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The legal business: The default choice

Get me my lawyer! RARE is the finance minister of a developing country who does not have Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton on speed-dial.

Tesco’s crisis: A hard rain

Coming to a high street near you OF ALL the dark days that Tesco has seen recently, September 22nd was the blackest.

Tesco’s accounting problems: Not so funny

IT IS too soon to say whether the accounting misstatement at Tesco was cock-up or conspiracy. The source of the discrepancy is already clear, however, and it is as old as book-keeping itself: the premature recognition of revenue.Suppliers make payments to supermarkets that meet certain sales targets for their products, run promotions or place the goods in eye-catching places, such as at the end of aisles.

Schumpeter: The look of a leader

IN GORILLA society, power belongs to silverback males. These splendid creatures have numerous status markers besides their back hair: they are bigger than the rest of their band, strike space-filling postures, produce deeper sounds, thump their chests lustily and, in general, exude an air of physical fitness.

Samsung: Waiting in the wings

“CHANGE everything except your wife and children.” Thus spoke Lee Kun-hee, the boss of Samsung, two decades ago at an emergency meeting with his senior managers.

Pharmaceuticals: Priceless pills

IN THE late 1800s a New York doctor noticed that getting an infection after surgery helped some cancer patients.

Oracle’s boss resigns: Transition, not succession

Larry has not left the building NOTHING has changed, except for the titles. That was the word from Oracle after Larry Ellison said on September 18th that he was resigning as chief executive.

Gambling in Japan: Balls in the air

Zen and the art of pachinko THE gaudy pachinko parlours that disfigure many a Japanese high street are an acquired taste.

Sony’s woes: Pouring cold water

Hirai under pressure THIS month the chief executive of Sony, Kazuo Hirai, gamely subjected himself to the “ice-bucket challenge”—to raise money to fight a little-known disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—and was duly drenched in freezing water, following the examples of assorted technology titans and celebrities.

Schumpeter: Entrepreneurs anonymous

SEVEN years ago Joe Jones (not his real name) left his job with a big NASDAQ-listed company to strike out on his own.

Huawei: The great disrupter’s new targets

“THE last time there were so many people down by here, the Rolling Stones were in town.” So declared one of those attending an unusual gathering this week in a vast auditorium along the shores of Shanghai’s Huangpu River.

Energy in Europe: The gasman cutteth

NAPOLEON and Hitler both succumbed to the bitter Russian winter in their efforts at territorial expansion in Europe.

Companies and geopolitical risk: Profits in a time of war

ISLAMIC STATE may be a geopolitical threat, but it has not yet posed much of a danger to business. A day’s drive from the fighting, in Kurdish-run Iraq, three Western oil firms, Genel Energy, DNO and Gulf Keystone, continue to pump out crude that is piped or sent by road to Turkey.

Brewery mergers: Foamy war

THE world’s biggest brewer, AB InBev (ABI), is also the most frugal. There are no company cars for senior executives.

Aircraft cabins: Piketty Airways

Back in the days when we had elbow-room TWO economy-class passengers recently caused a ruckus on a flight between Miami and Paris, after one annexed the sliver of territory they shared by reclining his seat.

Air France: Strikers against reality

THE good news is that Air France has an idea for getting back into the black: building up Transavia, the low-cost, short-haul carrier it shares with its partner, the Dutch flag-carrier, KLM.

Netflix expands in Europe: An American in Paris

A transatlantic tryst with a happy ending AMERICAN internet giants such as Google and Amazon are the target of much criticism in Europe these days, accused of avoiding taxes, invading privacy and competing unfairly with local firms.

Car rentals: Hire purpose

BOOTLEGGERS and bank-robbers were among the first to use car-hire firms when they got going in the 1920s.

Swiss watches and the Apple Watch: It’s not about time

WHEN cheap, accurate quartz watches started pouring out of Asia in the 1970s, many Swiss watchmakers went bust.

Share buy-backs: The repurchase revolution

IN THE decade before America’s housing bubble burst, Home Depot, an American home-improvement chain, spent heavily on building new shops to meet rampant demand for everything from taps to timber.