BRIEF-Sky, Discovery/Liberty Global participating in auction for Formula One- WSJ

* Sky, Discovery/Liberty Global participating in auction
for Formula One; winner of auction could emerge in next few
weeks – WSJ, citing sources

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NewLeaf Travel Co sues air passenger rights advocate for defamation

NewLeaf Travel Co. Inc. is firing back against one of its most vocal critics.

The company is suing air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs for defamation, accusing him of undertaking “an unrelenting, aggressive and malicious attack targeted at NewLeaf and at NewLeaf’s potential and existing customers.”

The statement of claim, filed July 15 with the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, lists several statements made by Lukacs that it alleges are false and defamatory.

As a result, “NewLeaf has suffered damages in terms of loss of business and damage to its goodwill, credit, character and reputation,” according to the statement of claim.

Lukacs said in an email that he has not been served with any court papers by NewLeaf and he believes the lawsuit may be an attempt to intimidate him.

“I have not made any statement about NewLeaf that is not factual, or based on documentation or the law,” said Lukacs, adding that he plans to vigorously defend any claims against him.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ruled that NewLeaf is not required to hold an air licence since it’s a reseller of seats. Lukacs has filed an appeal of the CTA’s decision with the Federal Court of Appeal, arguing that NewLeaf’s status could leave its passengers stranded if it runs out of funds.

Lukacs has also asked the court to shut down NewLeaf unless it can post a $3.74-million performance bond to compensate passengers in the event it folds.

Private equity firms prepare acquisition offers for Save-A-Lot-sources

(Reuters) – Some of the world’s largest buyout firms are preparing offers for Supervalu Inc’s Save-A-Lot business, making an outright sale of the U.S. discount grocery chain more likely than a…

Canada’s economy shrinks 0.6 per cent in worst month since 2009 recession

OTTAWA — The Alberta wildfires torched the Canadian economy in May, which saw the GDP contract by 0.6 per cent — the country’s deepest one-month decline in more than seven years.

On Friday, Statistics Canada’s latest reading for real gross domestic product revealed the extent of the economic damage caused by the blaze that roared through the heart of oilsands country.

The dip in the economy was larger than expected. Economists had predicted real GDP to recoil by 0.4 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

The fires led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray, shut down key crude operations and have dimmed economic growth prospects for the second quarter. They also destroyed more than 2,000 structures.

Statistics Canada said the decline in real GDP for May was largely due to a 22 per cent drop in non-conventional oil extraction, the sector’s lowest level of output since May 2011. Excluding the decline in non-conventional oil extraction, real GDP still moved backwards in May by 0.1 per cent.

The agency said the disaster was the main cause of a 2.8 per cent drop in the output of all goods-producing industries.


Manufacturing output was also hurt. The industry was knocked back 2.4 per cent in May in large part due to a 15 per cent drop at petroleum refineries, which was created by a shortage of crude oil.

The May real GDP reading follows a slim economic growth reading of 0.1 per cent in April and contractions of 0.2 per cent in March and 0.1 per cent in February.

Earlier this month, the Bank of Canada predicted the fallout from the wildfires would fuel a contraction of one per cent in the second quarter, a period that includes April, May and June.

FP0714_Real_GDP_Forecasts_BoCThe central bank estimated the fires trimmed 1.1 percentage points from second quarter growth. In April, before the wildfires, the bank had forecast the economy would grow in the second quarter by one per cent.

Looking forward, however, the bank also predicted a “marked rebound” in the third quarter thanks in part to the resumption of oil production and rebuilding efforts in the region. It projected third quarter growth to reach 3.5 per cent.

The bank said it also expects that third quarter bounce back due in part to the federal government’s measures to enhance child benefits, which will support household consumption, and its commitment to boost infrastructure spending.

The U.S. GDP didn’t fare so well either.

A surprisingly lacklustre economy last quarter served as a reminder of how choppy the pace of growth has been since the Great Recession ended seven years ago. Businesses pared their stockpiling and investment through the spring. But consumers — the heart of the U.S. economy — kept spending.

Most economists foresee faster, if still modest, growth the rest of this year.


The Commerce Department’s report Friday showed that gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of the economy — grew just 1.2 per cent in the April-June quarter. That was far weaker than the forecasts of most analysts, who had expected growth of twice that pace in a bounce-back from a slump at the start of the year.

Earlier this week, a statement from the Federal Reserve had led many economists to conclude that a strengthening economy would lead the Fed to resume raising rates as soon as September. But after Friday’s tepid GDP report, many said a September rate hike was now probably off the table.

“The GDP data have significantly reduced the chances of a near-term rate hike,” said Paul Ashworth, chief economist at Capital Economics. Ashworth predicts only one interest rate increase this year, in December.

UPDATE 3-Pennsylvania attorney general announces Hershey trust reform deal

HARRISBURG, Penn., July 29 (Reuters) – The Pennsylvania
Attorney General’s office on Friday unveiled the terms of a
reform agreement with the charitable trust that controls Hershey
Co that includes a…