No prizes for guessing which story dominated the news agenda this week. Eyes are swivelling to two shipping titans — John Fredriksen and Marc Saverys — to track their next moves after the collapse of the $4.2bn merger circus between Frontline and Euronav.

Even before Monday’s announcement that John Fredriksen was walking away from an attempted tie-up, some were already souring on the deal. Most of the disenchantment came from investors and analysts who were bullish on Frontline and saw how the proposed combination had affected the shares of the two companies: Euronav finally shedding its historic discount to net asset value and Frontline seeing its premium slip.

The ending of Frontline’s pursuit of rival Euronav raises the question of principal shareholder Fredriksen’s next move to consolidate the tanker sector and adds to a list of his failed deals including DHT Holdings and Gener8 Maritime.

It also puts Euronav chief executive Hugo De Stoop in a potentially awkward situation after his public disagreement with Euronav’s biggest shareholder, the Saverys’ shipping company Compagnie Maritime Belge. De Stoop told TradeWinds that his continued leadership of Euronav was “the least” of his concerns. This comes as Marc Saverys said he wanted to look at Euronav’s future strategy and the supervisory board’s composition in the aftermath of the deal failure.

The situation became increasingly acrimonious as Euronav said it was looking at taking legal action against Frontline for pulling out of the deal. Euronav said it had carried out further detailed considerations of Frontline’s termination letter with legal and financial advisors.

Shipbrokers Ifchor and Galbraiths have signed their planned merger agreement to create a new 300-person broking house with a global presence. The companies said on Wednesday that the integration of the new combined group, which will comprise 21 offices, is now “well underway”.

News emerged this week that former top Chinese ship finance executive Li Li will be prosecuted for allegedly receiving bribes. According to Chinese news agencies, Beijing’s Central Commission of Discipline Inspection and its Yunnan officials claim Li Li took advantage of her senior position as the former party secretary and president of the transportation & financing department of the Beijing branch of Export-Import Bank of China.

In this week’s Streetwise shipping finance newsletter, TradeWinds’ Joe Brady looked back over the winners and losers in US-listed shipping stocks in 2022. As a Streetwise review in tandem with US investment bank Jefferies shows, tankers won the year, particularly in the clean product sector.

And finally, a new association aims to provide an independent forum to unite participants in the freight derivatives market and represent their interests separately from the Baltic Exchange. The Independent Freight Forward Agreement Association (IFFAA) will “provide a unique venue for open and unbiased discussions on issues and developments in FFAs”, according to the mission statement.