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Masa Son justifies doing business with Saudi Arabia
Masayoshi Son, C.E.O. of SoftBank, finally spoke today against the assassination of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. But he added that his company would not distance itself from Saudi Arabia – the biggest investor in its Vision Fund of nearly $ 100 billion.
From the FT report on SoftBank's earnings, call:
"We accept funds from the people of Saudi Arabia that will be crucial to diversify the economy, so that it is not dependent solely on oil," said Son, at the beginning of a earnings conference in Tokyo.
"It is true that this was a tragic affair, but we also have a responsibility that we must defend for the future of the people in Saudi Arabia."
SoftBank is trying to establish a thin line between criticizing the Saudi government, which has been accused of orchestrating Khashoggi's death and losing support. Given the importance of the Vision Fund to SoftBank, Mr. Son may feel he has no choice.
He is not alone. Large consulting firms, such as McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group, had contracts with Saudi Arabia. And Larry Fink of BlackRock told DealBook last week that doing business with the Saudis "is not something I'm ashamed of."
Mike Bloomberg's push for Democrat and himself
Before the midterm elections, Mike Bloomberg is making a call (not totally unselfish) to arms with a $ 5 million ad campaign to support Democrats.
The billionaire's political action committee began publishing an ad on Sunday that directly criticizes President Trump. "At this point, we should send a signal to the Republicans in Washington that they could not lead, they could not find solutions and they could not bring us together," he said in the announcement.
But the point also establishes Mr. Bloomberg as a centrist, while other potential Democratic candidates adopt more progressive positions. (He even wore a purple tie to explain it best). More from Robert WaPo's Coast:
Although formally a speech to Democrats – to whom Bloomberg has given more than $ 110 million in this electoral cycle – the announcement is also revealing of the kind of presentation he could bring to the 2020 election campaign. He speaks bluntly with the accent of Boston faded from his youth, devoid of partisan passion and with a technocratic emphasis on competence.
More Intermediate News: Many companies encouraged employees to vote. What intermediate terms can mean for companies and investors. And the political ads are getting more unpleasant – but the candidates are on the side of the messages.
Amazon is supposedly in last-minute talks about its HQ2
The company is approaching a decision on a location for its second headquarters. The WSJ reports that Amazon is discussing fine details with "a small handful of communities," including Crystal City, Virginia; Dallas; and New York. The WaPo suggests that Crystal City "is a favorite."
There may be a kind of consolation prize for the exploiters: Laura Stevens, Scott Calvert and Tawnell D. Hobbs of the WSJ, write that "some also believe that Amazon can announce plans to put smaller operations into second place."
Amazon itself has said little about the lawsuit, although it has said a ruling will come before the end of the year. Unidentified sources told the WSJ and WaPo that a decision could be made public as early as this month.
More news from the Amazon: A senior executive is unhappy with leaks over HQ2, tweeting that the informant should "stop treating N.D.A. you signed it as a used napkin. " Some booksellers are boycotting a service owned by Amazon. And two workers died at a warehouse in Baltimore.
Fed policymakers hold their penultimate meeting in 2018. Analysts do not expect a rate hike or forecast of changes, but expect an indication that the Fed would raise rates by an additional 25 basis points in December. That would be the fourth increase of the year, and probably President Trump.
The Institute for Supply Management will release non-production figures. Economists expect non-manufacturing activity to have dropped slightly in October, with a September boost likely fueled by tariff preparations that came into effect that month.
Xi Jinping steals Trump's trade policy
At an international import fair in Shanghai today, President Xi Jinping promised new cuts in China's import tariffs and an additional opening of his economy to the world. But as the FT notes, promises to import $ 30 trillion in goods and $ 10 trillion in services over the next 15 years, but it does not represent a significant increase over previously announced plans.
More interesting were a number of not-so-subtle comments made by Mr. Xi that could be viewed as directed at the Trump government. "As globalization deepens, the practices of the law of the jungle and the winner take everything to a dead end," he said. "Inclusion and reciprocity, mutual benefits and mutual benefits are an ever-increasing path."
But as Keith Bradsher of the NYT points out, the right people may not be listening:
China's challenge was also on display, especially considering who ignored the event. Despite months of China's vigorous efforts to persuade foreign leaders to attend, only about a dozen presidents and prime ministers – from Hungary, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, among others – appeared on Monday morning. Many were leaders from countries like Kenya and Laos, who borrow heavily from Beijing
As Huawei's claims weigh on the partners
Australian intelligence officials have determined that Huawei officials were invited to assist the Chinese government infiltrate a foreign telecommunication network, according to Australian Weekend, which quoted an unidentified source. The claim may renew the American skepticism of the Chinese telecommunications giant – and partners such as Japan's SoftBank.
It is unclear if the attempted invasion was successful. But the report will play with the fears of US lawmakers who think Huawei is a threat to national security. This may be a problem for SoftBank, which has business ties with the Chinese company.
SoftBank is seeking approval to sell Sprint, which it controls, to T-Mobile. Lawmakers pressed the Trump administration to examine this agreement on national security issues. SoftBank has argued that it has complied with regulators since it acquired control of Sprint, including spending millions to remove equipment from Huawei from a related American network. But the Australian report will not help in your case.
Iran says it will challenge renewed sanctions
US sanctions on Iranian oil exports resumed this morning. Rick Perry, the secretary of energy, wrote in a WSJ article that they "will deliver an unmistakable message to Tehran: change your ways or suffer the consequences." He added that movements from other nations, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, will mean that "there must be minimal effect on global energy markets."
But the Trump administration said on Friday that it had exempted eight countries, including China and India, from sanctions. Meanwhile, European leaders are struggling to create a special purpose vehicle to allow them to continue negotiating with Iran. And Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the nation would break sanctions to sell oil.
Berkshire Hathaway spent nearly $ 1 billion in repurchases
Warren Buffett complained for years that he did not get a chance to use the Berkshire Hathaway treasure in a big deal. At the end of last week, he showed that he had put some of the money to use – for repurchase the company's shares for the first time in six years.
Berkshire posted operating income of $ 6.88 billion during the third quarter, and used $ 928 million to repurchase shares. It is in keeping with Buffett's longstanding belief that one of the best things an undervalued company can do is a buyback. But it also suggests he does not see attractive acquisitions.
Goldman Sachs will promote fewer than 65 executives to be partners this year, the smallest in two decades.
Susan Molinari, one of Google's top lobbyists, plans to step down at the end of the year.
Beyond Meat, manufacturer of herbal meat substitutes, has named Kathy Waller, C.F.O. of Coca-Cola and Ned Segal, C.F.O. from Twitter, to your advice.
• More than 30 Goldman Sachs executives – including C.E.O. David Solomon – reviewed the debt transactions of a Malaysian sovereign fund that led to criminal charges against two former bankers. (FT)
• Public technology companies are rushing to sell more stocks. (WSJ)
• C.E.O., by Slack, Stewart Butterfield, says there is no "specific timetable" for a I.P.O. (Fortune)
Politics and politics
Hackers are trying to intrude on electoral networks before midterms. They have had "limited success," according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security. (Boston Globe)
• Georgia's secretary of state, who is running for governor, accused Democrats of attempting to hack into the state's voter registration files, but did not cite any evidence. (NYT)
• Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and other major beverage companies are often behind electoral initiatives that would ban food sales taxes. (NYT)
• Brexit's chief negotiator from Britain insisted on a hard-line stance on the Irish border with Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, 70 British business leaders publicly backed a proposal to vote on any final deal.
• US companies, already feeling the impact of the US-China trade war, warn that things can get worse. (WSJ)
• It is becoming an obstacle to Asian growth as well. (FT)
• Why US sanctions on Russia may be more problematic than Iran's. (FT)
• President Trump said that Google, Facebook and Amazon are "big companies" – but added that his administration is "looking at" the antitrust claims. (Axios)
• Gab's social network is back online and is filled with anti-Semitic messages. (Related: Right-wing extremists see validation in President Trump's language.)
• Electric cars face an infrastructure hurdle of $ 6 trillion. (Bloomberg Opinion)
• Senator Ron Wyden has proposed a new aggressive European data privacy law. (Fortune)
• Tesla said the Justice Department and S.E.C. were investigating their Model 3 production forecasts. (CNBC)
Best of the rest
• How middle-class finances have changed since 2016. (Upshot)
• Barclays was the worst performer in recent European bank stress tests. (Bloomberg)
• Goldman Sachs predicts that global growth will slow down next year. (Bloomberg)
• Is Agnes Gund the last good and rich person? (NYT)
Thanks for reading! Well, see you tomorrow.
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