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  • Callaway to Buy the Rest of Driving-Range Chain Topgolf
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Callaway to Buy the Rest of Driving-Range Chain Topgolf

    (Bloomberg) -- Callaway Golf Co. plans to buy the remainder of driving-range chain Topgolf Entertainment Group, providing the golf-club giant with a new source of growth.The deal values closely held Topgolf at about $2 billion, the companies said in a statement after Tuesday’s market close. Callaway, the maker of Big Bertha drivers and other equipment, already owns 14% of Topgolf. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Tuesday that the acquisition was in the works.Topgolf driving ranges -- which feature food, drinks and electronic games -- are seen as a way to bring younger players to golf, which has suffered from aging demographics and the closing of hundreds of courses in recent years. They also have held up during the pandemic because golfers can practice their swing while remaining socially distant.With the merger, Callaway hopes to acquire new customers and add a stronger digital component to golfing, Chief Executive Officer Chip Brewer said in an interview.“We have thoughts about being the Peloton of golf,” Brewer said. He added that the company could offer more microtransactions in the future, charging for personalized golf content.The companies said they expect pro forma revenue of about $2.8 billion and see it growing to $3.2 billion by 2022, projecting 10% annual growth thereafter. They predict that the deal will close early next year.Callaway shares closed down 3.1% after briefly climbing as much as 8.9%. They’re down 9% this year through Tuesday’s close.Callaway, located in Carlsbad, California, first invested in Dallas-based Topgolf in 2006.Topgolf CEO Dolf Berle, meanwhile, plans to leave the company to start his own business after the transition period, he said in an interview.(Updates with executive comments starting in third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.S. Stock Futures Decline; Dollar Pushes Higher: Markets Wrap
    Business
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Stock Futures Decline; Dollar Pushes Higher: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. equity futures fell with Asian stocks as concern lingered about the impact of the worsening pandemic on economic activity in some parts of the world. The dollar rebounded against major peers.Shares dropped in Japan, Australia and South Korea. S&P 500 contracts retreated after the U.S. benchmark closed with a modest decline. Earlier, technology shares eked out gains on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s $35 billion takeover of chipmaker Xilinx Inc. European shares fell to the lowest since May amid concern about the faster spread of the coronavirus on the continent.China’s yuan is in focus after the nation’s banks abandoned inclusion of a key factor used to calculate the currency’s daily reference rate. Treasury yields closed lower.Volatility remained elevated as the possibility of a U.S. stimulus package before next week’s election fades. Meanwhile, investors mulled a U.S. consumer confidence report that came in worse than forecast Tuesday. Data showed Covid-19 hospitalizations rose at least 10% in the past week in 32 states and the nation’s capital.“Covid case counts and hospitalizations continue to rise -- these will continue to be closely watched as investors gauge the likelihood of more stringent mitigation measures,” said Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at StoneX.Elsewhere, crude retreated. Oil had climbed Tuesday as U.S. Gulf producers shut production ahead of Tropical Storm Zeta. Bitcoin rose past $13,500, approaching levels not seen since just after the collapse of cryptocurrency prices almost three years ago.These are some events to watch this week:The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee holds its all-important plenum, where it’s expected to chart the course for the economy’s development for the next 15 years. Through Oct. 29.Brexit negotiating teams have started intense daily talks, and these are likely to continue as both sides push to finalize a deal by the middle of November.Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank have monetary policy decisions Thursday, followed by briefings from Governor Kuroda and President Lagarde.The first reading of U.S. third-quarter GDP Thursday is anticipated to be the strongest on record following a record dive in the prior quarter as many businesses were shuttered by the pandemic.Here are the main moves in markets:StocksS&P 500 futures declined 0.5% as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge fell 0.3% on Tuesday.Japan’s Topix index fell 0.7%.South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.3%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.1%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2%.The yen dipped 0.1% to 104.53 per dollar.The offshore yuan slipped 0.1% to 6.7209 per dollar.The euro fell 0.1% to $1.1781.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries ticked down to 0.76%.Australia’s 10-year yield fell three basis points to 0.77%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude declined 1.8% to $38.85 a barrel.Gold fell 0.2% to $1,905.06 an ounce.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Aston Martin Turns to Mercedes for Help Steering Out of Crisis
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Aston Martin Turns to Mercedes for Help Steering Out of Crisis

    (Bloomberg) -- Months after catching a lifeline from its billionaire owner, Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc is securing more sorely needed funds and forging closer ties with Daimler AG to survive tumultuous times for the auto industry.The British carmaker is raising a total of about 1.3 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) through bond and stock offerings, most of which will be used to refinance existing debt. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz also will help Aston Martin bring hybrid and electric vehicles to market, and in return will become a major shareholder without spending cash.The capital raise marks the latest attempt by the carmaker synonymous with James Bond films to turn things around after a disastrous two years as a public company. Soon after a group led by Canadian fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll put 536 million pounds into Aston Martin at the end of January, the automaker warned it was running low on cash in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.Mercedes will expand a tie-up that started in 2013 with eight-cylinder engines by starting to supply hybrid and electric powertrains to Aston Martin. In exchange, Aston Martin will issue new shares to Mercedes, boosting the German carmaker’s stake from 2.6% to as much as 20% over three years.“They hugely believe in the upside,” Stroll said of Mercedes in a phone interview. “We’re getting all the latest and newest and greatest access to all their technology, which we did not have in our previous seven-year relationship, by opening the door to them with the shareholding and them being the second-largest shareholder after me.”Aston Martin tried banking off Ferrari NV’s successful 2015 IPO with its own listing three years later, but disappointing sales and challenges keeping inventory in check have sent the shares plunging 91% since their debut. After Stroll bailed out the automaker early this year, the company poached the head of Mercedes’s high-performance brand AMG to be its new chief executive officer.Stroll, 61, said that Zelon Holdings -- a European family office -- and Permian Investment Partners will become new shareholders in Aston Martin as part of its new financing plan.“The opportunity draws numerous parallels to our early 2016 investment in Ferrari,” Permian said in an emailed statement. “We believe that Aston’s improved balance sheet and expanded strategic partnership will propel best-in-class execution from this new and highly reputable team and ultimately lead this renowned luxury brand to maximize shareholder value over the coming years.”Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius told reporters earlier this month the company has no intention to acquire Aston Martin but said their technology partnership will remain in place. He has been cutting costs to free up funds for hybrids and EVs, including for the AMG division. Supplying electric-car technology to Aston Martin will boost economies of scale beyond Mercedes’s own product range.After the fundraising, Aston Martin will have more than 500 million pounds of cash, the company said in a stock-exchange filing. That amount is sufficient for its medium- and long-term requirements, Chief Financial Officer Ken Gregor said on a conference call. The company also released third-quarter revenue and earnings that were largely in line with analysts’ estimates. Tobias Moers, the former AMG boss who became Aston Martin’s CEO in August, said the company’s initial partnership with Mercedes formed in 2013 “was just to open the door.”“Now, we have access to the whole powertrain lineup of AMG, for example, from the low end to the high end,” he said in a phone interview. “We can use their technology to transform it a little bit more bespoke for our cars in the future.”Bonds RallyAston Martin’s 285 million pounds of notes due April 2022 were up 10 pence to 100.1 pence after the company announced the refinancing plans. That’s the biggest jump since the notes were issued in 2017, and the highest price in two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The company has a combined $1.3 billion of debt in financial instruments due in 2022. With proceeds from a new 840 million pounds-equivalent of senior secured notes, the company will push its maturity wall to 2025.The initial pricing being discussed for the new notes is said to be in the 8% to 9% range, according to a person familiar with the matter. That’s well above the 6.5% coupon paid by its existing $400 million and $190 million notes, but below the 12% interest it had to offer to investors the last time it tapped debt markets more than a year ago.Aston Martin also arranged 259 million pounds-equivalent of new second-lien notes due in 2026 with a 13.5% coupon, and a refinanced 87 million-pound revolving credit facility due in 2025.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Texas High Court Restricts Ballot Drop Boxes: Campaign Update
    Politics
    Bloomberg

    Texas High Court Restricts Ballot Drop Boxes: Campaign Update

    (Bloomberg) -- Texas’ high court ruled that counties would each have just one drop box for voters who want to hand-deliver mail ballots. Democratic nominee Joe Biden is maintaining a 6-point lead in Nevada, a state President Donald Trump is seeking to flip. And Trump ran a Facebook ad that skirts the social media platform’s policy on declaring a win.There are seven days until Election Day and 48 days until the Electoral College meets.Other Developments:Trump Pins Hopes on Rallies That Could Be Sealing His DefeatBlue Wave May Curtail Muni Tax Break, Breckinridge Advisors SaysStimulus Hopes Put On Hold Until After Election as Senate LeavesAmy Coney Barrett Quickly Enters Fray of Trump’s Acrimonious Legal BattlesTexas High Court Limits Ballot Drop Boxes to One per CountyTexas counties won’t have multiple ballot drop boxes ahead of the Nov. 3 national election.The state can restrict counties to just one drop box for voters who want to hand-deliver mail ballots for fear they won’t arrive in time to be counted if sent by post, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.That means whether it’s Harris County, where Houston is located with more than 4 million people, or Loving County, population 169, each gets one drop box.The high court didn’t hear oral arguments and issued its decision without explanation. Two lower Texas courts had earlier ordered the state to let counties keep multiple drop boxes open to make voting easier for people seeking to avoid voting in person during the pandemic.A historically reliable Republican stronghold, Texas has become a battleground this year. The RealClear Politics average of recent polls has Trump up by just 2.4 percentage points. -- Laurel Brubaker CalkinsBiden Maintains His Lead in Nevada, a State Trump Wants to Flip (3:39 p.m.)Biden leads Trump by 6 percentage points in Nevada, a state that Hillary Clinton won by just 2 points in 2016 and that Trump is seeking to flip.A New York Times/Siena College poll released Tuesday finds Biden leading Trump 49% to 43% among likely voters in Nevada. Biden’s lead is buoyed by Hispanic voters who support him 59% to 30%, as well as younger voters 18-29 who support him by 56% to 32%. Women back Biden in the poll 54% to 36%.The poll was conducted Oct. 23-26, after the presidential debate last week, and finds nearly no change in the numbers from the same poll taken at the beginning of October.Trump has visited Nevada twice since August, a sign of the Republicans’ interest in flipping the swing state, which has backed presidents of both parties, including George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points and was conducted among 809 Nevada likely voters. -- Emma KineryTrippy Trump Facebook Ad Skirts Policy on Declaring a Win (2:06 p.m.)A Trump campaign ad featuring screaming flowers appears to skirt Facebook’s policy against candidates prematurely declaring a win.The ad, which ran on Monday, features an animated sun with Trump’s face rising over a field with flowers that bloom to reveal a famous video of a woman screaming after Trump won the 2016 election.“It’s morning in America,” a narrator says to Edvard Grieg’s “Morning Mood,” as what sounds like a newscaster says “Donald Trump is still president of the United States.”Facebook Inc. says that political ads from politicians who claim victory prematurely are against company policies, and should be removed. The company stopped accepting all new political ads early Tuesday morning, a week before the election, but will still allow advertisers to promote ads that have been previously uploaded into its system.The ad could be a violation depending on when the Trump campaign runs it. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Trump on Monday also uploaded a series of ads promoting record GDP growth in the third quarter, though those numbers have not yet been released. -- Kurt WagnerBiden’s Stutter Mocked on Trump Campaign Call (1:40 p.m.)A Republican congressman mocked Biden’s childhood stutter on a Trump campaign call Tuesday.In a call to highlight Biden’s past comments on fracking, Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania imitated a stutter as he argued that Biden “gets himself caught up” when talking about the natural gas extraction method.“Look he’s been against fracking since the beginning of this primary season. He’s pledged that he would eliminate, he kind of stumbles: ‘I ... I ... I’ll ... I’ll ... I’ll ... we’ll ... we’ll ... we’ll ... we’ll ... we’ll ... w-we’ll work it out, we’ll work it out,’” Kelly said.Biden says he would ban new oil and gas permits on public land but would not ban fracking. But in a bid to win Pennsylvania voters, Trump has seized on Biden’s verbal missteps during the campaign to argue that he would ban fracking outright.Trump campaign surrogate Lara Trump and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey have also mocked the way Biden speaks at campaign events, although both denied they were talking about his stutter. -- Mario ParkerBloomberg Spending $15 Million for Biden in Texas, Ohio (11:35 a.m.)Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending $15 million to support Biden’s efforts to flip Ohio and Texas, a spokesperson said Tuesday.Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC will run TV ads in both states starting Wednesday until Election Day on November 3.“Mike looked at the polling data and it was clear that Texas and Ohio are in play for Biden. He is investing in expanding the map, beyond the ‘Blue Wall’ to places like Florida, Texas and Ohio, where it’s close but a win could make a big difference,” a different spokesman, Kevin Sheekey, said.In Ohio, the ads will focus on the coronavirus, the economy and Biden’s recovery plans. In Texas, the ads will focus specifically on the coronavirus and will air in both English and Spanish. The spokesperson also said Bloomberg was increasing his spending on behalf of Biden in Florida.Trump and Biden are essentially tied in Ohio and Florida, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polling, and Trump is leading Biden by 3.2 percentage points in Texas, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976.Bloomberg, who spent $1.1 billion on his unsuccessful presidential campaign, has donated $107 million to federal candidates and committees this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He’s given $30 million to Independence USA PAC, his own super PAC, which has spent $32 million backing Biden.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. -- Mark NiquetteYouth Voter Turnout Could Match 2008 Levels (10:08 a.m.)Young voters are showing enthusiasm, as high as with the runup to the 2008 election, which saw a historic turnout as the country elected its first Black president, Barack Obama.In a poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics released Monday, 63% of 18- to 29-year-olds said they will “definitely be voting” this year.That’s much higher than the 47% of 18- to 29-year-olds who said the same in the institute’s 2016 poll and comparable to a poll in 2008 which found 63% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they would definitely vote.If true, that’s a good sign for Biden as the poll showed that young likely voters backed Biden over Trump, 63% to 25%.The poll of 2,026 18- to 29-year-olds was conducted Sept. 23-Oct. 11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.Biden Says He May Have a Shot at Texas (9 a.m.)Biden said he thinks he may be the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Texas since 1976.In an interview with the NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth Monday night, Biden said the campaign has put a “major effort” into the Lone Star State.“Eight days to go, and the Lone Star State has a shot of becoming blue again,” he said. “We have 17 battleground states across the country. We’re not losing focus on securing the many pathways to 270,” he said, referring to the number of Electoral College votes a candidate needs to win the presidency.Texas demographics have been trending toward Democrats in recent years, but Republicans still dominate state politics. Trump currently has a 3.2 percentage point lead in the RealClearPolitics average of polls, below the nine-point margin of his win in 2016.Biden running mate Kamala Harris will stop in Houston Friday, while the campaign is spending millions on ads in the state.Trump Urges Mail-In Voters to Change Their Ballots (7:42 a.m.)Trump erroneously told voters having second thoughts that they can change their votes in most states Tuesday.Echoing an argument he made just days before the 2016 election, Trump said that Google searches for “can I change my vote” have been trending upwards, claiming that it was for him.“The answer in most states is YES. Go do it. Most important Election of your life!” he tweeted.Only a handful of states allow mail-in voters to change their ballots after submitting them and the practice is not common. Voters in Wisconsin have until Thursday to request that their ballot be spoiled and they be issued a new one, while voters in New York can simply show up on Election Day to have their mail-in ballot nullified.Trump claimed that searches spiked after the second debate, while conservative media sites have claimed the searches are related to stories about Hunter Biden. But most of the recent surge has been driven by those stories, with related searches like “change my vote trending” and “top Google searches.”Older Veterans Back Trump, Younger Veterans Like Biden (6:47 a.m.)A slim majority of veterans say they will vote for Trump, but his support is concentrated among older veterans, according to a new poll.In a survey by the Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families released Monday, 52% of people with some military experience backed Trump and 42% backed Biden.That’s a drop for Trump, who got about 60% of voters with some military experience in 2016, according to exit polls.Trump’s numbers were buoyed by strong support among veterans over 55, who backed him over Biden, 58%-39%.By contrast, veterans under the age of 34 supported Biden over Trump, 46%-42%; and veterans age 34-54 backed Biden 51%-40%. Those two groups also showed higher numbers of respondents saying they’d vote for a third-party candidate.The nationwide poll of 1,733 veterans was conducted Oct. 1-13.Two Conservative-Leaning Papers Back Trump, While Another BalksTrump picked up the endorsement of the conservative-leaning editorial boards at the New York Post and the Spokane Spokesman-Review in Washington state.But he lost the Topeka Capital-Journal in Kansas, which supported him in 2016.In an editorial announcing its decision, the Capital-Journal’s editorial board said that Biden is “committed to following the science and leading our country out of this pandemic.”“Yes, you might have heard that he’s also a Democrat. He deserves your support anyway,” the paper wrote.The Spokesman-Review, while endorsing Trump’s “market based solutions” and approach to trade, added that he is “a bully and a bigot,” who “panders to racists” and “tweets conspiracy theories” while handling the coronavirus poorly, denying climate change and seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without an alternative.Coming Up:Trump will visit Lansing, Michigan; West Salem, Wisconsin; and Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday. He’ll be in Bullhead City and Goodyear, Arizona on Wednesday.Biden will be in Atlanta, Georgia Tuesday and former President Barack Obama will be in Orlando, Florida.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.