NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ford Motor boss Jim Hackett says the self-driving joint venture he struck with Volkswagen’s Herbert Diess on Friday “instantaneously makes it the biggest platform” in the industry. Autonomous vehicles can potentially reduce congestion and traffic-related fatalities, improve carmaker margins and more. The trouble is that working out how to value these outfits is a quest in itself.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Donald Trump has landed a pre-emptive blow in a brewing fight over how to tax technology giants like Facebook. The U.S. president on Wednesday initiated a probe into whether France’s digital levy unfairly targets American companies. The move gives him more leverage in talks about how to revamp international corporate tax but also means there’s more riding on the success of those discussions.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger will bequeath a well-oiled machine when he steps down next year. The 44 billion euro carmaker’s boss said on Friday he won’t seek a second term after his current one runs out in May 2020. The big challenge for his successor – possibly production chief Oliver Zipse, according to Reuters – will be to tune up the company’s electric-vehicle strategy.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - After much unedifying horse-trading, European leaders have finally agreed on who will head the commission, central bank and other top roles. That has implications for the bloc’s future. Plus: Why Africa’s growth figures make worrying reading for the continent’s democrats.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Theme parks’ child-friendly rides are safer and more accessible, but decidedly less rewarding. That’s a fair summary of Blackstone’s deal to help take Legoland owner Merlin Entertainments private at a 4.8 billion pound equity value.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Initial public offering bankers typically cite “market conditions” when ropey listings run into trouble. For once there’s some truth to that catch-all excuse, with three very different European companies pricing at relatively modest valuations on the same day. It’s a welcome indication that investors can stay rational despite buoyant stock markets.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Is Taylor Swift a strategically important American asset? The answer may seem obvious to her devoted fans, or “Swifties.” But they don’t get to decide. A partial sale of Tay Tay’s label, Universal Music, may fall under the purview of a U.S. foreign-investment oversight body, and ultimately President Donald Trump. That makes Chinese interest in Universal awkward.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are involved in a high-stakes game of double or quits. The kingdom and its Gulf ally’s wealth funds jointly put up $60 billion of the near-$100 billion pledged to SoftBank Group’s giant Vision Fund. Now they have to decide whether to participate in the sequel planned by Masayoshi Son, the Japanese group’s founder. Walking away could undermine confidence in the vehicle’s current batch of startups.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - You don’t always know what you have until it’s gone. Renault investors who called Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ 15.3 billion euro merger offer stingy will recognise this sentiment.
LONDON/HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Squint hard, and it’s possible to interpret the latest headlines involving Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as progress towards reviving the carmakers’ 33 billion euro merger. Step back, however, and negotiations involving the French group’s state shareholder and Japanese ally Nissan Motor expose the dysfunctional governance which would hobble a broader partnership.