Receiving Wide Coverage ...
If at first…: Deutsche Bank said it plans to sell €8 billion ($8.5 billion) in stock to bolster its capital position, its third trip to the equity market since 2013. The big German bank is also reorganizing major businesses for the second time in the past year and a half, "in two cases reversing high-profile strategic decisions from 2015," the Wall Street Journal said. DB said it plans to keep its Postbank retail banking business in Germany, which it has tried to sell for the past two years, and is recombining its corporate finance and advisory businesses with its trading department, "following a costly move to split them in late 2015." The bank's stock dropped more than 6% in early trading in Europe on Monday. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
The last song?: Alexandra Lebenthal is nearing a deal to sell the financial services firm that bears her family's name even "as it contends with unpaid bills and lawsuits, a denouement that comes just a decade after the prominent New Yorker resurrected the storied family business," the paper reports. Lebenthal bought back the rights to the company, which her grandparents started in 1925 and which was eventually sold, in 2007. But the new company, which she runs with her brother and which consists of a capital markets and an asset management unit, faces "allegations that they owe debts totaling millions of dollars, hurt in part by poor timing and missteps in a short-lived wealth-management business." Lebenthal said she hopes to resolve those issues soon and that a deal to sell the company may happen this month.
On top of the world: China's banking system is now the world's largest by assets, surpassing that of the euro zone, the paper reports. Chinese bank assets reached $33 trillion at the end of last year, compared to $31 trillion for the euro zone and $16 trillion for the U.S. But the distinction is not necessarily something to crow about. "The massive size of China's banking system is less a cause for celebration than a sign of an economy overly dependent on bank-financed investment, beset by inefficient resource allocation, and subject to us credit risks," said Eswar Prasad, an economist at Cornell University and a former International Monetary Fund official. The value of China's banking system is more than 3.1 times the size of its GDP, compared to 2.8 times for the euro zone.
New York Times
Dueling blockchains: Count Walmart as one of the believers in blockchain technology. The giant retailer is working with IBM to use blockchain to help it track products as they move through its system. The IBM-Walmart partnership, one of the biggest practical tests to date, according to the paper, shows the new technology "is starting to be applied to real-world problems like tracking pork chops, shipping containers and footwear with a speed and security not currently possible." But companies such as JPMorgan Chase would rather work with a competing system from Microsoft. "Many banks are concerned that IBM could push them into a version of the blockchain that would lock them into IBM's software," the paper says.
Retirement on their minds: Several states, including California, Connecticut and Illinois, are looking to create payroll-deduction retirement savings plans for workers who don't have them, but the U.S. Congress "may kill the nascent plans," writes Richard H. Thaler, a professor of economics and behavioral science at the University of Chicago, in the paper's Upshot column. "Why? Republicans, who typically call for less regulation, say the state programs won't be sufficiently regulated. You can't make this stuff up."
Strange ways: The paper follows up on last week's senior management shakeup at Bridgewater Associates with a profile of the company's "erratic" culture, which has "at times rattled employees, including senior executives." The world's largest hedge fund's environment "can be intimidating, where every meeting is videotaped and employees are encouraged to openly challenge one another, sometimes in potentially humiliating ways."
"I became increasingly convinced that maybe we were onto the holy grail." — Frank Yiannas, vice president at Walmart, on blockchain