Volkswagen is extending CEO Martin Winterkorn’s term to 2018, ruling him out as next chairman. This leaves room for an independent, external candidate to replace fallen patriarch Ferdinand Piech. VW’s flawed governance might then shift up a gear.
The French luxury group has poached a top Apple music executive to head its online operations. It’s a significant move in a sector that has been wary of the net. It also cranks up the heat on the sector’s e-commerce leader Burberry and recently merged Yoox/Net-a-Porter.
The finance minister has retracted a flawed plan to tax foreign fund managers’ past earnings. Jittery global markets may have hastened the truce. Settling similar disputes with Vodafone and Cairn would show the government is belatedly keeping its promise to end “tax terrorism”.
The online video company is ditching content provider Epix. That’s bad news for armchair watchers of big movies like “Hunger Games.” Instead, Netflix is upping its spending on shows no one else has. As Apple, Amazon and others join the streaming wars, it’s a smart move.
Warsaw could force lenders to cough up $5.9 bln to relieve borrowers with Swiss franc mortgages not obviously in distress. With elections looming, the party ahead in the polls wants to tax banks’ balance sheets. It may be pure politics, but the danger is that foreign money flees.
The advertising group is trying to list again in Shenzhen after a previous attempt in June fell through. But despite the stock market slump, Focus Media’s $7.2 bln valuation is unchanged. Other U.S.-listed companies eyeing a return to the mainland may need to be more realistic.
In a land that fetishizes revenue growth over profitability, there’s a new sanity check for software firms to see if the two rates add up to at least 40 pct. A Breakingviews analysis suggests it can be a useful guideline. Investors should just be wary of extrapolating too much.
Insurer Anbang is no longer in line to acquire the bailed-out Portuguese bank. Yet given rival Chinese group Fosun remains in the race, Chineseness is unlikely to be the problem. Any buyer for Novo Banco needs to get comfortable with its uncertain capital and litigation bills.
Big names from Greenlight to Pershing to Third Point have taken a pounding from recent market turmoil. It’s just a month’s bad performance. But if high-priced managers can’t provide a hedge to regular investments, it lends extra weight to Calpers and others who are ditching them.
The flow of desperate people to Europe has a financial-world parallel. For companies, high returns attract new entrants who threaten incumbents’ comfortable state. The options for EU leaders are similar too: shut out competition, or find new, better ways to create profit.
The UK private equity fund is merging its Park Resorts caravan business with Parkdean, a rival. The terms suggest it has more than doubled its money in around three years. That will help Electra if Sherborne, its uppity 29 percent shareholder, raises new complaints.
TSMC faces tepid global demand and a slowdown in China, the world’s largest smartphone market. The $100 billion group is also losing market share to rival Samsung. The problems facing Taiwan’s largest company are shared by the island’s tech- and export-dependent economy.
Vice Chair Stanley Fischer reckons inflation is only temporarily subdued. Along with the BoE’s Mark Carney, he also downplayed China’s deceleration. The Fed’s doves, meanwhile, remain wary of raising interest rates. The split is evidence the U.S. economy is finally mending.