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Lee Jae-yong dodges arrest on charges of bribery

THE deal which did most to secure Lee Jae-yong’s control over South Korea’s biggest conglomerate threatened this week to ruin him.

A big fine for Rolls-Royce is not its only worry

FOR those who still associate Rolls-Royce with its past as a posh carmaker, its home on a scruffy industrial estate comes as a shock.

Old problems await a new boss at Tata

IT WAS a predictable end to a corporate saga which has been anything but prosaic. On January 12th Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the head of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), became the boss of Tata Sons, its parent and India’s largest company.

Indian outsourcing specialists must reboot their strategies

COMPUTERS slow as they age, and before long must be replaced by newer models. Something similar is true of the business models of Indian IT firms.

American regulators investigate Fiat Chrysler for emissions cheating

An exhausting process THE priorities of America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will doubtless change under Donald Trump.

A merger is the latest sign of Big Tobacco’s resilience

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO (BAT) announced on January 17th a final deal to buy Reynolds American for $49bn.

Businesses can and will adapt to the age of populism

AS THEY slid down the streets of Davos this week, many executives will have felt a question gnawing in their guts.

A continental merger between Luxottica and Essilor fits a pattern

An eye-catching opportunity IT MAY be an exaggeration to talk of French firms “colonising” corporate Italy.

A rush to patent the blockchain is a sign of the technology’s promise

FOR fans of bitcoin, a digital currency, the year got off to a volatile start. On January 5th one bitcoin changed hands for nearly $1,150—almost as much as the record set three years ago.

A handful of startups are launching ride-hailing for children

“HELICOPTER parent” may sound like an insult, but given the chance, most parents would probably opt for the help of a chopper to zoom little ones between school, football practice and piano lessons.

Africa’s largest iron-ore deposit has tainted all who have touched it

Now everyone sees red ON THE flanks of the Simandou mountains in south-eastern Guinea live remote colonies of West African chimpanzees.

A controversial transaction sits at the heart of Liberty Media’s takeover of Formula One

ON JANUARY 17th shareholders of Liberty Media Corporation, an American firm controlled by John Malone, a billionaire, are expected to approve a transaction that many hail as the sports deal of the decade.

America leaves foreign firms out in the cold

WHICH is it? The home of free speech, the rule of law and the rich world’s most dynamic economy? Or a land of social decay, septic politics and the rich world’s worst roads and schools?

Adidas’s high-tech factory brings production back to Germany

Impossible is nothing BEHIND closed doors in the Bavarian town of Ansbach a new factory is taking shape.

Ford Motors courts Donald Trump by scrapping a planned plant in Mexico

IT WAS in the spring of 2016 that Donald Trump singled out Ford Motors, calling its plans to build a plant in Mexico an “absolute disgrace” and promising it would not happen on his watch.

Toshiba admits to a ruinous overpayment for an American nuclear firm

Ritual contrition THE probe in 2015 into one of Japan’s largest-ever accounting scandals, at Toshiba, an electronics and nuclear-power conglomerate that has been the epitome of the country’s engineering prowess, concluded that number-fiddling at the firm was “systemic”.

The three Rs behind global banks’ recovery

IN THE Bible, seven years of feast were followed by seven years of famine. For banks there have been ten lean years.

Nestlé looks for ways to boost stale growth as consumers snub unhealthy food

LARGE food companies have long been among the world’s most solid, with reassuringly consistent returns even in hard times.

A new industry has sprung up selling “indoor-location” services to retailers

“LOOK up there,” says Edward Armishaw of Walkbase, a Finnish retail-analytics firm, as he points to a small white box above a column clad in mirrors.

The Christmas spending bump flattens

The holiday season’s hold on Americans is getting weaker. In 1994, according to the Census Bureau, retailers earned $82bn (in 2015 dollars) more in sales during November and December than they would have without the seasonal effect of the holidays.