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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A French court has ordered Veolia (Paris: VIE) not to launch a $13.6 billion hostile takeover bid for rival water and waste management firm Suez (Paris: SEV).

Why it matters: France is culturally averse to corporate takeover fights, as evidenced by government officials pleading for a peaceful resolution.

Background: Veolia acquired a 29.9% stake in Suez last fall, saying that any future acquisition offer would "require a prior favorable reception from Suez's board of directors."

  • But the two sides couldn't agree, and Veolia on Sunday announced plans to go straight to Suez shareholders, with an €18 per-share offer ($21.70) for the remaining 70.1% stake. In response, Suez petitioned the court.

The bottom line: "This is the latest twist in a months-long battle that’s playing out in the boardroom, the courts and the French political arena. A hostile takeover is a rare thing in France, and the unions compared Veolia’s move to a 'declaration of war.' The increasing tensions may put pressure on the government to broker a deal," Marthe Fourcade writes for Bloomberg.

Go deeper

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Crypto meets the real world

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The two largest countries in the world seem intent on effectively banning their citizens from participating in crypto, which poses a serious threat to the crypto agenda.

Why it matters: The crypto world is global — but the real world is fragmented into nation-states, each of which claims control of what happens within its borders.

Meadows cooperating with House Jan. 6 select committee

Mark Meadows. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is cooperating with the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the panel said Tuesday.

Driving the news: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel earlier this month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.