Business this week
There was some confusion about a tentative deal that will allow TikTok, a video-sharing app, to stay in business in the United States. Donald Trump gave his “blessing” to an agreement that would see Oracle and Walmart take a 20% stake in a newly formed TikTok Global, which would then rely on Oracle to provide it with cloud services. But Oracle and ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, issued contradictory statements about the ownership of the new business, with ByteDance describing it as a “subsidiary”. China’s state media raged against the deal, describing it as “bullying and extortion”. TikTok asked a court to block an impending order that will in effect shut its operations in America over security concerns.
对于将允许 TikTok（一个视频共享 app）继续在美国运营这个犹豫不决的交易有些困惑。唐纳德·特朗普对一项协议表示”祝福”，该协议将要求甲骨文和沃尔玛持有新成立的 TikTok 全球公司20%的股份，届时该公司将依靠甲骨文为该公司提供云服务。但是 Oracle 和字节跳动（TikTok的中国母公司），就新业务的所有权发表了相互矛盾的声明，字节跳动则将其描述为”子公司”。中国官方媒体对这笔交易大加反对，称其为”欺凌和敲诈勒索”。TikTok 要求法院阻止一项即将生效的命令，该命令因为安全方面的考虑将关闭其在美国的业务。
A judge in California issued a last-minute temporary injunction against the Trump administration’s ban on WeChat, another Chinese tech firm that has fallen foul of the government. The plaintiffs argued that prohibiting the social-media app in America would curtail free speech and was aimed at Chinese-Americans. The administration can appeal against the decision.
加州一名法官在最后一刻发布了一项临时禁令，反对特朗普政府禁止微信（WeChat）。原告辩称，禁止在美国使用 WeChat 会限制美国华人的言论自由。行政当局可以对这项决定提出上诉。
Microsoft, which had been in the running to buy TikTok before Mr Trump threw his weight behind Oracle’s bid, consoled itself by buying ZeniMax, which owns several gaming firms, publishing hits such as “The Elder Scrolls” and “Wolfenstein”. At $7.5bn, it is one of Microsoft’s bigger acquisitions.
在特朗普支持甲骨文收购之前，微软一直在竞购 TikTok，微软通过收购游戏公司 ZeniMax（制作出《上古卷轴》和《德军总部》等热门游戏）来安慰自己。这是微软规模更大的收购之一，价值75亿美元。
Following weeks of courting, CaixaBank made it official and agreed to take over Bankia, creating Spain’s biggest lender with €650bn ($760bn) in assets. “Getting married in difficult times makes it even more important that you choose the right partner,” said CaixaBank’s chief executive.
经过数周的讨价还价，CaixaBank 正式宣布收购 Bankia，成为西班牙最大的银行，拥有6500亿欧元（7600亿美元）资产。CaixaBank的首席执行官说：“在困难时期结婚，选择合适的伴侣就变得更加重要。”
In Russia, Yandex, a tech firm that operates one of the country’s most popular internet search engines, struck a $5.5bn deal to buy Tinkoff, an online bank that was founded by Oleg Tinkov and is listed in London.
在俄罗斯，经营该国最受欢迎的互联网搜索引擎之一的科技公司Yandex以55亿美元的价格收购了由 Oleg Tinkov 创立并在伦敦上市的在线银行Tinkoff。
Deutsche Bank is preparing to close a fifth of its branches in Germany, according to reports, leaving it with 400 branches. The German lender thinks the pandemic has shifted many customers permanently towards digital banking.
Investors were unimpressed by Tesla’s much hyped “Battery Day”, even though Elon Musk tried to dampen expectations. The company did announce an ambition to move all levels of car-battery production in house (rather than just battery packs) and increase the range of its batteries. But there were no specifics about a “million-mile” battery, nor a target, in terms of dollars per kilowatt-hour, to bring down the cost of its electric cars to match petrol-powered ones.
California’s governor signed an order that bans the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. It is the first American state to adopt such a measure.
Unilever secured the overwhelming support of shareholders in the Netherlands for its proposal to end its Anglo-Dutch dual structure and base the entire group in London. British investors will vote on the measure next month. Unilever wants to unify its structure by late November, but would reconsider its move if the Dutch parliament passes a law before then that would levy huge taxes on any multinational leaving the country.
The income of workers across the world will have fallen by an average 10.7% in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to the International Labour Organisation. That amounts to $3.5trn. The percentage of working hours lost because of covid-19 is most acute in Latin America, followed by South Asia. The ILO’s outlook for the last three months of 2020 has “worsened significantly”.
Nike reported an 82% jump in online sales for the three months ending August 31st, year on year. Sales at its stores, most of which were open during the quarter, remained tepid because of social- distancing measures.
The British government scrapped the system of franchising train companies that has underpinned the rail industry since privatisation in the 1990s. A new mix of performance targets and management fees moves operators towards a contracts-based system. With passenger numbers still well below normal because of covid-19, the taxpayer will continue to underwrite the industry’s losses.
In the latest corporate response to the race protests that have swept America, Mars changed the name of its Uncle Ben’s brand of rice to Ben’s Original and removed the face of an elderly black man from the packaging “to create more equitable iconography”. The image first appeared in 1946. Mars also struck a partnership with the National Urban League, a civil-rights group, to support aspiring black chefs through a scholarship fund.
在对席卷美国的种族抗议的最新企业回应中，Mars 将其 Uncle Ben 的大米品牌改名为 Ben 的原名，并从包装上去掉了一位黑人老人的脸，“以创造更公平的形象”。该图像首次出现于1946年。Mars 还与一个民权组织-全国城市联盟（National Urban League）建立了伙伴关系，通过奖学金基金支持有抱负的黑人厨师。