TORONTO – Brookfield Property Partners LP offered $18.8-billion in stock and cash to fully acquire U.S. shopping mall owner GGP Inc. in a deal announced Monday, doubling down on the future of bricks-and-mortar retail even as many merchants face increasing pressure from e-commerce.The Toronto-based company (TSX:BPY.UN), a publicly-traded real estate subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, already holds a 34 per cent stake in GGP (NYSE: GGP).The Chicago-based mall owner, which has 126 retail properties in 40 U.S. states, said it has formed a special committee of its non-executive, independent directors to review and consider the offer.The acquisition is an opportunity to leverage Brookfield’s expertise to grow, transform or reposition GGP’s shopping centres, “creating long-term value in a way that would not otherwise be possible,” said Brian Kingston, chief executive officer of Brookfield Property Group.“Brookfield’s access to large-scale capital and deep operating expertise across multiple real estate sectors combined with GGP’s high-quality retail asset base will allow us to maximize the value of these irreplaceable assets,” he said in a statement on Monday.Brookfield is offering $29, or US$23, in cash or 0.9656 of a Brookfield Property Partners unit in exchange for each GGP share. The amount of cash offered is capped at $9.4 billion, while the number of shares offered is limited to 309 million, worth roughly $9.4 billion.Brookfield Property Partners said the offer is a premium of 21 per cent to where GGP shares were trading before reports of a possible offer last week.Shares of Brookfield Property Partners were down more than three per cent in midday trading in Toronto on Monday to $29. Shares of GGP in New York, however, were up more than seven per cent to US$23.77.However, GGP shares are down nearly five per cent year-to-date, including Monday’s lift, as its retail tenants increasingly come under pressure from e-commerce sellers competitors, such as Amazon.But Brookfield’s Kingston sounded bullish on American shopping malls on its third-quarter earnings call earlier this month. He said that its U.S. mall business — which consists of 126 regional malls containing roughly 11.4 million square metres — saw positive financial results, with occupancy rising 80 basis points to 95.4 per cent.“Well-located, high-quality, retail real estate in the United States continues to perform well, despite negative perception in the public markets,” he told analysts on Nov. 2.“While many retailers continue to face significant challenges in growing their businesses, those retailers that are focused on the intersection between bricks and mortar retail and online sales channels continue to expand and grow.”He added in a letter to unitholders that it has continued to acquire big-box anchor spaces in malls and reposition them, calling it “one of the best opportunities in U.S. retail today.”John Williams, a partner at retail consulting company J.C. Williams Group, said there is “deep concern” in the U.S. about a “potential retail apocalypse” amid pressure on traditional retailers and shopping centres, some of which are overleveraged.However, he added, premier shopping centres in prime locations continue to draw in shoppers. And the shopping centres being revitalized — such as by using food as opposed to department stores as anchor tenants — to improve the shopper’s experience will be rewarded, he said.“The mall is nowhere near dead, and the good tenants are still very vital,” Williams said. “And I think it’s a matter of reinvention, to some degree, the tenant mix.”Mark Rothschild, a real estate analyst with Canaccord Genuity in Toronto, said Brookfield has signalled its interest in GGP for several years.“It’s only really been the last couple of years that GGP’s stock price has not done well, which created the opportunity for Brookfield to do this,” he said.However, Rothschild said it was surprising that Brookfield made the bid without partners, using its own expensive capital for the transaction.The offer comes after Brookfield in 2010 invested $2.5 billion for a 27 per cent stake in GGP as part of a deal for its emergence from bankruptcy. Brookfield has since moved to increase its stake, and in November 2013 Brookfield Property Partners invested another US$1.4 billion.
PORTLAND, Maine – Now serving sea monsters.That’s the message from members of the fishing industry, environmentalists and regulators who are trying to persuade U.S. consumers to eat more of a particularly weird-looking creature from the deep — monkfish.Monkfish have been commercially fished for years, but recent analyses by the federal government show the monster-like bottom dweller can withstand more fishing pressure. However, U.S. fishermen often fall short of their quota for the fish.A lack of reliable markets for the fish and convoluted fishing regulations make it difficult to catch the full quota, fishermen said. Nevertheless, the U.S. government is upping harvesters’ limits for monkfish for the next three years.Some New England fishermen switched to targeting monkfish in recent decades when traditional species such as cod began to decline, said Jan Margeson, a Chatham, Massachusetts, fisherman who made such a switch himself. He said the availability of monkfish represents an opportunity for the industry.“It is healthy. We can’t even catch the quota,” he said. “We had to find an alternative species once groundfish died years ago.”Monkfish, also known as goosefish, are predatory fish that camouflage themselves on the ocean bottom and can grow to be about 5 feet long. With a gaping maw and uneven, jagged teeth, its appearance is the stuff of nightmares.But proponents often say the taste and texture of its flesh is similar to lobster. And monkfish, which is often sold as a whole fish or as steaks of tail meat, frequently is more affordable than some other kinds of domestic seafood.Tails typically sell for about $7 per pound at New England fish markets where popular items such as lobsters and flounder sell for $10 per pound or more.The fish is brought to shore from Maine to North Carolina, with most coming to land in Massachusetts.Fishermen have caught more than 15 million pounds of the fish every year since 1987. They were allowed to catch 32.5 million pounds of monkfish each year from 2013 to 2015, but typically caught less than two thirds of that amount. The federal government increased that limit to about 33.8 million pounds for the 2017-18 fishing year, and that number will hold until 2020.The Environmental Defence Fund Seafood Selector and Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch both give the fishery positive reviews for sustainability. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also touts the fishery as a “smart seafood choice” that is “sustainably managed” according to federal guidelines, the agency says on its website.Right now is a good time for fishermen to start exploiting that reputation, said Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association.“When we talk about diversification, monkfish is one of the things,” he said. “It’s a fishery that has opportunity for fishermen right now.”
NEW YORK, N.Y. – A judge threw out a New York lawsuit Friday against Fox News by former host Andrea Tantaros, citing her “vague, speculative and conclusory allegations.”The lawsuit U.S. District Judge George Daniels dismissed had alleged Fox tried to torment Tantaros after she complained about sexual harassment.The lawsuit claimed Tantaros was viewed as a threat by Fox executives after she declined an offer of more than $1 million to remain silent. The suit said Tantaros suspected her emails and telephone conversations were being monitored after she revealed personal information in calls or emails that were then referenced by others in cruel social media posts.She sought unspecified damages.Fox News Channel had urged the lawsuit be rejected, saying the claims were a paranoid fantasy or a deliberate hoax.In his written ruling, Daniels recounted her claims at length but repeatedly cited instances in which her accusations lacked the kind of specifics and proof necessary to put them before a jury.For example, he rejected a wiretap claim, saying she had “failed to allege a basic element of this cause of action: an actual interception of her wire, oral, or electronic communications.”In another instance, he struck down a malware claim, citing her “vague, speculative, and conclusory allegations.”In an email response to a request for comment, Tantaros said, “Not one part of this lawsuit was based on speculation and conjecture — it was based on first hand testimony, cold, hard facts, and independently verified computer forensics.“The Judge made the wrong call, and I absolutely plan on appealing,” she wrote. “Fox News will be held accountable, just as they have for their sickening past, rife with sexual harassment, discrimination and destroying the careers of dozens of women for having the courage to come forward with the truth.”Asked for comment, a Fox News spokesman said the decision speaks for itself.In August 2016, Tantaros sued the network, its ousted chairman and other top executives in a separate lawsuit, saying they retaliated after she detailed unwanted sexual advances made by her onetime boss Roger Ailes. A state judge ruled those claims were subject to closed-door arbitration.Tantaros worked as a host and political analyst for Fox News from 2011 to 2016.Ailes died last year.
MONTREAL – A J.D. Power survey says passenger satisfaction with the performance of Canada’s two largest airlines has grown in the past year.Air Canada enjoyed the largest gain in satisfaction among traditional carriers in North America, rising 25 points to 734 on a 1,000-point scale.WestJet scored 747 in the low-cost carrier segment, up from 736 a year ago.Each Canadian airline ranked third overall in their respective segments.Airline investments in newer planes, handling of luggage and cheaper fares drove a seventh straight year of improved customer satisfaction.Alaska Airlines ranks highest among traditional carriers for the 11th consecutive year, while Southwest Airlines tops the low-cost carrier list for a second straight year.Satisfaction with United Airlines dropped. The U.S. carrier received undesirable global attention after a passenger was dragged off an overbooked flight.The exceptions to improved satisfaction with North American airlines were in the categories of in-flight services, including food, beverage and entertainment systems.The study of business and leisure travellers is based on responses from 11,508 passengers who flew on a major North American airline between March 2017 and March 2018.Companies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:WJA)
OTTAWA – The sweeping Canadian retaliation against Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs has been carefully crafted in hopes of hitting the U.S. president where it hurts.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s counter-tariffs will take effect Sunday — a month after the Trump administration slapped duties on U.S. steel and aluminum imports from Canada and other allies.Canada’s response is set to include imposing tariffs on selected consumer products that come from a wide range of sectors — from hair lacquers, to ballpoint pens, to maple syrup.Ottawa released its finalized lineup Friday of items that will be hit by Canadian tariffs.Here’s a rundown of some of the states and products in the crosshairs of the retaliatory measures using Canadian government numbers. The figures are based on 2017 data from Statistics Canada and the U.S. Census Bureau.—Some of the states set to be hit hardest by Canada’s tariffs, based on how much of the targeted consumer products they shipped north in 2017:Ohio — $1.15 billionNew York — $1.12 billionWisconsin — $820 millionIllinois — $780 millionPennsylvania — $646 millionWashington — $629 millionCalifornia — $529 millionTennessee — $453 millionMichigan — $432 million—Value of 2017 imports from U.S. for some of the products targeted by Canada’s preliminary tariffs:Herbicides — $1.13 billionMotorboats, rowboats, canoes and other pleasure boats — $646 millionCoffee, roasted — $525 millionMayonnaise, salad dressing, mixed condiments — $522 millionFungicides — $418 millionKetchup and other tomato sauces — $264 millionOrganic facewash — $229 millionSoups and broths — $204 millionWhiskey — $62 millionMaple sugar and maple syrup — $17 millionBallpoint pens — $3.5 million
ALBANY, N.Y. — A city in New York state has found a novel way of motivating residents to pay their back taxes: personal notes handwritten by city officials.The idea stemmed from an experiment on late-tax payments, in which the city of Syracuse partnered with researchers at Syracuse University. City officials wrote and signed thousands of notes by hand, rather than sending standard legal letters demanding payment.The result was the city collecting nearly $1.5 million more than it predicted traditional methods alone would have brought in. University researchers estimate that the personal approach brought in 57 per cent more revenue from delinquent property owners than the city could expect from using more traditional letters.The notes took a less threatening approach, focusing on steps the resident could take to avoid late penalties or legal action. Instead of being addressed “dear property owner,” the notes were all personally addressed to the resident. Each had a brief, handwritten message on the outside of the envelope as well, researchers said.“It’s the kind of positive outcome that occurs when you aren’t afraid to try something new,” Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said in a statement.Collecting late taxes is a big challenge for many cities, which often use computer-generated letters to residents threatening action if the money isn’t paid. The researchers said the experiment could have broad applications to a number of different government services. The researchers said they aren’t aware of any other city in the U.S. using the personalized note method to collect taxes.“These are small, simple changes that can have huge payoffs,” said Leonard Lapoo, a Syracuse professor and director and co-founder of Maxwell X Lab, a behavioural research centre at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.The lab’s managing director, Joe Boskovski, called the experiment common sense, saying treating people as humans can yield results.The findings were first reported by The Associated Press. City officials announced them publicly on Tuesday.David Klepper, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The key financial and industrial sectors weighed on Canada’s main stock index in late-morning trading, while the loonie traded higher against the U.S. dollar.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 13.91 points at 15,130.97.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 50.84 points at 25,340.11. The S&P 500 index was down 0.59 of a point at 2,729.61, while the Nasdaq composite was down 37.52 points at 7,221.51.The Canadian dollar traded higher at 76.10 cents US compared with an average of 75.75 cents US on Thursday.The January crude contract was up US$1.19 at US$57.87 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was up 18.6 cents at US$4.22 per mmBTU.The December gold contract was up US$6.50 at US$1,221.50 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 2.15 cents at US$2.77 a pound.The Canadian Press
___Nissan chairman arrested in probe of financial misconductYOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. says its chairman Carlos Ghosn has been arrested and will be dismissed for alleged under-reporting of his income and misuse of company funds. The Japanese automaker’s CEO said Monday that Ghosn was detained after he arrived in Japan earlier in the day. The Yokohama-based company said the violations by Ghosn and another executive were discovered during a monthslong investigation that was instigated by a whistleblower.___US stocks take sharp losses as tech, internet companies dropNEW YORK (AP) — Big technology and internet companies again came under heavy selling pressure, leading to broad losses across the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly fell 500 points, pulled down by steep declines in Boeing and Apple. Amazon led a sharp drop among retailers as investors react to tensions between the US and China at a Pacific Rim conference. Industrial companies also fell. Nissan sank after its chairman was arrested on misconduct charges.___Volatile stock market spooking some older workers, retireesCHICAGO (AP) — Some older workers and retirees are spooked by the ups and downs of the U.S. stock markets. But there’s no indication that the recent volatility has brought about large-scale overhauls in retirement planning. A Bankrate survey says 62 per cent of Americans — and 76 per cent of those 65 and over — don’t believe their financial situation has improved in the two years since President Donald Trump’s election.___UK leader has eye on rebellion as EU braces for Brexit pushLONDON (AP) — The U.K. and the European Union are plowing ahead with trying to have their divorce deal signed, sealed and delivered within days. But the draft Brexit agreement has left British Prime Minister Theresa May fighting0020to keep her job. May waited on Monday to see if rebel lawmakers from her party had the numbers to trigger a no-confidence vote, while British and EU negotiators raced to firm up a final deal before a weekend summit where EU leaders hope to rubber stamp it.___Even small companies may be able to cut Amazon-like dealsNEW YORK (AP) — A company doesn’t need to be as big as Amazon to get a real estate deal. Whether a small business wants to buy or rent, it may have some leverage with landlords or local governments to get breaks on taxes or win grants. It’s especially doable if a company can be a drawing card that helps boost local commerce or has significant job creation plans. The key is often to look for real estate in an area that needs an economic boost, or a depressed neighbourhood that’s on the verge of making a comeback.___Bloomberg donates ‘unprecedented’ $1.8B to Johns HopkinsBALTIMORE (AP) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. Bloomberg and the Baltimore university said Sunday that the gift is the largest ever to any education institution in the U.S. University President Ronald Daniels says the contribution will allow Hopkins to eliminate the need for student loans in financial aid packages.___Airbnb removes listings in Israeli settlementsJERUSALEM (AP) — Vacation rental company Airbnb says it is removing its listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. A statement released on the company’s website Monday said it will take down some 200 listings in Israeli settlements “that are at the core of the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians.” Most of the international community views the settlements as illegal.___David’s Bridal files for bankruptcy, but your order is safeNEW YORK (AP) — David’s Bridal is filing for bankruptcy protection but there is no danger for customers who have ordered dresses because operations continuing as normal while the wedding and prom retailer restructures. The bankruptcy filing, the private company said Monday, will wipe out more than $400 million in long-term debt.___Brazil’s Petrobras to be led by privatization advocateRIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s president-elect is appointing a pro-market reformer to lead the state oil company Petrobras. Roberto Castello Branco has advocated privatizing the oil giant, a measure also supported by his close ally Paulo Guedes, designated as Brazil’s next finance minister. However, experts say a wholesale privatization is unlikely.___The S&P 500 index fell 45.54 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 2,690.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 395.78 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 25,017.44. It was down as much as 512 earlier. The Nasdaq composite skidded 219.40 points, or 3 per cent, to 7,028.48. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 30.99 points, or 2 per cent, to 1,496.54.Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.5 per cent to $56.76 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was little changed at $66.79 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline added 0.4 per cent to $1.58 a gallon. Heating oil gained 0.6 per cent to $2.09 a gallon. Natural gas surged 10 per cent to $4.70 per 1,000 cubic feet.The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s interim competition commissioner is urging B.C. to change its liquor policy to allow more competition, spark innovation and lower prices.Matthew Boswell writes in an open letter to B.C.’s Attorney General David Eby that the province’s current policy restricts competition, raises consumer prices and limits access to specialty products.B.C. requires restaurants, bars and hotels to purchase alcohol products at retail prices from government-owned stores.Boswell says he supports recommendations that hospitality providers should be able to buy alcohol products from any licensed source in the province, including private retailers, and they should pay “a proper wholesale price.”Those two recommendations were made in an April 2018 report commissioned by the provincial government as part of its ongoing review of the provincial liquor policy.Boswell, who applauded B.C.’s efforts to review its policy, says those changes would encourage more competition and lead to more choice for consumers and lower prices.The Canadian Press
GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Muskoseepi Park in Grande Prairie has been evacuated and closed until further notice. Many paths are under water and creek banks and slopes are extremely unstable.The public is urged to stay away from the Bear Creek corridor and Muskoseepi Park.Vehicular bridges crossing Bear Creek are safe for travel.Releasing the water at a higher than normal rate through the spillway has protected the dam. It has also lowered water levels in the reservoir but increased water flows downstream. Muskoseepi Park will remain closed until water recedes and a thorough damage assessment can be completed. Pedestrian bridges, paths, creek banks, and other park infrastructure will be inspected for safety before the park is reopened.Crews will be monitoring water levels to protect critical infrastructure throughout the corridor.RCMP and Enforcement Services will be monitoring the park.At this time no properties have been damaged. Residents are asked to obey signs, barricades and the direction of local authorities.