Business • Economy
Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy
Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy
Credit: Elemaki / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Cirque du Soleil has filed for creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Quebec, Canada on Monday. The Montreal-based company stated that the Covid-19 pandemic had caused "immense disruption and forced show closures," including six shows in Las Vegas and 10 shows on tour worldwide.

"For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization. However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, management had to act decisively to protect the company's future," so president and CEO Daniel Lamarre said in a statement.

Cirque du Soleil has received $300 million in funding from Quebec's major institutional investors and multinational private equity firms to "support a successful restart, provide relief for Cirque du Soleil's affected employees and partners, and assume certain of the company's outstanding liabilities."

The company also announced the termination of approximately 3,480 employees previously furloughed in March.

Business • Economy
German development bank KfW could lose €100 million from Wirecard insolvency
Wirecard Headquarters, Aschheim
Wirecard Headquarters, Aschheim Credit: Leo Molatore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

KfW, Germany’s state development bank, could lose €100 million euros after Wirecard filed for insolvency last Thursday.

Ipex Bank, a KfW subsidiary, granted Wirecard the sum over a credit line two years ago and the funds were fully drawn down but were not hedged by Ipex.

Business • Economy
Telegram to pay fine and return $1.2 billion to investors to settle SEC charges
Pavel Durov, CEO and co-founder of Telegram
Pavel Durov, CEO and co-founder of Telegram Credit: Techcrunch (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Telegram Group has agreed to an $18.5 million civil settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and to return $1.2 billion to investors to resolve charges over an unregistered digital token coin offering, the SEC said in a statement on Friday.

In October 2019 the SEC filed a complaint against Telegram alleging the company had raised capital through the sale of 2.9 billion Grams, on its TON (Telegram Open Network) blockchain, to finance its business.

"I want to conclude this post by wishing luck to all those striving for decentralisation, balance and equality in the world. You are fighting the right battle. This battle may well be the most important battle of our generation. We hope that you succeed where we have failed." wrote Pavel Durov, creator of Telegram, announcing the shutdown of its TON blockchain platform.

Business • Economy
Microsoft is permanently closing almost all of its stores
Microsoft Store in Sydney
Microsoft Store in Sydney Credit: Wpcpey / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Microsoft announced its plan to permanently close all its retail stores worldwide, with staff being relocated to Microsoft's corporate facilities. Four stores in London, Sydney, New York and Redmond are to remain open but will be "reimagined".

"Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location," so David Porter, Microsoft Corporate Vice President.

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Shareholders plans to sue EY over its role in the Wirecard scandal
Shareholders plans to sue EY over its role in the Wirecard scandal
Credit: Kaethe17 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The German shareholders’ association SdK announced Friday that it had filed a criminal complaint against accounting firm at EY over its role in the Wirecard scandal.

According to news magazine Der Spiegel, SoftBank is also planning to sue EY after investing 900 million euros in Wirecard last year.

EY, told CNBC late Thursday that "even the most robust and extended audit procedures" couldn’t uncover what it called a “collusive fraud.”

Business • Economy
Wirecard declares bankruptcy
Wirecard declares bankruptcy
Credit: / Markus Winkler

The payment provider Wirecard has declared bankruptcy at the district court in Munich. The company announced that "The Management Board of Wirecard AG has decided to file an application for the opening of insolvency proceedings on behalf of Wirecard AG at the competent Munich Local Court due to the threat of insolvency and over-indebtedness". Previously irregularities in the balance sheet of the company had come to attention and the company now assumes that €1,9 billion at two Filipino banks do not exist.

Business • Economy
Segway ceases production of self-balancing scooter
Segway ceases production of self-balancing scooter
Credit: Paweł Bochen

Segway will cease production of the Segway Personal Transporter, a self-balancing scooter that was released 20 years ago. The company announced on Tuesday that manufacturing on the scooter would end by July 15 in the company's New Hampshire factory and 21 employees would be let go.

Business • Economy
Hello Kitty founder Shintaro Tsuji retires at age 92
Hello Kitty figures at an amusement park in Guangzhou, China
Hello Kitty figures at an amusement park in Guangzhou, China Credit: Zhang

The 92-year-old Shintaro Tsuji is retiring as chief executive from Japanese company Sanrio. Tsuji founded the company the Yamanashi Silk Center gift shop in 1960 and renamed it Sanrio in 1973. In 1974, Hello Kitty made its debut on a vinyl coin purse and was later featured on various items, including sneakers, panini makers and chopsticks. Shintaro Tsjui's grandson, Tomokuni Tsuji, will take over the business in July.

Business • Economy
Apple stores to close in four US states amid rising Covid-19 cases
Apple stores to close in four US states amid rising Covid-19 cases
Credit: kaiyv

Apple announced that it would temporarily close a total of six stores in Florida, Arizona, North and South Carolina due to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases.

Apple told TechCrunch: "Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas. We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible."

Business • Economy
Target to raise minimum wage to $15/hour
Target Store in Oregon
Target Store in Oregon Credit: MB298 / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Target will raise its hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 5. This will impact 275,000 employees working in Target stores and distribution centres. Furthermore, hourly employees will receive a one-time $200 bonus "for their efforts throughout the coronavirus pandemic".

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One third of UK's furloughed employees report being asked to continue work
Window of a closed fashion store, Boden, Chelsea. The store is closed due to the covid 19 pandemic.
Window of a closed fashion store, Boden, Chelsea. The store is closed due to the covid 19 pandemic. Credit: John Cameron

In a study by Crossland Employment Solicitors, more than a third of respondents who had been placed on furlough under the government's job retention scheme reported being asked by their employer to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme was set up to minimise job losses across the UK economy and sees the government paying 80% of a firm's staff salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month under the condition that the furloughed employees undertake no work that would generate revenue for the firm. Most of the survey respondents who reported being asked to continue working while furloughed stated that they were undertaking more administrative tasks than usual, with some even being asked to use their personal phone number and e-mail accounts in a bid to avoid being caught breaking the scheme's rules.

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, overseeing the job retention scheme, have received more than 3,000 complaints about fraudulent or erroneous claims. Its Chief Executive, Jim Harra, said in a statement to the Commons Public Accounts Committee that tipoffs were being taken "very seriously". Firms found to have broken the rules could be forced to return all funds paid by the scheme.

Business • Economy
PG&E pleads guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter in 2018 California Camp Fire
On the morning of November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire erupted 90 miles (140 kilometers) north of Sacramento, California.
On the morning of November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire erupted 90 miles (140 kilometers) north of Sacramento, California. Credit: NASA, Joshua Stevens / Public domain

On Tuesday, Pacific Gas & Electric pleaded guilty to 84 separate counts of involuntary manslaughter Butte County Superior Court. PG&E was responsible for causing a deadly Camp Fire, sparked by outdated power lines, that caused the death of 85 people and the destruction of 19,000 buildings in Paradise, California. Bill Johnson, CEO and President of PG&E, also pleaded guilty to one felony count of unlawfully starting a fire. The company will pay $10,000 for each life lost.

Business • Economy
German Federal Statistical Office: Winners and losers in the first quarter of 2020
German Federal Statistical Office: Winners and losers in the first quarter of 2020
Credit: Robert Anasch

The Covid-19 pandemic in the first quarter of the year not only caused losers: in general, sales were 2.4% below the previous quarter. While it hit the travel agencies business sector particularly hard with -22.9%, the security sector (+ 1.5%) and the area of architecture and engineering firms (+ 3.5%), for example, recorded sales increases.

Overall, an increase in employment in selected service areas compared to the first quarter of 2019 was also recorded.

Business • Economy
Chuck E. Cheese approaches bankruptcy, in talks with lenders
Chuck E. Cheese Restaurant
Chuck E. Cheese Restaurant Credit: Eteixido / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Chuck E. Cheese, an American family entertainment center chain, is approaching bankruptcy and is in talks with lenders about financial deals. CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese, has a debt of almost $1 billion and hopes to secure $200 million in loans.

Business • Economy
Just Eat Takeaway acquires Grubhub for $7.3 billion
Just Eat Takeaway acquires Grubhub for $7.3 billion

European food delivery app Just Eat Takeaway has agreed to buy US rival Grubhub in a $7.3 billion all-stock deal. If the takeover is completed it will create the world's biggest food delivery company outside China.

For Grubhub, the deal offers an escape from the antitrust concerns that plagued its talks with the Uber Eats division of ride-hailing firm Uber.

The new company will have more than 70 million active customers who place close to 600 million orders a year.

Business • Economy
Sony to donate $1 million to Black Lives Matter
Sony to donate $1 million to Black Lives Matter
Credit: Rogers

In an interview with CNET in which he announced the postponement of the PS5 games event, Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony's PlayStation, also announced that Sony would pledge $1 million to the black community.

"There are moments in life when something happens around you and you realize that what you've been doing is either not big enough, not good enough, or just wrong. This is such a moment," Ryan told CNET via email and added: "We are going to take a good hard look at how we behave as a company, and how we behave towards our community."

Business • Economy
US billionaires net worth rises by $565 billion during Covid-19 pandemic

The economical consequences of the Covid-19 have been unprecedented for the United States. Over the past eleven weeks, 42.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits with black Americans being disproportionately affected. In contrast to this, the net worth of the American billionaires has grown 20% - in numbers by $565 billion - according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies.

Business • Economy
Lyft reports 26% growth in rides for May compared to April
Lyft reports 26% growth in rides for May compared to April
Credit: Austin Distel

Lyft announced today that rides on the platform grew 26% in May compared to the previous month. Still, the company said rides are down about 70% compared to May 2019.

After the announcement, Lyft shares rose more than 4%.

Business • Economy
Money transport industry in Switzerland shaken by the corona virus
Money transport industry in Switzerland shaken by the corona virus
Credit: Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum

After several attacks on money transporters in the past in Switzerland, the industry is now facing other challenges: While the protective measures around the transport have stayed the same, the fears of transmission of the coronavirus have lowered the cash flow. However, the cost of protective measures remains the same, which leads to high-cost pressure in the industry.

Business • Economy
France: Expectation of 11% economy shrinkage
Bruno Le Maire, Ministry of Economy and Finance
Bruno Le Maire, Ministry of Economy and Finance Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The government of France forecasts an 11% shrinkage of its GDP. The economic expectation announcement came from from France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on the radio on Tuesday. "The hardest part is still ahead of us in social and economic terms", so Le Maire.

Business • Economy
Uber sends thousands of JUMP bikes to the scrapheap
Jump Electric Bike by Uber, Parked on the Street
Jump Electric Bike by Uber, Parked on the Street Credit: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

Uber is sending tens of thousands of its electric Jump bikes to the scrapyard, weeks after offloading the money-losing bike-share division on Lime.

“We explored donating the remaining, older-model bikes, but given many significant issues — including maintenance, liability, safety concerns, and a lack of consumer-grade charging equipment — we decided the best approach was to responsibly recycle them,” Uber said in a statement to NBC.

Business • Economy
1 in 4 U.S. workers now unemployed
The Frances Perkins Building of the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Frances Perkins Building of the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. Credit: Ed Brown / Public domain

With another 2.1 million unemployment claims filed in the last week, the total number of jobless claims in the U.S. has passed 40 million. Though these numbers may not indicate only new layoffs as, according to chief economist at the accounting firm Grant Thornton Diane Swonk, states have been working through a backlog of claims.

Business • Economy
Hertz files for bankruptcy
Hertz car rental office in Livonia, Michigan
Hertz car rental office in Livonia, Michigan Credit: Dwight Burdette / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Hertz, the car rental company operating 10,200 corporate and franchisee locations all over the world, has filed for bankruptcy protection, excluding operations in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the company saw a sharp decrease in rentals and was not able to continue to pay its lenders. A company spokesperson said they would use over $1 billion in cash on hand to continue running its business during the bankruptcy process.

Business • Economy
Facebook announces permanent remote work option for employees
Mark Zuckerberg F8 2018 Keynote
Mark Zuckerberg F8 2018 Keynote Credit: Anthony Quintano (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

During a live-streamed talk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company will allow permanent remote work for many of its existing 45,000 employees and "aggressively open up" remote hiring..

Zuckerberg expects that about 50% of Facebook's workforce will work remotely within the next five to 10 years.

Business • Economy
Mastercard announces that employees can decide by themselves "when they feel comfortable" to return to offices

According to Mastercard about 90% of its employees are currently working remotely, despite most offices being open for work. The chief executive Ajay Banga said that "I'm not planning on getting back to a pre-Covid growth scenario for another year. I think that could be sometime next year when a vaccine is readily available and readily distributed." All employees can "make the decision on when they feel comfortable returning to an office. They know their personal circumstances and needs".

Business • Economy
Uber lays off another 3,000 employees, shuts down 45 offices
Uber mobile application
Uber mobile application Credit: Uber

Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced to employees today that the company will lay off other 3,000 employees and close 45 offices globally.

“I knew that I had to make a hard decision, not because we are a public company, or to protect our stock price, or to please our Board or investors,” Khosrowshahi wrote in a memo to employees.

The announcement comes just days after the company stated it would cut 3,700 jobs in its customer service and recruiting departments.

Business • Economy
Apple to reopen 25 U.S. stores
Apple Logo Sign at apple 5th Avenue
Apple Logo Sign at apple 5th Avenue Credit: Heymann

After closing all its stores outside of China in mid-March, Apple is reopening a total of 25 stores in the United States. According to a spokesperson of Apple, the company will be opening stores gradually starting next week. In addition to mandatory face coverings, the company will check customers temperature at the store's entrances.

Business • Economy
Italy's 10-Week-Lockdown Has Ended
Bar Bistro in Naples, Italy
Bar Bistro in Naples, Italy Credit: Borie

Italy's economy came to a halt in early March, making it the first Western country to impose a nationwide lockdown. Now, after ten weeks, the country is reopening retail stores, restaurants and other customer-oriented establishments. As the nation begins to allow unlimited travel, social distancing rules still apply and people must stay 2 metres (6.5ft) apart.

Business • Economy
New Zealand’s Finance Minister Announces Plan to Reduce Unemployment Numbers
NZ Finance Minister Grant Robertson in Wellington, New Zealand
NZ Finance Minister Grant Robertson in Wellington, New Zealand Credit: David Tong / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Grant Robertson, New Zealand’s finance minister, announced a NZ$50 billion dollar plan to reduce unemployment numbers and save around 140,000 jobs within a two-year period. Robertson called the fund “the most significant financial commitment in modern history”. Of the budget, $3 billion are planned for government’s wage subsidy, $1.6 billion for apprenticeships training and trades, $3 billion for infrastructure including job creation and $400 million for supporting the tourism industry.

Business • Economy
Air Canada to Lay off Half of its Workers

After grounding more than 200 planes and slashing 95% of its flight capacity due to the decrease in demand as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canadian flag carrier is about to fire roughly 20,000 of its 39,000 employees. The layoffs, which will take place on the 7th of June, will affect a minimum of 19,000 staff and could go as high as 22,800.