1,231.30 0.00 (0.00%)
After hours: 5:14PM EDT
|Bid||1,230.01 x 900|
|Ask||1,233.66 x 800|
|Day's Range||1,225.61 - 1,239.28|
|52 Week Range||970.11 - 1,289.27|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.94|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||24.86|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- India’s fragile financial system is swinging between despair and hope. Two separate incidents — both featuring the lender Yes Bank Ltd. — recently underscored the drag of past underwriting follies as well as the lift from a digital reset. It will take time, but good things will come to Indian banking as a result of the present crisis. Start with the sudden default by financier Altico Capital India Ltd. on a 199.7-million-rupee ($2.8-million) interest payment to Abu Dhabi-based Mashreqbank PSC. Clearwater Capital Partners-backed Altico, which borrows money from banks and mutual funds to make loans to property developers, called the situation a “liquidity crisis.” And that made Yes Bank investors gloomy. Based on January data, the midsize Indian bank had a 4.5-billion-rupee exposure to Altico, the third-highest after Mashreq and HDFC Bank Ltd. While HDFC Bank, the country’s most valuable lender, has the capital — and current profit — to take the occasional credit hit, Yes’s capital cushion is already frayed by dodgy loans to beleaguered shadow banks and troubled tycoons. Both these borrower groups have found it hard to refinance debt since the collapse last year of IL&FS Group, a large Indian infrastructure financier and operator. Altico’s unraveling shows that an end to credit woes is not yet in sight. At more than $200 billion, India’s world-beating pile of bad loans is bigger than Italy’s. State-run Indian banks are carrying the bulk of the burden, but at least they’re getting dollops of taxpayers’ money and being merged into fewer banking groups. A private-sector lender like Yes doesn’t have a formal public backstop. If it can’t fend for itself, the central bank could step in and force an arranged match with a better-run bank. The terms won’t be favorable to Yes shareholders. To avoid such a fate, Yes needs to raise growth capital by convincing new investors that the worst is over. And that brings us to the week’s other big incident. Yes shares jumped 13.5% after reports that One97 Communications Ltd., which owns the Indian digital payments network Paytm, may buy out a 9.6% stake in Yes from Rana Kapoor, the lender’s co-founder. Kapoor was forced to step down as CEO early this year by the Reserve Bank of India amid a controversy over bad-debt accounting. New CEO Ravneet Gill, brought in to clean up the mess, told Reuters last week that Yes was looking to sell a minority stake to “one of the world’s top three technology companies that had not previously invested in a bank.”Investors pushed the stock higher despite their many misgivings. Only two years ago, Yes had a high price-to-book multiple and an even bigger price-to-truth ratio, a term I’d coined to describe shareholders’ refusal to question the subterfuge at India’s private-sector banks. Although the banking regulator had found bad loans to be four times what Yes had disclosed in audited results, very few analysts believed something could go seriously wrong given Kapoor’s substantial stake — his skin in the game. That was then. Now, Yes is a battered lender gasping for capital. Despite the many regulatory hurdles on the way to a possible alignment with Paytm, which the latter hasn’t confirmed, a deal could help the bank break free of its checkered past — and reemerge as a digital lender. If Paytm can monetize the data of its 350 million mobile wallet users by giving them point-of-sale loans using the balance sheet of a bank — whether Yes or someone else — the payment firm will get a second wind. Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma had an early advantage as India’s mobile payments pioneer, but Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe as well as Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay are giving him stiff competition. Paytm’s losses are ballooning and it’s becoming evident that without old-fashioned lending, there may be no other path to profitability for a pure payments business. Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest tycoon, plans to use his rapidly growing Jio telecom network to offer customers discounts and vouchers that would be honored even by neighborhood stores. But for extending point-of-sale credit, Ambani would also need to borrow the balance sheet of a bank. For Yes, point-of-sale financing could be a growth avenue at a time when the turmoil in India’s formal and shadow banking sectors refuses to end. It’s put the brakes on what authorities were until recently claiming to be the world’s fastest-growing major economy. But alongside the despair, hope is building for a new model led by supply-chain credit, asset securitization, digital lending, and joint underwriting by finance companies (which know their borrowers) and banks (which have stable deposits). The tug of war between the past and the future of banking in India is getting interesting. What happens to Yes could be a gauge of which way the balance of power is shifting.To contact the author of this story: Andy Mukherjee at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Where would we be if not for engineers? The truth is, many of us wouldn't be here at all, according to this week's guest on Masters in Business.“Engineers have saved far more lives than all of the doctors in the world” through their inventions, said John Browne, the chairman of L1 Energy and chief executive officer of BP Plc from 1995 to 2007. Engineering and science are the “golden thread” that runs throughout almost all of humanity’s progress, from health care, economics and defense, to transportation, shelter and more, he said.In our conversation, Browne, a member of the House of Lords, explains how many of humanity’s most pressing problems already have engineering solutions; the impediment is typically a political impasse. This is as true for global warming and energy production as it is for wealth inequality, longevity and public health. Browne, author of numerous books including the recent "Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilisation," discussed why coming out of the closet is good business. He argues that being inclusive and building teams where people feel wanted and valuable should be every company’s goal. Brown points out that there are only a handful of openly gay CEOs at Standard & Poor's 500 companies, when statistically, there should be 25 to 50. The lack of role models is a detriment to gay employees advancing. After he came out, one of his competitors said “John, we all knew you were gay, only none of us were ever brave enough to discuss it with you.”His favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is here.You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.Next week we speak with Sarah Ketterer, chief executive officer and co-founder of Causeway Capital Management LLC, which has $52 billion under management. Ketterer was Morningstar's International Manager of the Year in 2017.To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon stock is edging closer to a record high that would place its market valuation above $1 trillion, as the e-commerce giant keeps pushing into new markets with disruptive thunder.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stock is the little brother of the "Cloud Czars." With a market cap of $534 billion, Facebook trades at 31.7 times last year's earnings. This is helped by a balance sheet that showed $41 billion in cash and no debt in June, even while the company spends capital at a $15 billion per year rate.Source: rvlsoft / Shutterstock.com Facebook's rate of capital spending growth is extraordinary. The company's capital budget was $293 million in 2009. In 2018 it was almost $14 billion.Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) gets primary credit for creating the cloud concept. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has turned the cloud into a market. But no company has been as dedicated to pushing cloud technology as Facebook. Its Open Compute Project, launched in 2011, continues to push cloud costs down.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsYet none of the Cloud Czars -- not Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), not Alphabet, not Amazon, not even Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) -- is as hated as Facebook. Blame the Free WebMany have come to believe that Facebook is partially responsible for the election of President Donald Trump. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg later testified that he believes Facebook did not "do enough" to prevent disinformation and fake news articles from swaying election results.While Alphabet is actively pushing beyond its free web roots, Facebook is doubling down on all things free. As politicians call for the breaking up of the free web's giants, Facebook is choosing to more tightly integrate its ancillary services. * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now This doesn't mean Facebook is ignoring the threats. In July, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to settle a Federal Trade Commission investigation into its privacy practices. In the aftermath of this fine, Facebook is changing its default settings on photos, so it won't automatically use facial recognition software to tag photos. This will ease the automatic collection of biometric data. Facebook is also considering hiding the likes on its news feed and is meeting with government officials trying to protect the 2020 election.In general, however, Facebook is showing government the same blank, bland face Zuckerberg showed in Congressional testimony last year. It tells the government what it thinks lawmakers want to hear but otherwise does what it wants. Exasperated, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden recently suggested that Zuckerberg belongs in prison. The Facebook FightbackUnder the surface, Facebook is fighting back.It is paying for a new series of fact-based media templates in Europe as part of its Facebook Watch platform. It has launched pop-up windows on its social media platforms to counter misinformation about vaccines. Facebook has also issued a white paper on data portability -- the notion that a user should be able to move their data from Facebook to another platform -- in response to growing demand.Facebook is often used for phishing. Picture friends' faces popping up through Messenger, earnestly asking for money or personal information. I have personally faced several of these phishing attempts and twice almost gave hackers hundreds of dollars as a result.Mainly, Facebook continues to treat political problems as technical ones. After this summer's Messenger Kids breach, which exposed thousands of kids to unauthorized users, its response was a technically focused letter.The test of whether this attempt to fight back is working may be Libra, its blockchain project. Libra seeks to replicate services already available from Chinese rivals like Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent (OTCMKTS:TCEHY). While trying to get support, Facebook has said blockchain technology will protect payments and lower costs. The European Union is already investigating Libra to see if it harms its competitors, even before its launch. FB Stock's Secret SauceWhile there are analysts who think Facebook should double down on services, say by buying Yelp (NYSE:YELP), it is Facebook's data centers and its cloud network that hold the key to its future.That network now includes two data centers in Europe and an 11-story center in Singapore, all built with the low-cost standards created by the Open Compute Project.Analysts will continue to look at Facebook through the front door of political controversy and privacy policies. They need to look instead at the back door of Facebook's data center footprint.If the former is too deep and technical for you, Facebook is a buy.Dana Blankenhorn is a financial and technology journalist. He is the author of the environmental story, Bridget O'Flynn and the Bear, available at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn. As of this writing he owned shares in AAPL, MSFT AMZN and BABA. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Recession-Resistant Services Stocks to Buy * 7 Hot Penny Stocks to Consider Now * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now The post Growing Data Center Network Makes Facebook Stock a 'Buy' appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Is there a job out there that gives you a six-figure income, high job satisfaction and has enough job openings to make it a real possibility? The “Glassdoor Job Score” is determined by weighing three factors equally: Earning potential (median annual base salary), overall job satisfaction rating and number of job openings.
According to an EU court ruling, Google (GOOGL) will not have to pay a $1.1 billion copyright fee that a German publishing group demanded.
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) stock price has lagged the S&P 500 in 2019 despite some impressive growth numbers. One of the biggest reasons investors are skeptical is due to concerns about antitrust action.Source: turtix / Shutterstock.com Antitrust fears were stoked last week on reports of two new big tech probes by 48 U.S. state attorneys general. While the antitrust news may create headline volatility in the near-term, it's nothing for GOOGL stock investors to be concerned about in the long-term.Here's a look at exactly why investors are worried and why they shouldn't be.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips New Google ProbesTexas Attorney General Ken Paxton confirmed this week that he is leading 47 other state attorneys general in a bipartisan antitrust investigation of Google. The probe is reportedly focused on Google's dominance in online advertising and its use of consumer data. * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now The new state investigation comes after the Wall Street Journal previously reported that the Department of Justice is conducting its own antitrust investigation of Google.On the surface, antitrust investigations are serious business. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has already fined Google for mishandling user data. But antitrust violations could potentially result in changes to Google's core algorithms or even a breakup of the company. Analyst Take on Alphabet StockThe good news for GOOGL stock investors is that it seems extremely unlikely regulators will actually break up Google or any other big U.S. tech companies. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives says the investigations are most likely just noise.Politicians and regulators are mostly just responding to outspoken critics of the big tech platforms. Ives says fines and potential forced changes to Google's business model are likely the worst-case scenario for Alphabet stock. Ironically, he says a forced breakup might unlock shareholder value."We continue to believe on a SOTP basis the valuation for names such as Amazon, Google, and Apple would be re-rated higher in the unlikely scenario there were ever significant business model breakups, such as the separation of AWS from Amazon's retail e-commerce business," Ives says.For Alphabet, a potential antitrust breakup could include a forced spin-off of YouTube, for example. But if Ives is correct, separating the high-growth YouTube from Google's core search business could lead to a much higher valuation of YouTube. Slap On The Wrist?At the same time, Google's recent FTC settlement for violating children's privacy laws was $170 million. To put that in perspective, Alphabet reported about $10 billion in net income in the second quarter alone. Any antitrust fine would have to be absolutely massive to make a dent in Google's cash flow. Even then, the positive impact of moving on from the antitrust crackdown could outweigh the temporary impact of a fine in the eyes of the market.Altering the ad business or the algorithm would be the worst-case scenario in my mind. But these types of changes are rarely as bad as the market assumes they will be.Of course, there could ultimately be no action at all taken against Google. After all, being big isn't a monopoly. Unless investigators can prove non-competitive practices, Google may get off scot-free. GOOGL Stock Will Be Just FineAs I said back in July, GOOGL stock has way too much going for it in the long-term for investors to be scared of these antitrust probes. Google is a market leader in secular high-growth fields such as internet and mobile search, online advertising, artificial intelligence, cloud services, machine learning and autonomous vehicles. It's still growing at roughly a 20% clip. Yet Alphabet stock is trading at 22 times forward earnings."We believe that Congress will investigate claims of anticompetitive behavior, but ultimately, we expect a 'no harm, no foul' outcome on these FAANG names once the DOJ concludes its potential investigation, although this news could add some headline risk to these tech stalwarts in the near-term," Ives says.I agree. Since when have politicians actually done anything productive or useful lately? They will make a big production out of this antitrust investigation. They will ultimately slap some kind of fine on Google or force them to make some minor adjustments to their model. Life will carry on, and GOOGL stock investors can stop talking about Washington and start talking about technology.As of this writing, Wayne Duggan did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Recession-Resistant Services Stocks to Buy * 7 Hot Penny Stocks to Consider Now * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now The post Alphabet Stock Investors Shouldn't Sweat Antitrust Spotlight appeared first on InvestorPlace.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. fights the world’s biggest tax case in a quiet courtroom this week, trying to rein in the European Union’s powerful antitrust chief ahead of a potential new crackdown on internet giants.The iPhone maker can tell the EU General Court in Luxembourg that it’s the world’s biggest taxpayer. But that’s not enough for EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who said in a 2016 ruling that Apple’s tax deals with Ireland allowed the company to pay far less than other businesses. The court must now weigh whether regulators were right to levy a record 13 billion-euro ($14.4 billion) tax bill.Apple’s haggling over tax comes after its market valuation hit $1.02 trillion last week on the back of a new aggressive pricing strategy that may stoke demand for some smartphones and watches. The company’s huge revenue -- and those of other technology firms -- have attracted close scrutiny in Europe, focusing on complicated company structures for transferring profits generated from intellectual property.A court ruling, likely to take months, could empower or halt Vestager’s tax probes, which are now centering on fiscal deals done by Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. She’s also been tasked with coming up with a “fair European tax” by the end of 2020 if global efforts to reform digital taxation don’t make progress.“Politically, this will have very big consequences,” said Sven Giegold, a Green member of the European Parliament. “If Apple wins this case, the calls for tax harmonization in Europe will take on a different dynamic, you can count on that.”Vestager showed her determination to fight the tax cases to the end by opening new probes into 39 companies’ tax deals with Belgium on Monday. The move addresses criticism by the same court handling the Apple challenge. A February judgment threw out her 2016 order for them to pay back about 800 million euros.At the same time she’s pushing for “fair international tax rules so that digitization doesn’t allow companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax,” according to a speech to German ambassadors last month. She urged them to use “our influence to build an international environment that helps us reach our goals” in talks on a new global agreement to tax technology firms.Apple’s fury at its 2016 EU order saw Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook blasting the EU move as “total political crap.” The company’s legal challenge claims the EU wrongly targeted profits that should be taxed in the U.S. and “retroactively changed the rules” on how global authorities calculate what’s owed to them.The U.S. Treasury weighed in too, saying the EU was making itself a “supra-national tax authority” that could threaten global tax reform efforts. President Donald Trump hasn’t been silent either, saying Vestager “hates the United States” because “she’s suing all our companies.”“There is a lot at stake given the high-profile nature of the case, as well as the concerns that have been raised from the U.S. Treasury that the investigations risk undermining the international tax system,” said Nicole Robins, a partner at economics consultancy Oxera in Brussels.Apple declined to comment ahead of the hearing, referring to previous statements. The European Commission also declined to comment. Ireland said it “profoundly” disagreed with the EU’s findings.Richard Murphy, a professor at London’s City University, said the EU’s case “is about making clear that no company should be beyond the geographic limits of tax law.”“Selective attempts to get round the law -- which is what tax avoidance is -- are unacceptable when companies seek the protection and support of that same law” in the rest of their business,” Murphy said.Vestager has also fined Google some $9 billion. She’s ordered Amazon to pay back taxes -- a mere 250 million euros -- and is probing Nike Inc.’s tax affairs and looking into Google’s taxation in Ireland.The first hints of how the Apple case may turn out will come from a pair of rulings scheduled for Sept. 24.The General Court will rule on whether the EU was right to demand unpaid taxes from Starbucks Corp. and a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV unit. Those judgments could set an important precedent on how far the EU can question tax decisions national governments make on how companies should be treated.“It’s very clear that the largest companies in the world -- the frightful five I call them -- are hardly paying taxes,” said Paul Tang, a socialist lawmaker at the European Parliament. “Cases like these, Amazon in Luxembourg or Apple in Ireland, started to build public and political pressure” for tax reform in Europe.The legal battles may go on for a few years more. The General Court rulings can be appealed once more to the EU’s highest tribunal, the EU Court of Justice. Meanwhile, Apple’s back taxes -- 14.3 billion euros including interest -- sit in an escrow account and can’t be paid to Ireland until the final legal challenges are exhausted.For Alex Cobham, chief executive of the Tax Justice Network campaign group, the issue is already in the past and “it’s not even the biggest tax scandal that Apple has” after reports on other structures it may use. Tax reforms under discussion “will ensure much closer alignment of taxable profits and the real economic activity” generated by them.The cases are: T-892/16, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe v. Commission, T-778/16, Ireland v. Commission.(Updates with Vestager comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at email@example.com;Aoife White in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.com, Peter ChapmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Andre Esteves once joked that Banco BTG Pactual SA, the Latin American investment bank powerhouse he helped create, would one day become “better than Goldman” -- a play on the firm’s name.Now, BTG is chasing Goldman Sachs Group Inc. down another path, looking to build a digital retail bank for the masses.The firm, under the BTG Digital brand, will offer credit and debit cards, checking accounts and loans to individuals by mid-next year, adding to the investment platform focused on high-income clients, Chief Executive Officer Roberto Sallouti said in an interview at the bank’s Sao Paulo headquarters. The plan remains on track after a new round of police investigations targeted the bank in August.“Being a latecomer in this case is a benefit,” Sallouti said, adding that not having branches or old technology allows BTG to offer new products and better service. His five-year goal is to gain a 10% stake in the holdings of retail and private-banking clients, which totaled 2.8 trillion reais ($690 billion) last year.Years after the global financial crisis, Goldman’s then-CEO Lloyd Blankfein set out to build an online bank called Marcus to help diversify his firm’s funding and sources of revenue. The idea is to offer personal loans and savings accounts online at better rates than brick-and-mortar competitors -- helping consumers save money while disrupting incumbents.“The Brazilian middle class has now access to the same products millionaires have and at the same prices,” Sallouti said.Both BTG and Goldman have learned the benefits of drawing low-cost, diversified funding from individuals. That was one of the takeaways of the 2008 financial crisis for New York-based Goldman.For BTG, the lesson came later, in a 2015 crisis when Esteves, 51, was arrested in a probe known as Carwash, sparking withdrawals from big clients. Esteves was ultimately acquitted of all charges, with the prosecutor’s office saying there was “no sufficient proof” against him.See also: BTG in turmoil anew as Esteves is circled by police againThen in August, police searched the firm’s offices and Esteves’s home once again, sending shares tumbling and prompting the bank to react quickly to reassure investors that panic wasn’t warranted. Even after falling more than 20% from from their peak, BTG shares have more than doubled this year and are the second-best performer of Brazil’s benchmark Ibovespa index.BTG Digital has already helped retail deposits jump from 3% to near 17%, bringing a “brutal change in the quality of our funding,” Sallouti said. Once again, there’s a parallel with Goldman Sachs, which said it expected to increase consumer deposits by more than $10 billion a year with Marcus.BTG started its digital initiative in 2016 with a product similar to the one by XP Investimentos SA, which was offering middle-class clients deposits, bonds and stocks at lower fees. While BTG doesn’t disclose such details, Santander analysts Henrique Navarro and Olavo Arthuzo estimated in an Aug. 21 report that the digital unit would have 150 billion reais in assets under custody in three to five years, valuing the venture at around 18.7 billion reais.Sallouti expects the digital platform to break even by mid-2020. Alongside all the new retail banking features, the bank’s digital push includes a new small and mid-size firm lending business, a data-analytics firm, an insurance platform and Banco Pan SA, a smaller lender BTG has a stake in that serves low-income individuals.Fintech firms have multiplied in Brazil, attracting money from the likes of billionaire Warren Buffett, SoftBank and Goldman itself. The newcomers hope to challenge the dominance of the nation’s top five lenders, which hold 85% of total assets compared with 43% in the U.S. Leading the pack are Tencent-backed Nubank, a $10 billion digital bank with more than 10 million users, payments company StoneCo, and XP Investimentos.“We’re moving forward in a way I never thought would be possible for BTG, talking to a client that was once out of our reach,” Sallouti said.Another sign of change? A recent roadshow presentation by BTG included not only the usual financials like ROE or FICC revenues -- but also a chart on the growing number of the bank’s Instagram and YouTube followers.To contact the authors of this story: Felipe Marques in Sao Paulo at firstname.lastname@example.orgCristiane Lucchesi in Sao Paulo at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael J Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org, Dan ReichlDavid ScheerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority back in February managed to get a handful of brands owned by Expedia Group and Booking Holdings to change how they displayed information to consumers searching for accommodation online. Essentially it was concerned about hate-selling through techniques such as hidden charges, and ordered them to sort it out. The […]
Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani changed India's mobile market forever when he launched the operator Reliance Jio three years ago. India’s fragmented broadband market seems ripe for the taking. Reliance Jio plans to compete with existing providers such as Bharti Airtel and sign up new users, with an initial target of 20m homes and 15m businesses.
(Bloomberg) -- A House panel investigating big tech companies for potential antitrust violations is seeking information from customers of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook about the state of competition in digital markets and the adequacy of existing enforcement, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.It’s the latest development in the bipartisan congressional investigation being conducted by House antitrust subcommittee chair David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island.The eight-page survey doesn’t mention any companies by name, but it seeks information about the industries they dominate such as mobile apps and app stores, search engines, digital advertising, social media, messaging, online commerce and logistics as well as cloud computing.The survey asks respondents to identify the top five providers for the various digital services and how much it paid each of those providers since Jan. 1 2016. It also asks for any allegations of antitrust violations or business practices that hurt competition. The committee offered respondents the possibility of confidentiality if they desired.The panel has asked for responses to its survey by mid-October.Assessing AntitrustThe survey appears geared toward businesses that pay the big technology companies for services such as cloud computing, digital advertising and help selling mobile apps and products online. It doesn’t appear to focus on general retail consumers that buy products from Amazon or iPhones from Apple.It also shows how regulators are relying on customers and competitors of Big Tech to help them better understand digital markets and and how dominant players can stifle competition. The Federal Trade Commission has been quietly interviewing online merchants that sell goods on Amazon to better understand the business.The questionnaire shows the House panel trying to assess the grip big technology companies have in various markets, a first step in probing for antitrust violations. If the panel finds competition is so scant that the customers of big technology companies have no viable alternatives, it justifies further scrutiny of business practices as well as mergers and acquisitions.The questions also suggest the panel is open to examining how antitrust laws are applied in digital markets and if enforcement and laws need to be updated.A Google spokesman declined to comment. Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Amazon and Facebook both declined to comment, but pointed to previous comments by executives in which both companies said they welcomed government scrutiny and maintain they exist in markets with healthy competition. Emails to representatives for the House committee weren’t immediately answered.The survey sent to customers follows the public disclosure of letters the House antitrust subcommittee sent to Google parent Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. Those letters, posted online, seek detailed information about acquisitions, business practices, executive communications, previous probes and lawsuits. The letters followed a July hearing in which lawmakers grilled tech executives.The House panel has been the most visible of various probes of technology companies. Representative Cicilline has been a vocal critic.Speaking at an antitrust conference in Washington, D.C. last week, he said, “you would be amazed” at the number of companies that have come forward with concerns about the potentially unfair way that big tech companies compete. Some have even expressed fear that the tech giants will respond with economic retaliation if the smaller companies’ concerns are made public, Cicilline said, without providing more detail.The House panel’s probe is part of a broader examination of the control companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have over the U.S. economy. The FTC is investigating Amazon and Facebook while the Justice Department is probing Google. Separately, 50 state attorneys general have announced an antitrust probe of Google.(Adds requested date for survey responses in fifth paragraph. An earlier version corrected the spelling of David Cicilline.)\--With assistance from Naomi Nix and Ben Brody.To contact the reporter on this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ian FisherFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Google has agreed to make a one-time settlement of over $945 million euros to the French ministry. The ministry accused Google of evading taxes.
The media business has always been about frenemies and evolving alliances which makes for tricky navigation even in quiescent times.
(Bloomberg) -- Stanford University received a $50,000 donation from a foundation funded by deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a spokesman said Friday.The donation came in 2004, two years before allegations involving Epstein’s sexual conduct with young girls started making news. The gift went to the university’s physics department. “The funds were expended shortly thereafter and we have no record of any other gifts to the university from him or his foundations,” a Stanford University spokesman said in an email. News of the donation emerges as educational institutions are coming to grips with their relationship with the disgraced financier, who committed suicide last month in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Epstein, who was 66, cultivated relationships with scientists and technologists, holding conferences and attending events with leading thinkers such as the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Last month, Stanford was among institutions that told BuzzFeed that they had searched financial records and couldn’t find evidence of an Epstein donation. A Stanford spokesman said BuzzFeed had requested information about gifts after 2006, when Epstein was charged for the first time. The school said it also told the reporter of the 2004 donation.On Thursday, Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow said the university was reviewing millions of dollars in Epstein donations, all of which came before his 2008 guilty plea in Florida. Also on Thursday, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Rafael Reif said he signed a 2012 thank-you letter to Epstein for a donation, but has no memory of it. MIT launched its own review into Epstein donations last month.Joi Ito, the director of the MIT Media Lab, resigned from his post on Sept. 7 after the New Yorker reported that the Media Lab’s ties to Epstein ran deeper than Ito had disclosed. In August, Reif said MIT had received $800,000 from Epstein-linked foundations. In early September Ito said he had also received $1.2 million from Epstein for outside investment funds he controlled. In an email to Axios on Thursday, Hoffman said he last interacted with Epstein in 2015, and that all his few interactions came at the request of Ito, with the goal of fundraising for the Media Lab. Hoffman said Ito had told him that MIT had vetted Epstein.“By agreeing to participate in any fundraising activity where Epstein was present, I helped to repair his reputation and perpetuate injustice,” Hoffman told Axios. “For this, I am deeply regretful.”Since Epstein’s arrest in July, many technology figures have rushed to distance themselves from the financier. Stanford, in the heart of Silicon Valley, has become the breeding ground for tech titans from Hewlett-Packard to Google. This year, it was caught up in a bribery scandal alleging rich parents could pay a middleman for admission to a handful of elite schools. Federal prosecutors alleged that a now-fired sailing coach accepted donations for the sailing program in exchange for smoothing the application process for some students.Epstein’s COUQ Foundation Inc. made the donation to Stanford. The same charity gave to a wide variety of causes, including the Clinton Foundation, the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Save Darfur Coalition, according to filings.To contact the author of this story: Sarah McBride in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Apple is launching a streaming service in November, making it a direct competitor to Disney’s service that is set to launch the same month.
The House sent separate letters to Apple, Alphabet, Amazon.com, and Facebook seeking information related to an investigation of competitive issues in digital markets.
Lawmakers asked Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple for a broad range of documents, another step in Congress's anti-trust investigation of the big tech companies.
Wall Street's eyes next week will be focused on Washington. Federal Reserve policy makers are expected to cut interest rates by a quarter percentage point after their meeting ends on Wednesday. That'll be the second rate cut since 2008. Fed Chair Jerome Powell finds himself in a tight spot. The U.S.-China trade war and a global slowdown have begun to pinch business spending and manufacturing output, but on the other hand, American consumers continue to spend, wages are rising, and employers keep adding jobs. Also on Wednesday: grilling in store for Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Executives from the tech giants testify before a Senate panel about removing violent content from online platforms. The hearing comes as Congress grows increasingly concerned about the use of social media by people committing mass shootings and other violent acts. Over on Wall Street, investors have begun rotating away from momentum-driven growth stocks like Google's parent Alphabet and towards beaten-down value stocks.
Federal Prosecutors are ordering Alphabet, the parent company of Google, to assure employees that they are allowed to speak out on political and workplace issues, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi, Dan Roberts, Dan Howley and Jared Blikre discuss.
The House Judiciary Committee sending letters to request a trove of documents from Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet as they look for evidence over anticompetitive behavior. Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley joins Brian Sozzi to discuss.