Fed Will Be Tested in 2021 as Vaccines Boost U.S. Economic Outlook | Investing News

(Reuters) – If 2020 was the year the Federal Reserve overhauled its game plan for supporting the U.S. economy, 2021 will be the year its new approach gets tested should a coronavirus vaccine deliver the lift that many analysts expect.

In its final policy meeting of the year this week, the U.S. central bank is expected to keep its key overnight interest rate pinned near zero and to signal it will stay there for years to come; many analysts also expect new guidance on how long the Fed will keep up its massive bond-buying program.

The super-easy monetary policy is part of a long-term strategy the Fed adopted in August to help it navigate a world of persistently low interest rates that limits the central bank’s options for fighting downturns and makes it difficult to hit its 2% inflation goal.

The idea is to counteract any unhealthy downward drag on

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EU Commission Raises Doubts Over New Italian Media Law – Paper | Investing News

ROME (Reuters) – The European Commission last week raised questions over the validity of a recently approved Italian media law, which could potentially curb French group Vivendi’s interests in the country, daily la Repubblica reported on Monday.

In a letter sent to Italy’s Industry Ministry on Friday, the Commission said the law was not notified to Brussels, making it potentially inapplicable, according to the la Repubblica report.

The new rule could be “incoherent with European treaties,” the report said, citing the document.

Last month, Italy approved stop-gap legislation allowing national communications regulator AGCOM to start a probe into Vivendi’s Italian assets, to evaluate whether these holdings are harmful to media plurality.

Vivendi, controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore, holds a 29% stake in Italy’s top commercial broadcaster Mediaset, and is also top investor in former phone monopolist Telecom Italia (TIM) with a 24% holding.

The new law could help Mediaset –

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Falling Plane Values, E-Commerce Rise Fuels Boom in Converting Passenger Planes to Freighters | Investing News

By Jamie Freed, Ari Rabinovitch and Allison Lampert

SYDNEY/JERUSALEM/MONTREAL (Reuters) – From Air Canada to China’s CDB Aviation, airlines and leasing firms are rushing to permanently convert older passenger jets into freighters, betting on a boom in e-commerce as the value of used planes tumbles amid the pandemic.

That has created a huge opportunity for passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion companies, including Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering Ltd, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and U.S.-based Aeronautical Engineers Inc.

Aviation analytics firm Cirium expects the number of P2F conversions globally will rise by 36% to 90 planes in 2021, and to 109 planes in 2022.

“We estimate that most slots are sold for 2021 and at least 40% for 2022,” Cirium Head of Market Analysis Chris Seymour said. “There is an increase in newer-generation programs, notably the 737-800 and A321 as well as the A330, although older types like the 767 continue to see strong

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U.S.-Based MSP Sports Capital Buys Into McLaren F1 | Investing News

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S.-based investment group MSP Sports Capital is taking a significant minority stake in McLaren Racing in a deal the Formula One team said would give them the tools to return to the top of the sport.

The long-term investment, announced on Sunday, is for an initial 15% holding rising to a maximum 33% by the end of 2022. McLaren said it values the British racing outfit at 560 million pounds ($740.5 million).

Under the deal, MSP will put 185 million pounds into the former world champions, who last won a race in 2012 but are still historically the sport’s second-most successful team, over a two-year period.

Luxury sportscar maker McLaren Automotive remains wholly owned by the McLaren Group, whose majority shareholder is Bahrain’s Mumtalakat holding company, and is not part of the transaction.

The consortium members include The Najafi Companies, a private investment firm, and UBS O’Connor,

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Italy Prosecutors Wrap up Probe Into Vivendi’s Bollore in Mediaset Case | Investing News

By Emilio Parodi, Stephen Jewkes and Elvira Pollina

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian prosecutors have concluded a probe into Vivendi’s Vincent Bollore and Arnaud De Puyfontaine for alleged market manipulation and obstruction of regulators in a case involving stake building in Italian broadcaster Mediaset, tax police said.

The probe involved allegations the two executives were involved in a deal to buy the pay TV unit of Mediaset to drive down its share price and raid its stock, the police said in a statement.

A lawyer representing the two men did not respond to an email request for comment. Vivendi denied any wrongdoing in a statement on Saturday.

In a probe closure document seen by Reuters, prosecutors allege the real aim of the pay-TV deal was “to reach a relevant share holding, at least 24.99%, in the capital of Mediaset.”

They allege three Vivendi statements issued in 2016 were written to convince

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Britain’s Asda Paid Parent Walmart $1.52 Billion Dividend | Investing News

LONDON (Reuters) – Asda, the British supermarket being sold by Walmart, paid its parent a 1.15 billion pound ($1.52 billion) dividend from surplus cash in March, Asda’s annual report showed on Friday.

In October, the Issa brothers and private equity group TDR Capital agreed to buy a majority stake in Asda from Walmart in a deal giving the chain an enterprise value of $8.8 billion.

Asda, Britain’s third largest grocer after market leader Tesco and Sainsbury’s, said in its report and accounts published on Friday that the dividend payment was made in respect to its 2017, 2018 and 2019 financial years.

It said the payment, the first since 2017, was made after the completion of the 3.8 billion pound “buy in” of its pension scheme with Rothesay Life in October 2019.

Asda said its acquisition by the Issa brothers and TDR was on track to complete in the first half

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