Business Review from the Economist
AT&T makes huge bid for Time Warner
AT&T made an offer for Time Warner, in a deal valued at $109 billion, underlining the push to establish giants in the media industry that combine distribution with content. If competition authorities approve, the acquisition will give AT&T possession of HBO and other premier cable channels, as well as a trove of films produced by Warner Bros. With its new assets, the United States' second-biggest wireless-telecoms firm wants to set up a rival to Netflix and Amazon, which have disrupted cable TV with cheaper services that stream content over the internet.
British American Tobacco offered to pay $47 billion to take over Reynolds American. With sales of cigarettes declining around the world, tobacco companies are scrambling to develop vapor-based products such as e-cigarettes.
Cyrus Mistry was replaced as chairman of Tata Group, India's biggest conglomerate, by Ratan Tata, who had led the group for 20 years and now controls its holding company. Mistry's defenestration followed investor unease about Tata's performance and a reported clash over the group's culture with Tata, who is returning on an interim basis. Mistry didn't go quietly, depicting his removal as "unparalleled in the annals of corporate history."
Britain's economy grew by 0.5 percent in the third quarter, which was much better than had been expected. The period covers the three months since Britain voted on June 23 to leave the European Union. The manufacturing sector contracted in the quarter. Markets shrugged off the news.
A federal judge approved the $15 billion settlement through which Volkswagen will compensate customers who bought cars that fail to meet pollution standards because it cheated in emissions tests. VW will offer to either buy back or fix the vehicles, though that fix has yet to be approved.
Tesla Motors made a surprise profit, its first since 2013. The maker of electric cars reported net income of $22 million for the third quarter; in the same period last year it had a loss of $230 million. Revenues zoomed to $2.3 billion.
Ericsson named Borje Ekholm as its new CEO. Ekholm has been a board member at the struggling Swedish telecoms-equipment supplier for 10 years. He will carry out his new duties from the United States, where he lives. The company recently issued a dire profit warning.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the most distressed bank in Italy's troubled industry, announced that it would shed 10 percent of its staff and a quarter of its branches as part of restructuring. It also confirmed that it would launch a debt-for-equity swap to kick-start its recapitalization plan. This will happen in early December, when Italians vote in a contentious referendum on political reform that may unnerve markets if it fails.
HNA, a Chinese conglomerate, said it would take a 25 percent stake in Hilton for $6.5 billion. It is buying the stake from Blackstone, which purchased the hotel chain in 2007. The private-equity firm has enlarged the business to more than 775,000 rooms worldwide.
Global Politics from the Economist
France breaks up migrant camp
In France, the migrant camp at Calais was dismantled, with asylum seekers sent to processing centers or to Britain, where many want to end up. Meanwhile, European Union officials met with the Nigerian government to try to thrash out an agreement on sending failed asylum seekers back to their countries of origin.
Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, canceled a trip to Brussels, Belgium, to sign a trade deal with the E.U. because the Socialist-led regional parliament of Wallonia in Belgium was refusing to support it. The deal, which has been seven years in the making, is opposed by many Europeans who worry that it will water down rules on environmental standards and labor laws. At the last minute Belgium cobbled together a deal.
At a NATO meeting, Spain was criticized for agreeing to refuel Russian warships at its enclave in Ceuta in north Africa. Others in the military alliance feared that the warships could help bomb Syria. Russia later withdrew its request.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Venezuela protested against the country's authoritarian regime. The electoral commission had earlier blocked a referendum to recall the president, Nicolas Maduro, following court rulings that the collection of signatures at an earlier stage of the referendum process had been fraudulent.
Gambia became the latest country to say that it is leaving the International Criminal Court, claiming that it is unfairly targeting African leaders for prosecution. Burundi and South Africa recently did likewise.