Tencent Music IPO, Corruption Crackdown, GM Korea: CEO Daily for April 23, 2018
Americans are ready to hit Facebook with new regulations, according to a HarrisX poll taken in the days after Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony. Using a nationally representative sample, the survey found 84% of Americans believe “technology companies should be legally responsible for the content they carry,” 83% said we need “tougher regulations and penalties for breaches of data privacy,” and 53% said tech companies should be regulated the way big banks are. Pro-regulatory sentiment is strongest among baby-boomers, but still relatively strong among GenXers and Millennials.
Not surprisingly, Facebook took the brunt of the public’s wrath, with 49% saying it should be “heavily regulated” and another 39% saying it should be “lightly regulated.” There was less sentiment for heavily regulating Google (34%) even though, as the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend, Google is collecting more data on most people than Facebook is. And there was even less zeal for heavily regulating Apple, Amazon and Microsoft (29%, 27%, and 26%, respectively.)
None of this, of course, means Congress will actually move on the regulatory front anytime soon. Congress’ ability to get its act together and do anything is at historic lows. And a majority of those surveyed expressed doubts about whether the government was capable of regulating technology companies.
Some commentators are pointing out that regulation could actually help Facebook, since it would likely be easier for the social networking giant to meet the regulatory requirements than new or smaller challengers.
By the way, 68% of respondents to the Harris poll believe technology in general is a force for good in the world. Only 14% said it has a negative effect. (Caveat: it’s an online poll, so could tilt a bit toward the technophiles.)
Separately, Apple stock got clobbered on Friday, not because of regulatory fears but because of analyst reports that its new iPhoneX is struggling. The stock is now down 2% since the first of the year.
More news below.
Tencent Music IPO
The music division of Chinese tech giant Tencent is planning an IPO that could see it valued at more than $25 billion—its valuation according to recent private transactions. According to the Journal, Tencent Music's IPO will probably come in the second half of this year, and it will probably take place in the U.S., but details will only arrive in several months' time. Wall Street Journal
The International Monetary Fund says it's cracking down on corruption enabled by rich countries, which may not be doing enough to combat bribery and money laundering. The probe will look at practices in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Canada, Austria and the Czech Republic. Here's IMF chief Christine Lagarde: "The flip side of every bribe taken is a bribe given. And funds received through corruption are often funds concealed outside the country, often in the financial sectors of major capitals." Guardian
GM Korea may have averted bankruptcy at the last minute, thanks to a tentative deal with unions over jobs and benefit cuts. The company needs to restructure if it is to avoid liquidation, but unions had been resisting its proposed measures. They struck a deal today, although union members still need to vote on it later this week. If the deal holds, it should allow a major funding boost from the South Korean government, plus a commitment from GM to move more production to the country. Fortune
The Swiss bank UBS has revealed a 19% boost in net profit for the last quarter—1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.54 billion), as opposed to the 1.419 billion francs that analysts were expecting to see. The same quarter last year brought a profit of 1.27 billion francs. The boost seems to have come from rising revenues from equity trading and corporate client solutions. CEO Sergio Ermotti is "very pleased with the way the year has started." CNBC
Around the Water Cooler
New data from LinkedIn suggests that fund managers have drastically slashed their hiring in the U.K., thanks to Brexit. While hiring in Paris and Luxembourg is up, that in London is down by as much as half. "We are seeing a bigger push from U.K. and U.S. managers to have boots on the ground in Europe…London is not so much being dethroned as diluted," Casey Quirk EMEA chief Jonathan Doolan told the FT. Financial Times
Fake Ad News
The problem of fake advertising on Facebook is back in the spotlight, as a British consumer campaigner is suing the platform for carrying fake ads with his face on them. Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert, says at least 50 ads claim or claimed that he endorsed the services for sale—including cryptocurrency-related scams. Facebook says it deletes any fake ads that are reported, but Lewis has filed a defamation suit to the High Court in London. He says any damages he receives will go to anti-scam charities. BBC
Walmart and Flipkart
Walmart may buy a majority stake in the Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart within the next couple of weeks, according to reports. The U.S. firm will apparently pay at least $12 billion for the stake, which will be between 60% and 80%. Other shareholders are on board, with Tiger Global Management ready to offload most of its 20% stake, and SoftBank willing to sell a chunk of its "20%-plus holding." Bloomberg
Internships On Wheels
Harley-Davidson is on the search for interns who want to learn to ride a Harley and ride one across the country. This is obviously a marketing thing—the interns will share their journeys on social media. And, if they finish their H-D Riding Academy course and get their motorcycle endorsement, they'll get to keep their hogs. Fortune