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Sep 6, 2016

DealBook Morning News: Follow the Leader, How Airgas Doubled Its Price, and ‘Better Than Goldman’

The New York Times 

  By Amie Tsang

How much influence does your boss have over how you vote? You’d probably like to think you’re fairly independent, but that may not be the case.
A new study shows that chief executives of companies have an unsettling amount of power over their employees, and it is not just down to colleagues having similar values.
The study showed that when a chief executive contributed to different political candidates from the ones supported by the preceding chief executive, employees tended to follow their leader and redirect their own donations.
The influence of a boss’s political leanings should not be underestimated and, indeed, should be scrutinized, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes. But for this election cycle at least, it seems that many chief executives are avoiding public endorsements, possibly because they do not want to face reprisals against their business or industry down the line.
How Airgas Doubled Its Sale Price
It’s a case study for business schools and an example for Wall Street law firms.
Airgas could have been sold off for a fraction of the initial offer price, just as Yahoo was. And, at the time, the company’s founder, Peter McCausland, was accused of being too entrenched.
But he has come out on top with a $10 billion sale.
All he had to do was:
• Fend off a hostile takeover from Air Products & Chemicals.
• Win a court battle to preserve the company’s ability to defend itself against hostile takeovers without input from shareholders.
• See off a challenge from the activist investor, Elliott Management.
• Find a better offer from another company.
That was easy enough, right?
Now Airgas is an argument for the management’s right to defend a company. The deal itself has upended the industry, potentially spurring more consolidation.
Still, it was hard for Mr. McCausland to let go.
“Would I have been happier just becoming nonexecutive chairman and staying involved with Airgas? I think I probably would,” he said. “But under the circumstances, we got the best result.”
Brazil’s ‘Better Than Goldman’ Bank
BTG Pactual was once a highflying investment bank with global aspirations, with some even joking that its acronym is in fact short for “Better Than Goldman.”
But a brush with scandal has left it reinventing itself with more modest aims.
Since its former chief executive, André Esteves, was arrested in relation to the Petrobras corruption investigation, the bank’s share price has taken a beating and clients have withdrawn billions from their accounts.
This ship has steadied somewhat since then, but BTG has nevertheless returned closer to its mission in 2012, when it was guided by the distinctly less aggressive motto — “Latin America’s business and investment hub.”
It still will not be easy for the bank to turn a profit in its newly-slimmer form. But for now, many are just giving it credit for surviving.
Coming Up
• John Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will discuss the economic outlook and what it means for monetary policy at the Hayek Group’s monthly dinner in Reno, Nev.

Bayer Sweetens Monsanto Bid as Talks Enter Final Stretch
The German pharmaceutical and crops manufacturer Bayer said that its negotiations with Monsanto had advanced and that it was now willing to offer more than $65 billion to acquire the world’s largest seeds company.
The headquarters of Fresenius, Germany’s largest hospital operator, in Bad Homburg.
Fresenius to Buy Spain’s Largest Private Hospital Operator
The $6.5 billion deal for Quirónsalud would expand the operations of Fresenius’s Helios unit, which is already Germany’s largest hospital operator.
Operating a machine at a G.E. plant in South Carolina that uses 3-D printing technology to create gas turbine parts.
G.E. Offers $1.4 Billion for 3-D Printing Technology Companies
The acquisitions of Arcam of Sweden and SLM Solutions Group of Germany would bolster G.E.’s material science and additive manufacturing operations.
Altice Agrees to Buy the Rest of a French Carrier
The European telecommunications operator Altice agreed to buy the 22 percent of the French carrier SFR Group that it does not already own for $2.7 billion.
Barclays Hires JPMorgan Executive to Oversee Investment Bank
Tim Throsby will join Barclays in January as president of its corporate and international business and as chief executive of its corporate and investment bank.
Falling Revenue Puts Pressure on Investment Banks
The world’s biggest investment banks saw combined revenue sink 15 percent in the first half of this year, the most since the aftermath of the financial crisis, according to figures from Coalition, a research group based in London.
Josh Groban was among those using social media to voice their objections to the implicit career guidance.
Sorry About That: Wells Fargo to End Ads Suggesting Science Over Arts
The financial services giant apologizes after an uproar on Twitter in response to “teen financial education day” ads.
Real Estate
Redwood City Journal
Colleen Foraker, left, a Sotheby’s agent, and her client, Mukul Gupta, at his soon-to-be home in Palo Alto, Calif.
No ‘For Sale’ Sign? Silicon Valley Buyers Aren’t Deterred
So few homes are on the market that buyers are getting more aggressive and innovative in approaching owners who haven’t officially decided to sell.
For the latest updates:
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Legal and Regulatory
Sean X. McKessy, who led the whistle-blower program until July, took a job at Phillips & Cohen, which specializes in whistle-blower cases.
S.E.C. Whistle-Blower Program’s First Chief Joins Law Firm
Sean McKessy, who left the agency in July, will be an advocate at Phillips & Cohen for people who come forward about fraud or improprieties in their workplaces.
Hanjin’s Creditors May Provide $90 Million in Rescue Funds
The shipping company’s government-backed creditors are ready to provide the collapsed carrier with loans if Hanjin’s parent provides collateral, officials say.
The Banks That Missed the Clues to the 1MDB Scandal
The embezzlement of at least $3.5 billion from 1Malaysia Development Berhad could not have happened without the cooperation of a number of bankers and the failure of a host of financial institutions and regulators, investigators say.
G.M. Settles 2 Cases Claiming Faulty Ignition Switches
The cases were the last of the so-called bellwether cases intended to help define settlement options after the recall of 2.6 million vehicles in 2014.
Terry Bollea, known as Hulk Hogan, left, and his lawyer, Charles J. Harder, in 2012 at a news conference about his legal action. Mr. Harder has contacted New York magazine on behalf of Roger Ailes, suggesting he might take legal action.
Roger Ailes Hints at Suit Against New York Magazine
Gabriel Sherman, a reporter for the magazine, has been at the forefront in covering the former Fox News chairman’s ignominious removal.
Jonah Peretti, the founder and chief executive of BuzzFeed, which announced two weeks ago that it was dividing its news and entertainment divisions.
BuzzFeed Regroups as Media Turns Video-Centric
A reorganization emphasizes video and entertainment to generate revenue, but executives say the company remains committed to its news operations.
Letter From Europe
Pavel Durov, a founder of the Telegram messaging application, in 2015. He left his native Russia in 2014 after refusing to give intelligence information about Ukrainian protesters.
Does the Messaging Service Telegram Take Privacy Too Far?
Telegram, favored by the Islamic State because of its formidable privacy controls, is a source of consternation for antiterrorism investigators.
U Thiri Thein Than, a 40-year-old automotive engineer and watch enthusiast, examines some of the timepieces in the Franck Muller watch boutique in Yangon, Myanmar’s first monobrand watch store.
Luxury in Myanmar: ‘A Long-Term Investment’
A monobrand watch store and a new mall are among the signs that high-end retail is emerging here.
Dead chickens at a slaughterhouse in Shanghai. Shandong Province has issued China’s first guidelines for the more humane killing of chickens.
Gentler Chicken Slaughter? Chinese Province Thinks It’s Worth a Try
New voluntary guidelines in Shandong Province are motivated at least as much by commercial considerations as by concerns for animal welfare.