Aegon Agrees to Sell CEE Business to VIG for Almost $1 Billion

Michel Barnier gives update as EU chief arrives for last-ditch Brexit talks with Frost

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The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator was filmed leaving his London hotel this morning as he headed to meet British negotiators.

More to follow…

Nigeria Says Boko Haram Attack on Rice Farmers Leaves 42 Dead

Nigeria said Boko Haram Islamist insurgents attacked rice farmers in the country’s northeast, leaving at least 42 of them dead.

Insurgents ambushed farmers who had gone into rice fields in the Jere district of Borno state on Saturday to bring in their harvest, according to a Nigerian presidency statement on Twitter.

“I condemn the killing of our hardworking farmers by terrorists,“ President Muhammadu Buhari said in the statement. “The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings.”

Boko Haram militants have waged a campaign of violence since 2009 to impose its version of Islamic law on Africa’s most populous country of more than 200 million people. The government estimates that more than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.

U.K.’s Raab Says a Brexit Deal Can Be Done If EU Moves on Fish

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British and European Union Brexit negotiators have been showing pragmatism and “good faith” during the recent talks and “there’s a deal to be done,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday.

Speaking to Sky News, Raab said the big outstanding issue to resolve was fishing rights, and he called on the EU to recognize that regaining control over British waters is a question of sovereignty for the U.K.

“I think it’s important that the EU understand the point of principle,” Raab told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday show. “If they show the pragmatism, the goodwill and the good faith that in fairness I think has surrounded the last leg of the talks and certainly we’ve shown in our flexibility, I think there’s a deal to be done.”

UK confirms H5N8 bird flu on English turkey farm

LONDON (Reuters) – Bird flu has been found at a turkey farm in northern England, the government said on Sunday.

“Avian flu has been confirmed at a commercial turkey fattening farm near Northallerton, North Yorkshire,” Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss said in a statement. The disease was the H5N8 strain.

It said all 10,500 birds at the farm would be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease, and that the risk to public health was very low. The outbreak does not pose a food safety risk, the statement added

Macy’s In Trouble Based On Holiday Sales Data

Macy’s Inc (NYSE: M) is likely in more trouble than expected this holiday season. It remains primarily a bricks and mortar retailer. New analysis shows that traffic to stores on Black Friday dropped more than 50% across America. If Macy’s posted numbers anywhere close to that, its fate will have taken a massive hit.

Sensormatic Solutions, part of Johnson Controls, released data on Black Friday store activity. “Findings indicate that shopper visits resulted in a 52.1% decline in traffic on Black Friday, November 27, compared to 2019.” The figure was a drop from the November 22 – Friday, November 27 period, when traffic dropped 45.2%.

Without question, Macy’s has moved into e-commerce. And, its stock has benefited from a dose of optimism. It has risen 78% in the last month. However, the shares are down 36% so far this year. And, there is every reason for the drop. Revenue in the most recent quarter was $4 billion, down from $5.2 billion in the same period the year before. Comparable store sales dropped 21% compared to 2019.

The good news was “Digital sales grew 27% over third quarter 2019. Digital sales penetrated at 38% of total owned comparable sales.” Good, but not nearly enough.

And, Macy’s cannot reverse the tide of a problem that has vexed and will vex most of the bricks and mortar business. Its situation is bound to weaken as the year progresses, and it could end the year worse off than it was at the end of the third quarter.

Aegon Agrees to Sell CEE Business to VIG for Almost $1 Billion

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Aegon NV agreed to sell its insurance, pension and asset-management business in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Turkey for 830 million euros ($990 million) toVienna Insurance Group AG.

The price is equivalent to 2.6 times book value as of June 30 and will result in an increase in IFRS equity of 505 million euros, according tostatement from Aegon.

As a result of the transaction, Aegon’s Group Solvency II ratio is estimated to improve by about 8 percentage points. The deal is subject to regulatory and antitrust approvals and is expected to close in the second half of 2021.

Aegon Chief Executive Officer Lard Friese, who took on the role this year, is battling a share price that has fallen almost 25% in 2020. The former CEO of NN Group has said Aegon could pull out of some markets as he seeks to turn around the company’s performance.

Bloombergearlier reported that the sale of Aegon’s central and eastern European business had also attracted interest from KBC Group NV and NN Group NV, citing people with knowledge of the matter.