This week in Busi­ness

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BUSINESS -

In its search for a new chief ex­ec­u­tive Uber at last set­tled on Dara Khos­row­shahi, who ran Ex­pe­dia for 12 years. He takes up the reins at the ride­hail­ing firm af­ter a run of bad pub­lic­ity that led to the oust­ing of Travis Kalan­ick, Uber’s co­founder. Mr Khos­row­shahi’s in-tray gets only fuller. It was re­ported this week that Uber is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­legedly con­tra­ven­ing the For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act. And in an ad­dress to staff, Mr Khos­row­shahi said that an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing could come in the next 18-36 months.

Us­ing a new fund that al­lows the state to in­ter­vene in fail­ing banks, Rus­sia’s cen­tral bank stepped in to res­cue Otkri­tie, the coun­try’s largest pri­vate lender, af­ter a run on its de­posits. It is the first time that one of the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions deemed “too big to fail” has needed a bailout.

A du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion: The first fine was im­posed on a bank in the euro zone un­der the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s Sin­gle Su­per­vi­sory Mech­a­nism. Per­ma­nent TSB, an Ir­ish lender, is to pay 2.5m ($3m) for breach­ing liq­uid­ity rules in 2015 and 2016. Cre­ated in 2014, the SSM is the “first pil­lar” of the euro zone’s nascent bank­ing union, over­see­ing the sta­bil­ity of its big­gest banks.

Amer­ica’s eco­nomic growth rate in the sec­ond quar­ter was re­vised to 3% on an an­nu­alised ba­sis, up from the 2.6% that was re­ported in an ini­tial es­ti­mate. Stronger in­vest­ment and con­sumer spend­ing ex­plained the more vig­or­ous fig­ure.

In South Korea, Lee Jae- yong, the de facto head of Sam­sung, lodged an ap­peal against his con­vic­tion and five-year prison sen­tence for bribery. The ver­dict in the case, which is re­lated to a scan­dal that brought down the coun­try’s pre­vi­ous pres­i­dent, did not have a big im­pact on the com­pany’s share price. But if his con­vic­tion is up­held, Mr Lee is un­likely to be given a pres­i­den­tial par­don. Pub­lic anger with the chae­bol, South Korea’s con­glom­er­ates, makes such special treat­ment im­prob­a­ble.

Gilead Sci­ences struck a deal to buy Kite Pharma for $11.9bn. Kite is one of sev­eral com­pa­nies de­vel­op­ing a pi­o­neer­ing treat­ment for fight­ing can­cer known as CAR-T, which re-en­gi­neers a pa­tient’s white blood cells. The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion this week gave its ap­proval to a sim­i­lar ther­apy from No­var­tis that will cost $475,000 (cheaper than had been thought) for a course of treat­ment, mark­ing the first time the FDA has made a gene ther­apy avail­able in Amer­ica.

Fleece me in St Louis: Work­ers in St Louis saw the $10-an-hour min­i­mum wage they se­cured in May cut back to $7.70, as a state law came into ef­fect bar­ring lo­cal gov­ern­ments from pay­ing more than Mis­souri’s min­i­mum rate. Other states have laws that pre­vent their cities from pay­ing above an of­fi­cial bench­mark, but St Louis is the big­gest place where the min­i­mum has been rolled back. Busi­ness groups lob­bied for the cut, ar­gu­ing that large wage raises hurt jobs.

In­dia’s cen­tral bank re­ported that 99% of the ban­knotes that were sud­denly taken out of cir­cu­la­tion last year un­der a de­mon­eti­sa­tion pro­gramme had been cashed in at banks for new ten­der. That some­what un­der­mined the gov­ern­ment’s claim that the scheme would leave forg­ers and tax dodgers hold­ing piles of use­less ru­pees.

CBS agreed to buy Ten Net­work, one of Aus­tralia’s three main com­mer­cial sta­tions (and broad­caster of “Neigh­bours”, a long-run­ning soap opera). The Amer­i­can me­dia gi­ant is Ten’s big­gest cred­i­tor through a li­cens­ing deal for its block­buster TV dra­mas.

Toshiba missed a dead­line to seal a deal to sell its chip busi­ness to West­ern Dig­i­tal, its Amer­i­can part­ner in the unit. The trou­bled Ja­panese con­glom­er­ate is con­tin­u­ing talks with other par­ties, in­clud­ing Bain Cap­i­tal, a pri­vate-eq­uity firm, which has re­port­edly added Ap­ple to the con­sor­tium it is head­ing.

In the lat­est push by car­mak­ers into elec­tric ve­hi­cles, Re­nault-Nis­san an­nounced that it would build a bat­tery-pow­ered car in China with Dongfeng Mo­tor, its part­ner in the coun­try for many years. As­ton Martin, mean­while, promised that all its ve­hi­cles would be able to run on bat­ter­ies or would be “mild” hy­brids (which use an en­gine but can also travel on bat­tery power) by the mid-2020s.

Less dosh for posh nosh: Ama­zon struck fear into es­tab­lished su­per­mar­ket re­tail­ers when it launched a price war on the day it took of­fi­cial own­er­ship of Whole Foods Mar­ket. Prices for del­i­ca­cies such as “re­spon­si­bly farmed” sal­mon were cut by a third, and “an­i­mal-wel­fare-re­lated” ground beef by 29%. Share prices in some of the big­gest gro­cery chains swooned in re­sponse, but many think the in­dus­try is ripe for a round of price slash­ing.

New CEO of Uber, Dara Khos­row­shahi.

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