On our radar this month: Australia's $5-million visa and Tim Hortons vs. Highfields Capital Management

Signs of the times

•In the wake of Pershing Square’s shakeup at Canadian Pacific, another activist investor from the U.S. has set its sights on an iconic Canadian brand. The hedge fund Highfields Capital Management is pushing for change at Tim Hortons, including scrapping its unsuccessful U.S. expansion strategy. Highfields owns four per cent of the coffee and doughnut chain’s outstanding shares.

• Passengers on Frontier Airlines who buy basic fares can now expect to pay as much as $100 to put a carry-on bag in the overhead bin, where finding space for luggage has become “unacceptably difficult,” the U.S. company says. Meanwhile, a new British study shows several budget airlines have been dramatically hiking baggage and booking fees this year. Those extra costs can make up 65 per cent of total ticket prices.

• One of the architects of the euro currency now says it should be abolished. Oskar Lafontaine was Germany’s finance minister in 1999 when the euro was launched. He argues that worsening economic troubles in southern Europe make the common currency unsustainable. “Hopes that the creation of the euro would force rational economic behaviour on all sides were in vain.”

• Tired of watching countries like Canada, the U.S. and others lure wealthy foreign investors—mainly from China—with some sort of resident status, Australia has implemented a so-called “cash-for-visa” system of its own. Called the “significant investor visa,” it requires a minimum $5-million investment. It even carries the identifier 188, a number associated with wealth in Chinese culture.

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