Tech: Xerox abandons Fujifilm merger
Xerox this week abandoned its multibillion-dollar deal to merge with Fujifilm, said Jethro Mullen in CNN.com. The printing giant announced a new agreement with activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, who have a combined 15 percent stake in Xerox and “had bitterly opposed the Fujifilm deal.” Fujifilm countered that Xerox may be unable to legally cancel their agreement. Announced in January, the original deal was blasted by Icahn and Deason, who claimed it undervalued the company “and would be its death knell.”
Trade: NAFTA rewrite unlikely this year
President Trump’s effort to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement this year could be in peril, said Eric Lawrence in the Detroit Free Press. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan had set this week as an informal deadline for a new deal to be struck, in order for Congress to have enough time to vote on it before the midterms. But negotiators for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico remain “far apart” on key issues, “particularly those related to the automotive industry.” With Mexico’s presidential elections set for July 1 and U.S. elections in November, U.S. ratification of an accord this year now appears increasingly unlikely.
Finance: Mortgage rates hit 7-year high
Mortgage rates have swelled to their highest level in seven years, said Diana Olick in CNBC.com. The interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage for the average borrower hit 5 percent this week, after beginning the year at roughly 4 percent. The rise “could not have come at a worse time for the spring housing market.” Buyers are struggling to find affordable homes for sale, as the supply of listings has dropped to record lows in many major markets. Home prices are also rising “at the fastest rate in four years.”
Banks: Barclays CEO fined in whistleblowing scandal
Barclays CEO Jes Staley has been hit with an $870,000 fine by British regulators for attempting to expose a company whistleblower, said Stephen Morris and John Glover in Bloomberg.com. The penalty, the third-largest fine ever imposed by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, is roughly 15 percent of Staley’s reported 2016 pay. Barclays also clawed back nearly $650,000 of Staley’s 2016 bonus. Staley repeatedly attempted to identify an anonymous whistleblower who complained to Barclays’ board about the recruitment of one of Staley’s former colleagues, despite being warned his actions were inappropriate.