Yen overvalued: Noda
Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda yesterday said the yen was “strongly overvalued” as expectations grew that Tokyo would intervene to sell the safe-haven currency, which has risen on worries over US debt. “In principle, it is desirable for fundamentals to be reflected in the market, and in this sense, the yen is strongly overvalued,” he told a regular news conference. “Its movement continues to be one-sided.” He spoke after the yen climbed close to a post-World War II high. The US dollar fell briefly to ￥76.29 overnight, very close to its post-war low of ￥76.25 on March 17. The greenback has since firmed and was trading at ￥77.52 in early Tokyo trade yesterday.
Li buys UK water provider
Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s (李嘉誠) Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (CKI, 長江基建集團) agreed to buy Northumbrian Water Group PLC for ￡2.4 billion (US$3.9 billion) in cash in its second UK acquisition in a year. CKI will pay ￡4.65 a share, according to a statement yesterday. That’s 26 percent higher than the water provider’s closing price on June 23, the day before the first press report that it was subject to takeover interest. The deal, which is subject to the approval of Northumbrian shareholders, was expected to close in October, the British firm said in a statement posted on its Web site.
BNP Paribas profits rise
French banking giant BNP Paribas yesterday reported that second-quarter net profit rose 1.1 percent to 2.12 billion euros (US$3 billion), short of analyst forecasts, as it set aside 534 million euros to cover its Greek exposure. BNP Paribas said cumulative net profit in the first six months of the year was up 8.1 percent from a year earlier to 4.74 billion euros. It said it held 2.3 billion euros of Greek government debt maturing by 2020. The recently agreed second bailout for Athens involving private sector creditors estimates the bank would lose 21 percent on such holdings and the second-quarter provision covers this eventuality, it said in a statement.
NYSE Euronext buys Metabit
NYSE Euronext said on Monday that it was buying Metabit, a Tokyo-based company that provides clients with high-speed access to Asian financial markets. “Japan and Asia are priorities for NYSE Euronext and we believe this is absolutely the right time to further invest in the region,” Stanley Young, chief executive of NYSE Technologies, a unit of NYSE Euronext, said in a statement. “We fully expect this transaction to accelerate our efforts as a leading technology provider across the Asia-Pacific region.” NYSE Euronext did not say how much it was paying for Metabit, which also has offices in Australia and Hong Kong. It said that it hoped to complete the acquisition in the third quarter of this year.
Twitter closes funding deal
Twitter said on Monday it has closed a deal for a “significant” round of new funding led by Russian investment company Digital Sky Technologies. Twitter did not reveal the amount raised, but the technology blog All Things Digital reported last month that the deal would be worth US$800 million and value the company at US$8 billion. According to All Things Digital, US$400 million of the total investment will go to the company and US$400 million will be used to cash out current investors and employees.