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Fifth Third to buy MB Financial for $4.7B; JPMorgan working on crypto strategy

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Fifth Third to buy MB Financial for $4.7B; JPMorgan working on crypto strategy

JPMorgan Chase & Co. appointed Oliver Harris to explore the potential of cryptocurrencies across its corporate and investment bank, sources for London's Financial News say. Harris will also lead the Quorum project, JPMorgan's blockchain platform that the company reportedly intends to spin off. According to news service NewsBTC, the appointment "represents quite the turnaround for JPMorgan." Chairman, President and CEO Jamie Dimon had called bitcoin "a fraud" back in September 2017, then a month later said the cryptocurrency is only valuable to criminals. Dimon's view on virtual currencies softened in January when he said he regrets calling bitcoin a fraud.

Chicago-based MB Financial Inc. is merging with Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp in a stock-and-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.7 billion.

And in South Carolina, Citizens Bancshares Corp. is buying Regional Bankshares Inc. for about $11.3 million.

Lobby group Gun Owners of America has asked lawmakers to add a provision to the Dodd-Frank rewrite bill that would prevent "gun-hating banks" from discriminating against gun manufacturers, Reuters reports. The group also urged its 1.5 million members to petition House lawmakers to vote against the bill if the provision is not included. Erich Pratt, the group's executive director, said that Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. which previously announced policies limiting services to gunmakers are violating the members' constitutional rights.

In asset management news, Accel-KKR LLC has acquired Sageworks, Inc., which provides financial software and information products to U.S. financial institutions.

Janus Henderson Group PLC is pushing for healthcare technology company athenahealth Inc. to sell itself, citing concerns over management's execution of strategic initiatives. Janus Henderson owns an 11.9% stake in athenahealth as of May 15.

IHS Markit Ltd. has agreed to acquire Ipreo Holdings LLC, a financial services solutions and data provider, from private equity funds managed by Blackstone Group LP and the Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division. The purchase price is approximately $1.86 billion.

And the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility a partnership between Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and World Bank Group member International Finance Corp. has invested more than $1 billion in women entrepreneurs in emerging markets, surpassing its original goal of $600 million.

In other parts of the world

Asia Pacific: Woori Bank to restructure; Inditrade Capital exits broker unit; CBA may cut jobs

Europe: Barclays to sell loans bought from Lloyds; Monte dei Paschi mandate concerns

Middle East & Africa: Beltone eyes Oragroup stake; NCB has new chairman; Kigali to list in Kenya

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.60% to 31,234.35. The Nikkei 225 added 0.31% to 23,002.37.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.80% to 7,841.15, and the Euronext 100 advanced 0.64% to 1,088.32.

On the macro front

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index is due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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