Business

Sub-categories

Business • Markets
Office Depot rejected a takeover attempt by office supply rival, Staples
Office Depot store
Office Depot store Credit: The ODP Corporation

However, the parent company of Office Depot said it is open to a different kind of a deal, such as selling its retail and e-commerce businesses to Staples or agreeing to a joint venture, according to the report.

In a letter, ODP Chairman Joseph Vassalluzzo wrote that a deal that's not a full takeover "could be executed more efficiently and with far greater certainty and less regulatory risk than your proposal." He wrote the letter to Stefan Kaluzny, the managing director of Sycamore Partners and a board member of USR Parent, the subsidiary over Staples.

This was the third attempt by Staples to acquire Office Depot.

Business • Economy
Angela Merkel criticizes Trump's social media ban
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel Credit: Bundesregierung/Denzel (Public Domain)

German government criticizes the permanent blocking of Trump's social media accounts. Merkel pointed out that freedom of expression as a fundamental right should only be restricted by legislation and not by companies.

In principle, the German government condemns statements inciting hatred and violence and is in favor of regulating social networks.

Business • Markets
Staples proposes buying rival Office Depot for $2.1 billion
Staples Inc. logo
Staples Inc. logo

Five years after the US government blocked a prior attempt, Staples is again looking to buy rival Office Depot in a $2.1 billion cash deal.

Staples went private in 2017, selling itself to Sycamore Partners, a firm focused on keeping distressed retailers afloat. To avoid antitrust scrutiny, Staples proposed selling its IT management company CompuCom or its business-to-business unit.

Business • Media & Advertising
In Possible New Marketing Trend, Luxury Fashion Brand Bottega Veneta Shuts Down Its Social Media Accounts
In Possible New Marketing Trend, Luxury Fashion Brand Bottega Veneta Shuts Down Its Social Media Accounts
Credit: Screenshot Bottega Veneta

Earlier this week, Kering-owned luxury fashion brand Bottega Veneta closed down its Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts without warning and with no explanation. It is unclear whether this is a mere marketing stunt or whether Bottega Veneta's decision may be a bellwether for an emerging trend.

Social media doesn’t work to attract the right people to a luxury brand, according to an analysis of a luxury insiders’ survey among some 500 executives working in or supporting the luxury industry.

“We have not found any marketing tool that produces leads qualified for our luxury products and service,” was among the comments in that survey. And another said, “So far nothing is working. Social media is seeing no actual move to act.”

Two possible reasons are currently discussed publically:

  • Social media is mass, not class. Luxury does not fit in the hodgepodge of divergent messages that is social media.
  • People who can actually afford luxury brands are over-marketed to and not likely to pay attention to the brand's social media posts. Bombarding them with irrelevant posts on social media is not how to be respectful of them and personalize every interaction.

GQ’s Rachel Tashjain speculated: “Perhaps the Bottega deletion is the ultimate act of stealth luxury – it will now be a brand that travels strictly by word of mouth.”

Business
Google workers form union amid ongoing tensions with senior executives
Google workers form union amid ongoing tensions with senior executives
Credit: Alphabet Workers Union

Over 200 employees of Google and its parent firm Alphabet have formed Alphabet Workers Union amid increasing disagreements with the company’s senior executives, including the handling of sexual misconduct by former executives, Google's partnership with the Pentagon and the controversial departure of AI researcher Timnnit Gebru.

"We hope to create a democratic process for workers to wield decision-making power; promote social, economic, and environmental justice; and end the unfair disparities between TVCs (temporary, vendors and contractors) and FTEs (full time employees)," the union's website said.

Business • Markets
Bitcoin reaches $33,000 value, all-time high
Bitcoin reaches $33,000 value, all-time high
Credit: unsplash.com/André François McKenzie's profile André François McKenzie

Bitcoin has surpassed the $30,000 mark, reaching a value of $33,000 on Saturday, an all-time high. The cryptocurrency has tripled in value in 2020 after plummeting to below $4,000 in march.

Business • Health Care
Chinese Covid-19 vaccine shows efficacy of 79 per cent
Chinese Covid-19 vaccine shows efficacy of 79 per cent
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

Pharmaceutical company Sinopharm is the first manufacturer in China to announce details of the efficacy of its Corona vaccine. The company said that the vaccine is expected to provide more than 79 percent protection against Covid-19 (79.34 percent).

The release of the data is an important step toward final approval of the vaccine, doses of which have already been secured by countries outside China.

Business • Markets
China pushes Alibaba founder Jack Ma to break up his fintech empire
Jack Ma
Jack Ma Credit: JD Lasica (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Chinese regulators want Jack Ma's Ant Group to go back to its digital payment roots, stating Ant's corporate governance was "not sound". The Ant Group started as Alipay, which became China’s largest digital payment platform, though it eventually expanded to offer investment and savings accounts and lending, insurance and wealth management services.

The latest salvo in Beijing's battle against Ma - who had been feted as China's greatest modern-day entrepreneur until he started speaking out against strict regulations - wiped 8% off the value of Alibaba's share price in Hong Kong trading on Monday.

In November, Chinese regulators blocked Ant’s $37 billion IPO just two days before dealing was due to begin in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Business • Health Care
Biontech applies for change in approval to get more doses from vials
Biontech applies for change in approval to get more doses from vials
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

One ampoule of Biontech vaccine can often be used to produce six rations instead of five. The Mainz-based manufacturer Biontech has now submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency Ema for a change in the conditions of approval. The Ema had told the German newspaper SPIEGEL on Tuesday that if Biontech submitted an application to change the terms of its marketing authorisation, it would be "rapidly" reviewed by its human medicines committee.

Biontech is lobbying for doctors to be allowed to draw six full vaccine doses of 0.3 ml each from the provided vials containing a total of 2.25 ml of finished vaccine in the future - provided they can draw up six full doses.

Business
Bitcoin rises above $25,000 for the first time
Bitcoin rises above $25,000 for the first time
Credit: unsplash.com / Bermix Studio

On Saturday, the price of the oldest and best-known cryptocurrency rose above the round mark of 25,000 US dollars (20,503.57 euros) for the first time. On the Bitstamp trading platform, a high of 25,022 dollars was reached. This is a record high. On other trading platforms, of which there are many, the record highs may differ, as there is no central Bitcoin trading.

Business • Media & Advertising
Report: 387 journalists are imprisoned worldwide
Report: 387 journalists are imprisoned worldwide
Credit: unsplash.com / The Climate Reality Project

According to the annual press freedom survey published by the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) at least 387 journalists are imprisoned worldwide. According to the data, fifty-four journalists are currently considered abducted, and four disappeared in 2020.

Over 130 journalists have been arrested for their reporting on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Business
Bitcoin surpasses $20k milestone, continues to surge
Bitcoin surpasses $20k milestone, continues to surge
Credit: unsplash/Micheile Henderson

Bitcoin has surpassed the $20,000 mark on Wednesday and continued to surge late into the evening, reaching $22,192 on 2 am EST. Bitcoin’s market cap has reached $384 billion.

Business • Media & Advertising
Pornhub deletes over 10 million videos after Mastercard and Visa cut ties
Pornhub deletes over 10 million videos after Mastercard and Visa cut ties
Credit: Courtesy of Pornhub

The site made the announcement days after Discover, Mastercard, and Visa all stopped accepting payments from Pornhub over concerns the platform was hosting thousands of child porn and rape video clips. In its defense, Pornhub is questioning why the child porn controversy is threatening its business when illegal videos continue to circulate on mainstream social media sites such as Facebook. However, the founder of TraffickingHub, Laila Mickelwait, has long argued that Pornhub often ignored the child porn videos on its site, leaving victims to suffer while it profits from the traffic.

Business • Entrepreneurship & Startups
Gorillas, the on-demand grocery delivery startup, has raised $44M in Series A
Gorillas, the on-demand grocery delivery startup, has raised $44M in Series A
Credit: Instagram / gorillasapp

Gorillas, a grocery delivery startup that operates its own hyperlocal fulfilment centres and operates in Berlin and Cologne, has raised $44 million in Series A funding round led by hedge fund Coatue.

Founded by Kağan Sümer and Jörg Kattner in May this year, Gorillas delivers groceries within an average of ten minutes. Unlike gig economy models, it employs riders directly. It is emphasising its ability to get fresh groceries, along with other household items, to shoppers at very short notice and at "retail prices".

Business • Jobs & Careers
Oracle moves its headquarters to Austin, Texas
Oracle Corporation headquarters in Redwood Shores
Oracle Corporation headquarters in Redwood Shores Credit: Rayhe (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Oracle Corporation has moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas. Oracle became the latest technology company to leave California in the face of the state's higher taxes, steeper cost of living and a broader shift to remote work.

"We believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work," spokesperson Deborah Hellinger told CNN Business.

Business • Media & Advertising
Pornhub: Visa and Mastercard discontinue business relations
Pornhub: Visa and Mastercard discontinue business relations
Credit: unsplash.com / Ales Nesetril

Visa and Mastercard opened investigations and put MindGeek's business relationship under scrutiny on Monday after a New York Times report indicated that child abuse and non-consensual sexual violence videos had been published on Pornhub.

According to the New York Times, Mastercard stated on Thursday that the investigations had confirmed "violations of our standards to ban illegal content" on Pornhub's website. MindGeek announced on Tuesday restrictions on uploads and downloads to Pornhub in view of the accusations in the New York Times report and the subsequent investigations by Visa and Mastercard.

Business • Health Care
Hackers steal Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine data in Europe, companies say
Hackers steal Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine data in Europe, companies say
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said on Wednesday that documents related to development of their COVID-19 vaccine had been “unlawfully accessed” in a cyberattack on Europe’s medicines regulator.

Business • Innovation & Sustainability
Hyundai Motor acquires Boston Dynamics from SoftBank for almost $1 bn
Hyundai Motor acquires Boston Dynamics from SoftBank for almost $1 bn
Credit: Web Summit / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Hyundai Motor Co. is acquiring the US robotics firm Boston Dynamics Inc. from SoftBank Group for slightly less than 1 trillion won ($921 million) and will finalize the acquisition at its Dec. 10 board meeting, according to sources with knowledge of the matter on Dec. 8.

Business • Markets
Wall Street begins trading water futures as a commodity
Wall Street begins trading water futures as a commodity
Credit: unsplash.com / Imani

The market new allows farmers, hedge funds, and municipalities to hedge bets on the future price of water and water availability in California.

RBC Capital Markets managing director and analyst Deane Dray has stated that "Climate change, droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come," and added that "We are definitely going to watch how this new water futures contract develops".

Business • Entrepreneurship & Startups
Uber has sold Uber Elevate, its air taxi business
Uber Elevate
Uber Elevate Credit: Uber

After selling its self-driving taxi technology to autonomous vehicle startup Aurora earlier this week, Uber has now sold its air taxi business Uber Elevate to California-based Joby Aviation.

Joby will be able to use Uber's app infrastructure to offer air taxi rides once the service enters the market and is FAA certified, most likely in 2023.

“We were proud to partner with Uber Elevate last year, and we’re even prouder to be welcoming them into the Joby team today while deepening our cooperation with Uber. The team at Uber Elevate has not only played an important role in our industry, but they have also developed a remarkable set of software tools that build on more than a decade of experience enabling on-demand mobility," so JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO, Joby Aviation in a statement.

Business • Health Care
First person receives Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in UK
First person receives Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in UK
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / NHS Midlands

A UK grandmother has become the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer Covid-19 jab as part of a mass vaccination programme.

Up to four million more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are expected by the end of the month.

"I can't thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it - if I can have it at 90 then you can have it too.", said Keenan.

Business • Consumer & Service
Ikea to end publication of its catalogue after 70 years due to shift to online browsing
Ikea to end publication of its catalogue after 70 years due to shift to online browsing
Credit: unsplash/billow926

Ikea announced the end of the publication of its annual catalogue after 70 years due to an increasing shift to online browsing and shopping.

Konrad Grüss, an Ikea executive, said in a statement that the company has "taken the emotional but rational decision to respectfully end the successful career" of both the print and digital versions of the catalogue and that "turning the page with our beloved catalog is in fact a natural process since media consumption and customer behaviors have changed".

Ikea will release a smaller catalogue next year that will be "filled with great home furnishing inspiration and knowledge" to celebrates the catalogue's history.

Business • Entrepreneurship & Startups
Pharrell Williams launches "Black Ambition" – a non-profit to help Black and Latinx entrepreneurs
Pharrell Williams launches "Black Ambition" – a non-profit to help Black and Latinx entrepreneurs
Credit: Black Ambition

Pharrell Williams has launched "Black Ambition", a non-profit initiative to support Black and Latinx startups in design, tech, healthcare and consumer products. The initiative has launched a call for applications on December 2 and is offering both seed capital and pitch feedback and mentorship.

"Recent events and tragedies have illustrated the always existent stark divisions in the American experience, and while entrepreneurship has long been a tenet of the American dream, marginalized people have faced long-standing barriers to success," so Williams. With Black Ambition, the goal is to help strengthen the pipeline of talented entrepreneurs and close the opportunity and wealth gaps derived from limited access to capital and resources."

Business • Markets
Aldi acquires almost 550 stores in France
Aldi acquires almost 550 stores in France
Credit: Psicopatria / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Aldi takes over 547 branches and three central warehouses of its competitor Groupe Casino in France. This is the largest acquisition in the history of the Aldi Nord group, the German group announced. The food discounter estimated the deal at 717 million euros.

Already in March one had delivered a binding offer, now the competition authorities had finally agreed, Aldi communicated. The integration of the markets should be completed by the end of 2021. Most of the stores have been operated under the Leader Price brand to date. According to its own statements, Aldi Nord intends to use the acquisition to expand its market position in France and consolidate its store network there.

Business • Media & Advertising
German media group Bertelsmann to acquire Simon & Schuster for more than $2 billion
German media group Bertelsmann to acquire Simon & Schuster for more than $2 billion
Credit: Bertelsmann Unternehmenskommunikation (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

German media group Bertelsmann will acquire U.S. publisher Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS for more than $2 billion. Bertelsmann, the owner of Penguin Random House, outbid Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for the publisher of authors Dan Brown, Hillary Clinton and Stephen King that Viacom put up for sale earlier this year.

CEO Thomas Rabe is restructuring the group to reduce its exposure to declining areas such as printing, has merged its Arvato CRM customer services unit and made a string of smaller technology bets.

Business • Farming & Agriculture
UK faces shortage of Christmas trees due to Covid-19 export restrictions from Denmark
UK faces shortage of Christmas trees due to Covid-19 export restrictions from Denmark
Credit: Steve Wilson (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Due to a recent outbreak of a mutated Covid-19 version in mink, Denmark has heavy export restrictions in place. Following the United Kingdom has problems importing Nordmann Firs of which it normally uses around a million trees every year.

According to MailOnline Domestic suppliers are working hard to fill any gaps in demand to ensure people can get a tree for their house, but face an increase in demand of sometimes up to 1,000%.

Business • Media & Advertising
Buzzfeed to acquire HuffPost
Buzzfeed to acquire HuffPost
Credit: Homepage of HuffPost (Public Domain)

BuzzFeed has agreed to acquire HuffPost, as part of a larger deal with Huffpost's owner Verizon Media Group.

"This is a real vote of confidence after years of many shocks in our industry and few success stories," so Mark Schoofs, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, in an email to staff.

Business • Economy
Euro overtakes dollar as most widely used currency
Euro overtakes dollar as most widely used currency
Credit: unsplash.com / Omid Armin

For the first time in years, the EU's common currency has overtaken the dollar as an international currency. The British pound is by far the third most frequently used means of payment.

Following an evaluation of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunications (SWIFT) the demand for the euro as an international means of payment has increased significantly during the pandemic.

According to SWIFT, about 37.8 percent of all money transfers worldwide in October were in euros. This was six percentage points more than at the turn of the year. During the same period, the dollar's share fell by 4.6 percentage points to 37.5 percent.

Business • Economy
easyJet reports £835 million loss in 2020, worst results in its 25-year history
easyJet reports £835 million loss in 2020, worst results in its 25-year history
Credit: unsplash/Jan Rosolino

British multinational budget airline easyJet has reported a £835 million loss in the year to 30 September 2020, compared to £427 million in profits in 2019. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both easyJet's revenue and passenger numbers declined by approx. 50%,

"I am immensely proud of the performance of the easyJet team in facing the challenges of 2020. We responded robustly and decisively, minimising losses, reducing cash burn and launching the largest cost out and restructuring programme in our history – all while raising more than £3.1 billion in liquidity to date," so chief executive, Johan Lundgren

Business • Economy
Spanish bank Santander buys Wirecard's core business after bankruptcy
Spanish bank Santander buys Wirecard's core business after bankruptcy
Credit: Kaethe17 / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Wirecard's insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé has stated in a press release that they have "been able to successfully conclude the investor process for Wirecard's core business despite the most unfavorable conditions" by selling Wirecard's core business to the major Spanish bank Santander, They have acquired the European core business of the payment service provider Wirecard specifically the technology platform in Europe and all the assets necessary for it.