U.S. government approaches 18 states to fight AT&T-Time Warner deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has approached 18 state attorneys general to try to win their support for an antitrust lawsuit to block pay TV and wireless powerhouse AT&T Inc’s $85.4 billion deal to buy media and entertainment company Time Warner Inc, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

Tezos organizers hit with second lawsuit over cryptocurrency fundraiser

(Reuters) – A second lawsuit was filed this week against the organizers of cybercurrency technology project Tezos, an initiative that raised $232 million to issue a cryptocurrency that does not exist and fund development of a transaction system that has no clear end date.

The case for a Canadian sovereign green bond

If timing is everything, then Ottawa-based The Smart Prosperity Institute and London-based Climate Bonds Initiative have done well.

On Thursday, the two are set to publish the State of the Market report, a schedule that puts it in about the middle of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.

The report gave the Government of Canada a shot at a way of accelerating the growth of the green bond market: it advised Ottawa to issue a sovereign bond that would provide “the scale and liquidity” the nascent green bond market needs “to encourage trading and facilitate price discovery.”

If Ottawa follows that advice it would be the fourth country to tap a market that’s seen almost US$100 billion of issuance this year: Poland, which raised €750m last December; France, which raised €7 billion in February; and Fiji, which raised US$50 million last month, have been there.

The report argued that a Canadian sovereign green bond issue would provide “a signal to market participants, raising the profile … and open up the market to new investors with portfolios allocated to sovereign debt.”

But the report — issued at a time when green bond issuance this year by Canadian entities is equal to the total previous issuance — sees a glimmer of hope in the recently formed Canada Infrastructure Bank. In addition, it noted the Minister of Infrastructure has received a mandate letter directive to work on the launch of a Canadian green bond.

“Sovereign green bonds could help harness much needed private capital as public funds alone will be insufficient to achieve Canada’s climate goals,” said the report, which argues for provinces, other than existing issuers Ontario and Quebec, and cities, other than Ottawa, to come to the market. The report also advocates for publicly owned entities “such as water and electric utilities” to issue green bonds.

Ontario, which has been to the green market on three occasions, intends to return. In prepared remarks, Gadi Mayman, chief executive of the Ontario Financing Authority, said Wednesday that Ontario plans to launch its fourth green bond “before the end of fiscal 2017–18.”

The report indicates the supranationals — the World Bank and a slew of development banks — are the big players, having issued more than US$50 billion (or about one-quarter of total issuance) of such bonds over 10 years. Entities from the U.S., China, France, Germany and the Netherlands are the next five largest issuers. Over the same period, Canada has been the 10th-largest green bond borrower.

So far in 2017, $3.8 billion of green bond borrowings have been raised by Canadian entities, with TD Bank’s US$1 billion being the largest. Most end up with institutional investors (on the City of Ottawa’s $102-million deal, for example, 96 per cent was allocated either to investors with green mandates or investors who had signed the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investing.)

But one firm, CoPower Inc., an exempt market dealer, offers green bonds to retail investors. The green bonds it issues — and it’s in the market now with a $20-million offering, of which more than $6 million has been raised — are backed by portfolios of clean energy project loans. So far it has made $14 million of investments.

But the report says there is no reason to rest because issuers, when they bring forward a transaction, stand to receive a warm reception. In short, demand from investors both with and without green mandates is typically very strong. On Ottawa’s borrowing, demand was 2.7 times what was available.

Financial Post

bcritchley@postmedia.com

Gareth Southgate: Youthful England have helped ‘change the wind of public feeling’

England’s displays against Germany and Brazil have helped “change the wind of public feeling”, says boss Gareth Southgate.

PayPal ordered to disclose Canadian business account information to CRA

CALGARY — Online payments company PayPal has been ordered to hand over information about its Canadian business account holders to the Canada Revenue Agency.

PayPal says on its website it has been served with a Federal Court order to disclose information within 45 days to the Canadian tax-collecting agency identifying account holders and describing the amount and number of payments sent or received between Jan. 1, 2014, and last Friday.

CRA spokesman Patrick Samson says the agency has requested the information to ensure that these individuals and corporations comply with their tax obligations under the Income Tax Act.

He says it’s part of a stepped up campaign to use third-party data to detect unreported economic activity and identify individuals and businesses that do not file tax returns.

PayPal says it has notified the account holders, adding the order applies even if the business account has been closed.

It’s advising users to ensure they have filed their tax returns as appropriate, pointing out that the CRA has a voluntary disclosure program that allows a filer to adjust a tax return he or she has already filed.

Twitter to revoke verification for some accounts as part of overhaul

 Twitter says that it’s making progress on its plan to review its authentication system, which it’s conducting in the wake of backlash against the social network verifying the account of a white supremacist rally organizer. In a series of tweets today, the Twitter Support account acknowledges that verification comes across as endorsement, and that the social network’s treatment… Read More