wrote on his Weibo social media account that rumors circulating online about illegal fundraising and about money laundering were untrue, and that Singapore-based Tron complied with local laws there.

Later on Wednesday, he said a report by Chinese financial magazine Caixin, stating he had been barred from 上海夜生活网foreign travel by Chinese authorities, was “completely false”.

Tron launched its TRX token in 2017, raising about $70 million in an initial coin offering, and acquired San Francisco-based BitTorrent for $120 million last year. It has said its goal is to establish a decentralized internet.

Tron’s cryptocurrency was down 11.2% on Tuesday afternoon, according to the website CoinMarketCap.com, giving it a value of about $1.68 billion.

Exclusive: U.S. clears SoftBank’s $2.25 billion investment in…

( ) – Cruise, a U.S. self-driving vehicle company majority-owned by General Motors Co, told on Friday that a U.S. national security panel approved a $2.25 billion investment in the firm by Japan’s SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank has come under increasing U.S. scrutiny over its ties to Chinese firms in the face of an escalating trade and technology war between Washington and Beijing. It is in the process of raising its second $100 billion investment vehicle, dubbed Vision Fund, after deploying its first one of equal size.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews deals for potential national security concerns, approved the investment based on fresh assurances that Cruise’s technology would be completely off limits to SoftBank, a source familiar with the matter said.

A SoftBank spokesman declined to comment. The Treasury Department, which leads CFIUS, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The approval unlocks a seat for SoftBank on Cruise’s board, formalizing its oversight, and cements key financing for Cruise, which has raised $7.25 billion in capital since last year, the company said.

“Today’s news is another important step toward achieving our goal to develop and deploy self-driving vehicles at massive scale,” Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in a statement to .

However, approval for the deal did not always appear certain as CFIUS scrutinized it closely, according to two people close to the deal.

The $2.25 billion investment was unveiled by SoftBank in May 2018 amid a wave of investments by the Japanese technology and telecommunications conglomerate in artificial intelligence, data analytics, financial services and self-driving cars.

RED FLAGS

The investment raised red flags with CFIUS because SoftBank invests in numerous mobility units, some based in China, and encourages companies it invests in to share information.

CFIUS was especially concerned about SoftBank’s co-investments with Tencent Holdings Ltd, a Chinese social media and gaming giant, and its investment in China ride-hailing firm Didi, which it fears could take technology from Cruise, sources said.

The committee, emboldened by a law last year aimed at strengthening the inter-agency panel, has flexed its muscles increasingly against Chinese companies as Beijing and Washington remain locked in a heated trade and technology row.

reported that Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd has been seeking to sell Grindr LLC, the popular gay dating app, after CFIUS said its ownership posed a national security risk. CFIUS halted a plan last year by Ant Financial, owned by the chairman of China’s internet conglomerate Alibaba, to acquire MoneyGram International Inc.

The Cruise deal was structured to allow $900 million of the investment to be disbursed initially, with the remainder provided once Cruise AVs are ready for commercial deployment and contingent on regulatory approval. The two tranches would combine to give SoftBank a nearly 20 percent stake in Cruise.

However, the Japanese firm separately announced a joint investment with GM, T. Rowe Price, and Honda of $1.15 billion earlier this year, further boosting its stake.

Softbank’s investment, followed by Honda’s announcement in October that it will pour $2.75 billion into Cruise, is still one of the biggest and most high-profile investments in self-driving technology to date.

Its Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology fund,上海夜网 unveiled a $1.5 billion investment in China’s top used car platform, Chehauduo Group, in February. reported in December that the same fund was hiring an investment team based in China to boost its presence in one of the world’s most vibrant tech markets.

It is not the first time SoftBank has gone through a protracted CFIUS review. It has had to accept U.S. restrictions on how it runs some of its companies, including wireless carrier Sprint Corp and investment firm Fortress Investment Group.

SoftBank lost its claim to two seats on the board of Uber Inc when the ride-hailing giant floated in the stock market in May. SoftBank never received permission for the board seats from CFIUS following an agreement in 2017 to invest $9 billion in Uber.

The autonomous vehicle industry could revolutionize transportation but faces engineering, safety and regulatory challenges, as well as skepticism among potential users.

GM Cruise and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo are often described as leading the pack of technology and auto companies competing to create self-driving cars and integrate them into ride services fleets.

Trump ally Stone pleads not guilty to Russia probe charges

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Donald Trump’s longtime political ally Roger Stone pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he tried to obstruct a congressional investigation into allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” and Republican political operative for decades, pleaded not guilty in a federal court in Washington, D.C., to lying to Congress, obstructing an official proceeding and wi上海夜生活论坛tness tampering.

He is the latest member of Trump’s inner circle charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and could face about 50 years in prison if found guilty on all the charges, although he is unlikely to receive such a harsh sentence, sentencing experts say.

Prosecutors say Stone, 66, lied to investigators for the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee who were looking into allegations that Russia hacked the emails of senior Democrats.

The indictment against Stone also says he told members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign that he had advance knowledge of plans by the WikiLeaks website to release damaging emails about Trump’s Democratic opponent in 2016, Hillary Clinton. U.S. intelligence agencies say the emails were stolen by Russia.

Stone, a Republican operative since the days of the Watergate scandal that forced President Richard Nixon to resign in 1974, has been a friend and ally of Trump for some 40 years.

Usually exuberant, Stone clenched his jaws as he sat quietly waiting for the judge in the courtroom. He then responded to the judge’s questions with courteous, clipped answers.

Outside after the hearing, Stone flashed the twin “V for Victory” signs that Nixon was famous for but did not address the media.

A small group of protesters waved Russian flags and a placard that said “Dirty Traitor” while his supporters called for Mueller to be fired.

The indictment did not indicate whether Stone knew that Russians had stolen the emails by hacking into computers used by Clinton’s senior campaign adviser John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

The charges against Stone marked the first time Mueller’s team has publicly tied the Trump campaign to WikiLeaks, and raised questions about what Trump may have known prior to the public release of the stolen emails.

Stone, who is free on a $250,000 bond after being arrested at his Florida home last week, has accused Mueller of “a raw abuse of power.”

Trump has called the investigation a witch hunt and denied collusion. Russia has denied U.S. intelligence community’s finding that Moscow interfered in the U.S. political arena.

Thirty-four people have been swept up in the Mueller investigation. Those charged include Trump’s former campaign chairman and deputy campaign chairman, former national security adviser and his former personal lawyer.

LG Electronics, regulators oppose Qualcomm’s effort to put…

( ) – Smartphone maker LG Electronics Inc on Tuesday opposed Qualcomm Inc’s efforts to put a sweeping U.S. antitrust decision against the chip supplier on hold as it pursues an appeal.

The Korean company said that it is negotiating chip supply and patent license agreements with Qualcomm and could be forced into signing another unfair deal unless a federal judge’s protections remain in place.

The filing in federal court in San Jose, California, came shortly after the U.S. Federal Trade Commissi上海夜生活论坛on also opposed Qualcomm’s efforts, saying that it was in the public interest to let the antitrust ruling stand because an appeal could take years.

Both filings stem from a May 21 decision by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh that would drastically alter the business model of Qualcomm, which supplies modem chips to connect phones to mobile data networks but makes most of its profit through licensing patents.

Among other things, Koh’s decision would require Qualcomm to license its patents to rival chip makers instead of phone makers, which could potentially slice its patent royalties from several dollars per phone to pennies.

Qualcomm on May 28 asked Koh to set aside her decision while it pursues an appeal. The company said that Koh’s decision would entail “radically restructuring its business relationships” in ways that would be impossible to reverse if it wins an appeal.

It also argued that Koh’s ruling raised “serious legal questions” because, among other things, Koh blocked market evidence showing that Apple Inc dropped Qualcomm in favor of rival chip supplier Intel Corp.

In a court filing on Tuesday, JongSang Lee, LG Electronics’ general counsel, said that the phone maker relies on Qualcomm for modem chips and is in the midst of negotiating a new agreement, including over 5G chips for the newest generation of mobile networks in Korea.

Lee wrote that Qualcomm has continued to pressure LG Electronics to sign a patent license in order to keep its access to Qualcomm chips, which it relies on for its phones. LG Electronics’ agreement with Qualcomm runs out on June 30, and the phone maker may have “no option but to conclude license and chipset supply agreements once again on Qualcomm’s terms, since LGE must rely on Qualcomm’s modem chips,” Lee wrote.

Koh’s decision “prohibits Qualcomm’s long-standing ‘no license no chip’ position, which Qualcomm has continuously raised during its license negotiations with LGE,” Lee wrote. “Without this order, LGE will continue to face Qualcomm’s anticompetitive stance during currently ongoing negotiations.”

The FTC similarly argued that Koh’s ruling should stay in place while Qualcomm appeals, saying that a prompt enforcement of the Court’s order is in the public interest.

“The appellate process could easily extend through the initial rollout of 5G technology … and a stay would allow Qualcomm time to use anticompetitive practices to entrench its monopoly power in modem-chip markets during this critical period,” the FTC wrote in its filing.

The App Association, a group that represents more than 5,000 app developers and device makers and is backed by sponsor Apple, also said it planned to oppose Qualcomm’s request, saying it would hurt smaller device makers.

“Allowing Qualcomm to continue abusing its (patents) and its wireless chipset monopoly any longer will irreparably harm opportunities for small businesses in the app and internet of things marketplace and would encourage further abusive behavior in (patent) licensing widely,” said App Association President Morgan Reed.

In April, Apple signed a six-year patent license agreement with Qualcomm and a multi-year chip supply deal. As part of the deal, Apple dropped all litigation against Qualcomm, and the company did not return a comment request asking if it would also oppose Qualcomm’s efforts to pause the antitrust ruling.

Qualcomm has signaled its intention to file an appeal but has not yet filed one or fully revealed its legal arguments. Tuesday’s filing by the FTC only concerns whether the ruling’s provisions will be put on hold temporarily as any appeal plays out.

India minister says confident airline capacity problems will be solved

NEW DELHI ( ) – India’s new civil aviation minister said on Friday he is confident that airline capacity shortage problems following the grounding of Jet Airways Ltd will be solved, in the government’s first comments about the issue since it was re-elected last month.

We are “very confident we can solve that problem,” Hardeep Singh Puri said on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.

Massive debt and suffocating price competition forced what was once India’s biggest private-sector airline to halt operations in April at the cost of thousands of jobs, and resulting in higher airfares across the industry. It has also resulted in capacity constraints across the industry.

The airline and its lenders have been searching for new investors, while employee unions have been calling for government intervention. The government, however, has largely been quiet on the Jet issue since its elect上海夜生活论坛ion victory.

Puri has assumed office at a time of distress in areas of Indian aviation. Last year, the government unsuccessfully sought a buyer for money-losing state-owned carrier Air India Ltd.

“We have made mistakes in civil aviation in the past which we need to correct,” Puri said.

Jet’s share price was 9% lower in early afternoon trade. The stock sunk in the last two trading sessions after India’s largest stock exchange limited speculative trading in the firm.

(This story corrects headline, first and second paragraphs to reflect that minister was addressing aircraft capacity issue and not Jet Airways issue.)

Ready for a fight: Voter enthusiasm surges among U.S. Hispanics

( ) – Hispanics are more interested in voting this year than in the last U.S. congressional midterm elections in 2014 and their enthusiasm outpaces that of all U.S. adults, according to a /Ipsos national tracking poll released on Sunday.

The poll also found likely Hispanic voters nearly twice as inclined to support Democrats for the House of Representatives as Republicans in Tuesday’s elections.

Voter registration groups are using Republican President Donald Trump’s nationalist, anti-immigrant rhetoric as an opportunity to drive up Latino enthusiasm. In an illustration of their passion, one group that is part of an alliance that has reached out to more than 1 million potential voters in Arizona took its name from the Spanish word for “fight.”

Most opinion polls and political handicappers expect Democrats to win the 23 seats they need to assume control of the House. Republicans are favored to keep control of the Senate.

Latinos could play a crucial role in several races, from tight Senate battles in Arizona and Texas to Florida’s close Senate and governor’s races. In California, the flourishing Latino population has helped put in play some Republican-controlled House districts Democrats hope to flip.

The /Ipsos poll, taken Sept. 1 to Oct. 29, found that 36 percent of Hispanic voters said they were “certain” to vote, up from 27 percent in 2014. That increase is nearly double the five percentage point rise in voter enthusiasm among all Americans over the same period, the poll showed.

Enthusiasm appears especially high among Hispanic Democrats.

Forty-two percent of Hispanic Democrats said they were “certain” to vote, up from 29 percent in 2014. Among likely Hispanic voters, 60 percent said they will vote for a Democratic candidate for the House, and 32 percent would back a Republican.

Hispanics are a politically diverse group, with 55 percent of likely voters identifying as Democrats, 31 percent as Republicans and 12 percent as independent, the poll showed.

Just over half, 53 percent, of likely Hispanic voters said they were “very motivated” to pick a candidate for Congress who opposes Trump, compared with 43 percent of all likely voters, 75 percent of likely Democratic voters and 9 percent of likely Republican voters.

‘GET YOUR VOICE HEARD’

For candidates in border states with large Hispanic populations such as Arizona, a fundamental question is whether Latino voters will turn up in large numbers on Tuesday.

The voting bloc has long held potential for the Democratic Party but often disappoints. Record-low Hispanic turnout in 2014 was a warning sign for both parties.

Bea Nevarez hopes to turn that around, registering 800 people to vote this year. In the final days before the elections, she went door-to-door to encourage people to vote in Tucson.

Nevarez, 18, works for a group called “Lucha,” a Spanish word meaning “struggle” or “fight.” It is a partisan affiliate of One Arizona, a broad alliance that says it has knocked on 1.5 million doors in the state this year, part of a broad grassroots effort to reverse declining Latino participation. One Arizona says it has registered 200,000 voters this year.

“I’m out here trying to get your voice heard,” Nevarez tells reluctant voters.

Her persistence paid off when she knocked on the door of Jose Alberto and Norma Moreno, Mexican immigrants who are now U.S. citizens.

Sitting at his kitchen table, Jose Alberto Moreno, 62, at first told N上海夜生活evarez he had no intention of voting.

“I don’t believe in any of that. All politicians are liars,” said Moreno, who works at a furniture warehouse.

But Nevarez insisted, engaging him in a conversation that eventually turned to healthcare, Moreno’s main concern. After a few minutes, he agreed to vote.

“I’m going to do it now. She convinced me,” Moreno said.

The Republican National Committee said it has also reached out to voters in Arizona this year, as part of a drive in 11 states.

America’s 29 million Latinos account for nearly 13 percent of eligible voters this year, but their turnout rate has declined since 2006, according to the Pew Research Center. Only 27 percent of eligible Latinos voted in the last midterm elections in 2014, and only 16 percent of those aged 18 to 35, Pew said.

Some activists said they were motivated by watching Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff whose anti-immigrant policies brought his office multi-million-dollar penalties for racial profiling and eventually a contempt of court conviction.

He maintained that the prosecution was political, aimed at helping oust him from office. Trump later pardoned him.

“We have seen an igniting of fear, division and violence under this (Trump) administration, but that’s not new to Arizona,” said Alejandra Gomez, a co-executive director of Lucha. “We had the original Trump here under Arpaio.”