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Patently problematic

CLARITY or chaos? Supporters of the Base Erosion and Profit-Shifting (BEPS) project, being worked on by the OECD, argue that it will bind multinationals to a consistent set of global tax rules, providing them with less licence than they now have to short-change governments through artful use of loopholes in national laws.


AIRY croissants, rich chocolate-chip biscuits, wedges of succulent cake—the goods at the City Bakery, in Manhattan, look delicious.

A brand new game

EARLIER this year BMW advertised on WeChat, a popular messaging app in China with around 550m monthly users.

Snap judgments

A WHOLE generation of young people has been snapped up by Snapchat. Every day around 100m people worldwide use the smartphone app to send (sometimes saucy) photos, videos and messages that quickly disappear from the recipient’s phone.

Manage like a spymaster

UNTIL recently, for most businesses security was a question of buying decent locks, doors and windows, installing CCTV, making sure that reception staff sign visitors in and out, and trying not to leave confidential papers in the photocopier.

Controversial hybrids

Roundup Ready—but so are some weeds SIX companies dominate the business of farm supplies. The interest of Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed producer, in buying Syngenta, the largest agrochemicals firm, had threatened to whittle them down to five.

Together we stand

WHEN plans to merge Wind and 3 Italia, the third- and fourth-largest mobile operators in Italy, were announced on August 6th their rivals breathed a sigh of relief.

Driven to the brink

CHINA’S car market used to run like a high-revving engine. But after double-digit growth in much of the past decade, sales volumes have slowed dramatically.

When workers are owners

IT IS popular to lament the growing gap between capitalists and workers. In one respect, however, the gap is shrinking: the number of workers who own shares in the business that employs them has never been higher.

A whole Lotte drama

The Shins atone for their sins THE recent performance of the Lotte Giants, one of a dozen baseball teams belonging to South Korea’s chaebol, its family-owned conglomerates, has been uninspiring.

Clicks to bricks

“IN FIVE years, we will sell one trillion dollars.” That is the bet that Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba, made with American businessmen on a recent trip to Chicago.

Turning sour

LITTLE over a year ago, New Zealanders were still talking about a “white-gold rush”. Strong prices for milk were prompting sheep and cattle farmers to convert to dairy, and Chinese firms were coming in to buy up agricultural land and milk processors.

All you can eat, Buffett?

He’s still got a healthy appetite THE $37 billion (including debt) takeover of Precision Castparts, a supplier to the aerospace and oil industries, is the biggest deal in Berkshire Hathaway’s 50-year history.

All my bags are packed

WHEN President Barack Obama said last September that he would get tough on companies that avoid tax through “inversions”—merging with or buying foreign firms so as to shift their domicile abroad—some wondered if this would end a wave of corporate emigration.

From alpha to omega

FEW management fashions have waxed and waned quite as dramatically as that for conglomerates. From the 1960s to the 1980s business gurus praised conglomerates such as ITT of America and Hanson Trust of Britain as the highest form of capitalism.

Spelling it out

THESE days it seems as if there is almost no area of technology that Google can resist dipping its toes into.

Taking the gangster rap

EARLIER this year the founder of Medical Marijuana of the Rockies, Jerry Olson, was selling his firm’s dope for $120 an ounce, half the average retail price for good gear.

Snapping into gear

We need more cars TEHRAN’S clogged streets hint at one industry poised to profit from the lifting of some sanctions on Iran after a deal to curb its nuclear programme.

Who gets what?

FIGHTS over splitting the loot have gone on for as long as there has been loot to split. In America, those brawls are now part of the remit of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Life is suite

THE 41-storey clock tower at Five Madison Avenue was once the domain of insurance clerks working for Metropolitan Life.