The daily briefing “FirstFT” from the Financial Times.
Dealmaking is off to a running start this year – the value of mergers and acquisitions struck in the first three months this year is up 21 per cent on a year ago making this the fastest start to a year since 2007.
The Heinz takeover highlights some trends for the year – size-wise, big is good; the US rules the roost and independent advisory firms are nabbing more mandates. But the feverish search for new treatments by drugmakers facing a patent cliffs means the healthcare sector is leading the charge. The big leveraged buyout meanwhile is starting to look like an endangered species– deals have hit a six-year low. (FT)
In the news
Jay-Z’s streaming service is a group act Mr Beyonce has enlisted some of music’s biggest names as equity partners in his new music streaming service Tidal. Stock and cash were offered in exchange for promotional and marketing support from artists including Madonna and Kanye West. Meanwhile Alibaba signed a distribution deal with BMG, giving it digital rights to more than 2.5m recordings from artists ranging from the Rolling Stones to will.i.am. (FT)
Steep price for EU referendum David Cameron has guaranteed a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU if he is re-elected but with polls suggesting another hung parliament, it may not be in his gift. The Liberal Democrats, part of the governing coalition, are expected to attach the condition that EU nationals living in the UK can vote on the issue. (FT)
US agents charged over Silk Road A veteran of the Drug Enforcement Agency and a computer expert for the US Secret Service were charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in digital currencies while assigned to the task force investigating the Silk Road online black market. The DEA veteran also faces conflict of interest charges for moonlighting as the compliance officer for CoinMKT, a digital currency exchange in which he had invested. (FT)
RBS investment bank chief resigns Just one month into his new role, Rory Cullinan hasfallen out with senior management over strategy and will be leaving at the end of April. He had been due to shrink the investment bank down to a third of its current size and cut 14,000 of the 18,000 jobs there. (FT)
Signs of tampering in Nigeria poll Concerns over attempts to fix the result of Nigeria’s presidential election increased after Britain and the US said there were signs of “deliberate political interference” in the count. Results from eight states and the federal capital territory Abuja put incumbent Goodluck Jonathan slightly ahead of Muhammadu Buhari but the latter came first in five states. (FT)
It’s a big day for
Iran nuclear talks Negotiators pushed into the night to reach an agreement on limiting Iran’s nuclear programme. Even if a deal is announced on deadline today, some of the toughest issues will remain unresolved until late June, such as the pace at which sanctions would be lifted. (NYT)
Food for thought
Future-proofing careers Writers give advice on how to prevent your career being sucked up by a robot. Sorry, the prognosis isn’t good: the middle class should be concerned, says MIT Sloan School of Management’s Prof Brynjolfsson. (FT)
Gaming the developers Britain is offering tax breaks in a bid to lure some of the multibillion-dollar gaming industry to its shores. But as with the best games, there is a hurdle: developers will need to pass a cultural test to prove their games are sufficiently European. Prospective beneficiaries include a game against Hitler-controlled zombies and a sniper game featuring a German-born American during second world war. The first game to qualify is called “Spacepants”. (WSJ)
Born Red Evan Osnos profiles Xi Jinping, looking at how an unremarkable provincial administrator became China’s most authoritarian leader since Mao. One editor says of him, “he is, as we say, round on the outside and square on the inside; he looks flexible, but inside he is very hard.” (New Yorker)
Video of the day
Love Labour lost The party’s roots in Glasgow go back decades but now for the first time in living memory Labour could be set to flunk in its own industrial heartland. Kiran Stacey finds out why the city has fallen out of love with Labour. (FT)
In today’s Big Read, John Gapper also looks at Labour, examining the internal tensions within the party as it tries to convince business leaders that it is not interventionist while wooing an electorate growing suspicious of big corporations. (FT)
This article is published in collaboration with The Financial Times. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
To keep up with the Agenda subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Author: FirstFT is the Financial Times’ editors curated free daily email of the top global stories from the FT and the best of the rest of the web.
Image: A man walks past buildings at the central business district of Singapore. REUTERS/Nicky Loh.