GE plans $3 billion in investments in Saudi Arabia
General Electric Co. agreed to participate in as much as $3 billion of investments across industries in Saudi Arabia as the desert kingdom seeks to diversify its economy away from oil. The US manufacturing giant will collaborate with the Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Co. to pump $1 billion into the local market by the end of next year; that could be followed by another $2 billion invested in water, energy, aviation, and digital projects in subsequent years, the company said. The agreement is intended to complement the ‘‘Saudi Vision 2030’’ plan to diversify its economy. The project includes selling shares in Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, creating the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund and generating more than $100 billion in additional nonoil revenue by 2020. GE also plans to invest $400 million in a forging and casting factory in Saudi Arabia that will help double the company’s workforce to 4,000 by 2020.
Bayer offers $62b to buy Monsanto
Bayer of Germany offered $62 billion in cash to acquire Monsanto in a deal that would combine two of the world’s biggest companies in the businesses of crop seeds and pesticides. Bayer said it would be willing to pay $122 a share for Monsanto, a 37 percent premium to Monsanto’s closing price May 9, the day before Bayer made its proposal. Monsanto Co. has yet to respond. But US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said he spoke to Monsanto chief executive Hugh Grant, who told him it was “surprising for a German company to be as open with: ‘Here’s what we are offering and this is why we’re offering it.’ ” The transaction would create an industry giant whose products include antibiotics, genetically modified crops, and pesticides, with combined annual revenue of more than $67 billion. The proposal came after Dow Chemical and DuPont agreed to merge last year and Monsanto made an unsuccessful bid to acquire Syngenta, a Swiss pesticide maker.
NEW YORK TIMES, BLOOMBERG NEWS
Vietnam airline chooses Boeing planes
Boeing Co. won an $11.3 billion order from Vietnam’s only private airline, dealing a blow to rival Airbus Group SE in a battle over the growing market for low-cost air travel in Asia. VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co. will buy 100 737 Max jetliners, the budget carrier said Monday during a visit by US President Barack Obama. The deal will add diversity to a fleet that has consisted entirely of Airbus planes. Boeing’s win with VietJet marks a shift for discount carriers that typically stick with a single aircraft type to reduce costs for spare parts and pilot training. The airline, which is less than five years old, agreed as recently as November to buy 30 A320neos from Airbus. Based in Toulouse, France, Airbus said it counts VietJet “as an existing customer for our A320 family.” The new 737 Max 200s will be delivered starting in 2019, VietJet and Boeing said in a joint statement.
IMF pushes for Greece debt relief
The International Monetary Fund is calling on European creditor nations to commit to ‘‘upfront unconditional’’ debt relief for Greece as part of an international rescue program for the debt-laden nation. The IMF is involved in talks on making Greece’s debt sustainable to approve the country’s latest reforms and make new loans available. In an analysis released Monday, the Washington-based lender says that debt relief is ‘‘critical’’ to show markets that Greece’s creditors are committed to helping it navigate the crisis. The statement comes a day ahead of a meeting among Europe’s top officials in Brussels to discuss the issue.
Banks accused of manipulating interest-rate benchmark
A federal appeals court in Manhattan reinstated a civil antitrust case accusing 16 banks of hurting investors who bought securities tied to Libor by manipulating the interest-rate benchmark. Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. are among the defendants sued in the civil lawsuit in Manhattan. The appeals court overturned a 2013 ruling by US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald who said the investors had failed to show an antitrust injury that would permit them to sue under US law. About a dozen firms have paid almost $9 billion in fines to resolve investigations around the world into rigging of the key benchmark.
Oregon may vote on taxing large companies
This November, Oregon voters could decide on a $2.8 billion annual tax hike on large corporations as a way to boost funding for public services such as education and health care. The ballot proposal could give Oregon the most aggressive tax structure for big business in the nation. It comes amid a national debate on ways to close economic disparities between the rich and poor in a post-Recession era. Labor unions behind the proposal are just one step from getting it on the ballot after submitting 130,000 signatures to state elections officials last week. They say it’s a progressive strategy to force large companies to pay their fair share for the greater good. But a new state analysis shows much broader implications, with job losses, rising consumer costs, and population declines.
Wakefield’s Xura bought by private equity firm
Wakefield technology firm Xura Inc. is being acquired by a private equity firm for $643 million. Siris Capital Group, a New York investment firm that owns a number of technology businesses, will pay $25 a share for Xura, which the companies said represents a 19 percent premium to the stock’s closing price Friday. Xura, which designs and sell communications software, was renamed in September after Comverse Inc. spent $136 million for British mobile messaging company Acision in August. It had sold off its $273 million business support systems unit the month before. Xura has 45 days to solicit alternate buyers, according to the terms of the deal. Monday’s news sent the company’s shares soaring more than 17 percent to $24.58 by midday.
Bridgestone getting out of Venezuela
Tire maker Bridgestone is selling its business in Venezuela after six decades in the country, the latest blue chip company to abandon the country as a result of runaway inflation and strict currency controls. Bridgestone Americas said it is selling its Venezuela assets to Grupo Corimon, a local industrialist. The Nashville-based company joins Halliburton, Ford Motor, and Procter & Gamble in slowing or abandoning their investments in Venezuela. Also Monday, sugar has become so scarce in Venezuela that Coca-Cola Co. said it will no longer make sugar-sweetened beverages there.
ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS