World Business


Seven condoms don't equal 21 orgasms, German court rules

It's amazing what courts have to rule on. German judges banned a condom maker's slogan because it could mislead consumers into expecting more satisfaction than they can get.

Karin Matussek 10:02 AM   Condom maker told it has to get its math right when advertising its products: seven can't equal 21.

Drug lobbyists' rising discomfort over Pfizer leaving US

One of the pharmaceutical industry's top lobbyists said that Pfizer's decision to relocate from the United States to Ireland could change the course of history for the industry.

Gardiner Harris 8:00 AM   Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has long been the most politically active drugmaker in Washington.

Judge slams VW for stalling class action

Justice Foster made an order granting Maurice Blackburn leave to file and serve the documents outside Australia.

Michaela Whitbourn and Jared Lynch 1:44 PM   A Federal Court judge has berated Volkswagen Australia's German parent company for obstructing a class action.

China, not OPEC cuts, 'holds key to oil rebound'

Slippery slope as oil prices fall.

China has become a battleground for oil producers seeking to defend sales amid a worldwide glut.

Have business leaders lost touch with reality?

Pfizer wants to acquire Allergan because the move will lower its taxes.

Steven Davidoff Solomon   Safe in their cocoons, business leaders seem to have perhaps slightly lost touch with reality.

The $US50b windfall from the War on IS

A French Air Force Dassault Rafale F1 aircraft in the skies of Iraq.

Benjamin Katz   Europe's defence industry is set to reap a massive windfall as the terror attacks on Paris prompt governments to ramp up spending.

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Alibaba's Ma in talks to buy SCMP stake

Once the world's most profitable newspaper, SCMP has followed the path of other mastheads with falling earnings and shrinking circulation as readers shift online.

Steven Yang   Alibaba's founder Jack Ma is in talks to buy a stake in the publisher of Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

HSBC tipped to cut 2000 jobs

The reductions began last week and are expected to take two years, the source said.

Richard Partington   HSBC Holdings is eliminating 2000 jobs in its commercial bank as part of a plan to cut costs, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Why tax is a big part of $US160b mega-merger

Botox is big business.

John McDuling   The second biggest merger deal in the history of merger deals was announced overnight in the US, and politicians aren't thrilled about it.

Pfizer to create world's largest drugmaker

A woman passes Pfizer's current world headquarters in New York. Pfizer and Allergan will join in a $US160 billion deal to create the world's largest drugmaker.

Ransdell Pierson and Ankur Banerjee   Pfizer on Monday said it would buy Botox maker Allergan in a record-breaking deal worth $US160 billion ($225.21 billion), designed to cut the company's US tax bill by moving its headquarters to Ireland.

Pfizer to buy Allergan for over $US150b: sources

Pfizer's purchase of Botox maker Allergan would create the world's biggest pharmaceutical group.

Greg Roumeliotis and Ransdell Pierson   Pfizer is set to secure formal board approval for its acquisition of Botox maker Allergan creating the world's biggest drug maker.

Let's beef up our relationship with Indonesia

Harold Mitchell.

Harold Mitchell   It's all too easy in times like these to think that the world is dominated and controlled by conflict and violence. 

Don't buy the China doom and gloom

Ross Gittins

Ross Gittins   Is the Chinese economy slowing down or melting down? You don't have to go far to find answers.

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Giving back makes billionaire less popular

John Arnold and his wife Laura are targeting contrarian, underappreciated causes, things like research integrity, drug-sentencing reform, organ donations and broken pension systems, an especially radioactive issue.

Dan Murtaugh   John Arnold made millions at Enron and billions at Centaurus, zigging when others zagged. Now he's giving his money away to underappreciated causes, and it isn't winning him any friends.

Hot tech stock an IPO fizzer

Square's chief executive, Jack Dorsey, will try to manage both it and Twitter simultaneously.

Leslie Picker and Mike Isaac   ​The long-running gold rush into hot technology startups showed signs of faltering on Wednesday, as a much-anticipated market debut had to scale back its ambitions.

Dorsey's Square jumps in market debut

Square's chief executive, Jack Dorsey, will try to manage both it and Twitter simultaneously. Photo: Bloomberg

Shares of mobile payments company Square jumped as much as 64 per cent on their market debut, countering recent negative sentiment for tech start-ups.

Nike to split stock, plans $US12b buyback

Nike expects to boost annual sales about 60 per cent to $US50 billion by 2020.

Matt Townsend   Nike, the world's largest sporting- goods company, approved a new $US12 billion stock buyback plan and said it would split its shares 2-for-1.

All companies have slave labour in supply chains

The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013 killed more than 1100 factory workers.

​All businesses have some form of slave labour in their supply chains, a senior official from Britain's biggest retailer says.

Apple, Google asked to crack encryption

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr's plan would require companies to download data for investigators with a warrant, rather than providing the government with a "backdoor".

Tiffany Kary and Chris Dolmetsch   Apple and Google face renewed calls to create a workaround for smartphone encryption in the wake of the Paris attacks as US lawmakers propose a compromise that seeks to mollify privacy advocates.

Marriott, Starwood create biggest hotel chain

The combined company will have over 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide.

Ankit Ajmera   Marriott International will buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for $US12.2 billion to create the world's largest hotel chain with top brands including Sheraton, Ritz Carlton and the Autograph Collection.


'This time is different': real cost of Paris killings

A French police officers stand guard in front of the main entrance of Bataclan concert following Friday's terrorist attacks on November 16, 2015 in Paris, France.

Andrew Ross Sorkin   The market reaction to the Paris attacks may belie the true cost of terrorism and, more important, underestimate the potential cost of the Paris killings.

Australia and Indonesia to restart trade talks next year

Andrew Robb said a deal could be negotiated within 12 months.

Jewel Topsfield   Australia will restart talks on a trade agreement with Indonesia early next year as part of a push to strengthen economic ties between the two neighbouring countries.

Did Airbnb just cause a $17.2b hotel merger?

Airbnb expects to hit $US900 million in gross revenue this year, rising to $US10 billion by 2020

John McDuling   It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that the merger of hotel giants Marriott and Starwood is partly due to the threat of accomodation marketplace Airbnb.

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Australia's trade with Indonesia underdone

The beef industry is one area where the two countries already work together.

Jewel Topsfield   Opportunities for both countries lie in closer co-operation, says a report which Trade Minister Andrew Robb will launch in Yogyakarta on Tuesday.

Jay Z's Tidal faces the music

Jay Z insists his Tidal will be just fine.

Since Jay Z bought Tidal early this year, the music streaming service has been plagued by the perception that it was unlikely to succeed.

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Netflix hits 1m subscribers in Australia

"We need to remember the enemy is out there": Nine Entertainment director of strategy Melanie Kansil says free-to-air broadcasters need to collaborate to fight off the likes of Netlifx.

Netflix has hit 1 million subscribers in Australia, just eight months after it officially launched in the country.

Airbnb upgrades variable pricing tool for hosts

"Smart Pricing is tailored to individual listings so hosts can offer a price that is most likely to attract bookings, day by day," AirBnB said.

Online home rental group Airbnb is rolling out an upgraded variable pricing tool that automatically raises or cuts room rates based on supply and demand.

$68m diamond buyer breaks property record

Joseph Lau, 64, who made his fortune in real estate, has been on a buying spree.

Frederik Balfour   Coincidence or timing? Either way, Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau has just pulled off a twofer for the history books.

VW sets deadline for whistleblowers

VW is eager to show federal prosecutors in Detroit and Washington that it is fully cooperating with the criminal investigation.

Volkswagen has set a deadline at the end of November for its program designed to encourage workers to disclose information about two emissions scandals.

Goldman names 425 managing directors

The promotions disclosed Thursday on the New York-based company's website take effect January 1.

Michael J. Moore   Women accounted for 25 per cent of the executives named this year, up from 20 per cent in the previous round.