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Cenovus buys ConocoPhillips assets; Manulife promotes Asian head to president

Cenovus Energy Inc. is paying $17.7-billion in cash and shares for oil sands and other assets owned by ConocoPhillips Co. in the second major consolidation in the oil patch this month.

Calgary-based Cenovus said late on Wednesday it is acquiring the 50 per cent of the companies' oil sands joint venture that it does not already own. That includes interests in the steam-driven Foster Creek and Christina Lake projects. The deal also includes assets in the Deep Basin region of Alberta and British Columbia.

Cenovus said it would issue $3-billion in shares in a bought deal led by Royal Bank of Canada and JP Morgan. It has also arranged $10.5-billion in bridge financing. The company said it would raise cash by jettisoning production of 47,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Story

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Manulife promotes head of Asian unit to president; succession back in focus

Manulife Financial Corp. has promoted the head of its Asian division to a new leadership position, bringing a renewed focus on succession planning to the country's largest insurer.

Australian-born Roy Gori is set to take over as Manulife's president as of June 5. He will oversee investments and the company's global operations in Canada and the United States, in addition to Asia.

The move comes after months of speculation about the succession plan for the chief executive role at Canada's largest insurer – a chair that has been filled by Donald Guloien since May, 2009. While the insurer has not formally announced a specific succession plan or timeline for future leadership of the company, Mr. Guloien, who is 59 years old, has said in the past that he doesn't plan to work until typical retirement age and that succession planning should be a key area of focus for management teams and boards of directors. Story


DAILY DEALS

An attempted merger between the German and British stock exchanges was struck down by European regulators on Wednesday, formally ending a deal that unravelled in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union. Story

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ELSEWHERE IN FINANCE

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan announced on Wednesday it earned a 4.2-per-cent return in 2016, performance that ranked behind peers but exceeded its benchmark and left the $175.6-billion plan with an $11.5-billion surplus. Story

Banks in Britain have tried to reassure their London staff over possible Brexit disruption, including a shift in jobs to continental Europe, as Prime Minister Theresa May triggered formal EU divorce proceedings on Wednesday. Story

Former CPPIB head Mark Wiseman is the author of a new strategy at BlackRock Inc. that is shifting more stock-picking decisions to robots. Story (WSJ, subscription required)

A proposed deal between Kushner Cos. and Anbang Insurance Group Co., for a refinancing and $4-billion upgrade of 666 Fifth Avenue – the Kushners' troubled marquee tower – raised eyebrows among real estate professionals for being overly generous and drew a congressional request for conflict-of-interest scrutiny. On Tuesday, it fell apart. Story (Bloomberg)

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