Established in 1997, the Tesco banking business employs thousands of staff in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.
Established in 1997, the Tesco banking business employs thousands of staff in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.

Edinburgh-based Tesco Bank’s chief executive Gerry Mallon described the acquisition of Ageas’s holding in Tesco Underwriting as a “significant step” in the financial division’s development.

Tesco Bank will acquire Ageas’s 50.1 per cent stake in the underwriting joint venture for a total of £104 million plus Ageas’s part of any change in net asset value realised by Tesco Underwriting from 30 June until closing of the deal. In addition, Ageas will receive a reimbursement of an internal loan for an amount of £21m.

The bank said all parties would work closely “to ensure a smooth transition” ahead of the formal change in control, which is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2021.

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Bosses said the partnership had been valuable for both Tesco Bank and Ageas since the joint venture was established ten years ago, underwriting Tesco Bank-branded car and home insurance policies that have “proved popular with customers”. In 2014, the partnership was extended for a further seven years, to 2021.

The bank added: “This investment is in line with Tesco Bank’s strategy of focusing on propositions which better meet the needs of Tesco shoppers, and builds on the unique offering insurance customers already benefit from as part of the wider Tesco family, such as the guaranteed Clubcard discount.”

Ageas is to focus on developing its core business and broker distribution channel.

Mallon said: “[This] announcement is a significant step in Tesco Bank’s development which underlines our commitment to the insurance market and our customers.

“We look forward to doing more of what we know our customers want – offering products that have a strong emphasis on value,

Devon Energy (DVN) was already well-placed to withstand weak oil prices and now, after merging with WPX Energy (WPX), the shale oil producer will likely emerge even stronger from the downturn. The merger will allow Devon Energy to maintain its financial health while delivering more than $500 million in cost savings and pushing its cash flow breakeven price to just $33 per barrel. The new company, which will be one of the biggest shale oil producers, will be able to generate strong levels of free cash flows in a low oil price environment. Moreover, Devon Energy will also reward shareholders along the way as it adopts a fixed-plus-variable dividend model.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Devon Energy and WPX Energy have recently announced a merger through a $12 billion all-stock deal, expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. Under the terms of the deal, WPX Energy shareholders will receive 0.5165 shares of Devon stock against each WPX Energy stock. Following the completion of the merger, the existing Devon Energy shareholders will own 57% of the new Devon Energy while WPX Energy will own the remaining 43%. The transaction has already been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. This deal will give birth to one of the largest shale oil producers in the US, pumping well over 500,000 boe per day, making it substantially bigger than other major E&Ps like Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD), Apache Corp. (APA), and Diamondback Energy (FANG) in terms of output.

Image: DVN Investor Presentation, September 28, 2020

I think the deal has improved Devon Energy’s outlook. In my previous article which was written before the merger announcement, I wrote that Devon Energy can withstand the downturn and post robust earnings and cash flow growth when oil prices eventually recover. After

“Both of those guys, of course, they want to beat each other. Why wouldn’t they?” 

Those were the words of Dwyane Wade when asked by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith about the possibility of LeBron James’ Lakers meeting Pat Riley’s Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals. The former Miami superstar attempted to downplay any sort of rivalry because Riley is the Heat’s president, not their small forward. As Riley has often said, “Keep the main thing the main thing,” and that’s basketball.

MORE: Predictions, picks, schedule for 2020 NBA Finals

And yet, while Riley won’t have any direct impact on James’ stat lines in the upcoming series, you can bet there will be some added motivation to win for both sides.

James had four incredibly successful seasons as a member of the Heat, capturing back-to-back championships and MVP awards in 2012 and 2013. During his time in Miami, James went from the most reviled figure in the NBA after “The Decision” to crush the hearts of Cavaliers fans and a confounding 2011 Finals performance to someone who had widely earned respect as the undisputed best player in the world. 

When it came time for the James-Riley relationship to end, though, it was not exactly a smooth landing.

LeBron leaves, Riley reacts

The Spurs dominated the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals, sending Miami home in five games. That surprisingly efficient elimination kickstarted yet another “Summer of LeBron” with questions about where he would land in free agency.

In his annual end-of-season news conference, Riley addressed the speculation with a bold statement that appeared to be aimed at James, as Wade and Chris Bosh had both already indicated that they would like to stay with the Heat.

“This stuff is hard. And you got to stay together, if you’ve got the guts,”