‘Grand Bargain’ vote key to Detroit bankruptcy’s end

An effort by deep-pocketed philanthropists to save the bankrupt city of Detroit’s art treasures began with a chance meeting last year and culminated Friday when Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill authorizing millions in state help.

But all parties excited about the bill signing know that work could be for naught if the city’s pensioners and workers, who are nearing a deadline for a historic vote on Detroit’s plan to get out of bankruptcy, reject what has been dubbed the Grand Bargain.

The state’s contribution of $195 million, along with $366 million from foundations and a $100 million pledge from the Detroit Institute of Arts, would replace hundreds of millions being cut from retiree pensions, while stopping bond insurers and other creditors from forcing the sell-off of city-owned art such as Van Gogh’s “Self Portrait.”

The money would come over 20 years, placing the value at about $816 million.

Top securities regulator acts on bond market transparency

The top U.S. securities regulator said that she is taking steps aimed at making trading in the bond markets more transparent for investors.

Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said Friday that technology and competition have benefited and transformed the stock market. But she says they have not yet had the same effect in the bond markets.

She said trading in the $11.3 trillion market in corporate bonds and the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market continue to be dominated by big Wall Street firms, making it hard for investors to know whether they are being charged reasonable fees.

Her comments came in remarks to the Economic Club of New York.

France throws its support behind GE offer for Alstom

U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co. looked set Friday to win its months-long fight to acquire the power generation business of France’s Alstom SA after the French government dropped its objections and threw its support behind the American offer.

The final decision rests with Alstom’s board, which was meeting Friday night to discuss the offer. GE, which has sought a deal with Alstom since April, had given the French company until Monday to sign off on the $17 billion offer.

Friday’s announcement brings an end to months of uncertainty over whether GE would win the French government’s approval despite resistance from President Francois Hollande and other top officials.

– From news service reports