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European corporations aren’t used to dealing with activist investors. Now Dan Loeb, head of American hedge fund Third Point, has taken a $3.5 billion stake in Nestlé. He has a list of suggestions that might not be welcome at the Swiss firm but could provide cover for Nestlé’s new CEO to shake up the lumbering company. He’s not alone: American activists are showing increased interest in European companies, a further confirmation of the region’s economic recovery. — Andy Reinhardt
Making nice. Prime Minister Theresa May today promised that the rights of EU citizens living legally in the U.K. will be protected after Brexit and that they’ll receive the same state benefits as Britons. She is calling for the same rights for Brits living in the EU. The detail of her immigrant policy came on the same day that May sealed a political deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists that will keep her in power.
Biggest Italian bank rescue. Italy is committing as much as €17 billion to clean up two failed banks in one of its wealthiest regions. The intervention at Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca includes state support for Intesa Sanpaolo to acquire their good assets for a token amount. The deal is a coup for Intesa CEO Carlo Messina.
The Trump effect. Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s investment company, LetterOne, has pulled out of a $700 million deal to buy Texas oil producer ExL Petroleum Management, seeking to avoid resistance from the Trump administration. But that’s not slowing down the tycoon’s dealmaking: He also made his first retail investment today, agreeing to buy British natural products chain Holland & Barrett for £1.8 billion.
Cozying up. Angela Merkel’s main political challenger is playing the Donald Trump card. In a play to win support from a German public wary of the controversial American leader, Martin Schulz of the Social Democratic party accuses the chancellor of being too nice to Trump. Between the lines, he’s drawing a link to Merkel’s support for George W. Bush during the Iraq war.
They’re back. Saudi Arabia’s religious police, who seemed to vanish after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled his “Vision 2030” transformation plan, are reasserting themselves over Saudi society, but with a little less vengeance. It’s in with the iPads to file reports, out with the sticks they once carried to whack violators.
A Brexit backer who’s still on track. Businessman and horse owner John Elliott supported leaving the EU before the referendum and hasn’t lost his faith, despite myriad setbacks in the process. “People now think it’s not going to be as bad as we thought,” Elliott says. “It was supposed to be the end of the world.”
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt