Financial Daily Dose 12.18.2019 | Top Story: Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot Boards Agree to $50 Billion Merger

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Fiat Chrysler and rival Peugeot have agreed to binding merger terms that, if approved by US and European regulators, would create a “$50 billion auto giant that would rank among the world’s largest car companies by sales” – WSJ and MarketWatch

Freshly emboldened by a sizeable win in last week’s general election, UK PM Boris Johnson announced this week that Britain will sever ties with the EU by the end of next year—a promise that again raises the uncomfortable prospect of a no-deal Brexit – WSJ and Bloomberg

Embattled utility PG&E won Court approval of its $13.5 billion deal with victims of fires blamed on its equipment and an $11 billion deal to resolve claims from insurers and investors. Despite earlier threats, California Governor Gavin Newsome now appears likely to bless the deals, though work remains on that front – Bloomberg and WSJ

Federal Reserve officials appear to be starting an early campaign to prime the markets for steady rates, even against backdrop of near-constant harassment from the White House to lower them further – WSJ and MarketWatch

And speaking of low rates, years of economic stagnation in Europe that prompted economic authorities to keep interest rates under 1% have created a dangerous situation across the continent. In short, the cheap money is pushing borrowers and institutional investors to snap up real estate, potentially kicking off a new real estate bubble and messing with property valuations – NYTimes

An associate “60 Minutes” producer has sued the program’s network, CBS, over alleged retaliation after she made a formal complaint about her boss. The suit is the “latest example of women making accusations against men in positions of power at CBS” and comes just over a year after former company CEO Les Moonves was ousted after more than a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct – NYTimes and HuffPost

Former Target chief merchant and new Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton is looking to put his stamp on his new company, 6 weeks after his arrival, and he’ll start by announcing the departure of six top executives—a major shake-up, especially during the “critical holiday selling season” – WSJ

The FTC will challenge Illumina’s $1.2 billion purchase of Pacific Biosciences of California, accusing Illumnia of “trying to ‘unlawfully maintain’ its monopoly over next-generation DNA sequencing systems in the U.S.” by eliminating through purchase a “nascent competitive threat” – Law360

Goldman Sachs-led fundraising has helped WeWork score $1.75 billion in new financing “under terms that free up a mountain of cash for the struggling office-sharing company.” The deal is the first in a series promised by SoftBank in an effort to stabilize the Neumann-free startup – Bloomberg

Plaintiffs are requesting preliminary approval of settlements north of $337 million involving a dozen banks and allegations that they “rigged the price of bonds issued by mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” – Law360

Dumpster diving and Amazon: not an ideal mix, especially this time of year – WSJ

About those supplier-centered ripple effects associated with Boeing’s decision to halt 737 Max production . . . . Look no further than GE to understand why Boeing’s announcement has the potential for devastation far beyond its Chicago HQ – WSJ

A 2018 California law requiring corporate board diversity—including at least one female director—for all public companies headquartered in the state by the end of 2019, has set off a mad dash among procrastinators seeking to comply to avoid a one-time $100,000 penalty – NYTimes

I’m not saying that AMC’s overthinking things.  But seriously—“optimal mouthfeel and finger control”? It’s popcorn, people. Make it hot, fresh, and salty.  And give me a bunch of it – WSJ

MDR

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