News Archive


Facebook’s Sandberg calls for new policies to boost women’s pay

LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg called on governments and companies to do more to close the gender pay gap on Sunday and said both girls and boys should be encouraged to become leaders from an early age.

“We need to start paying women well and we need the public policy and the corporate policy to get there,” she told the BBC.

“But certainly women applying for jobs at the same rate as men, women running for office at the same rate as men, that’s got to be part of the answer.”

The issue of women earning less than men arose again earlier this month, when the BBC was forced to reveal the pay of its journalists and presenters.

Men earning more than 150,000 pounds ($197,000) a year outnumbered women by two to one, and the broadcaster’s top-ranking man received more than four times the amount of its highest-paid woman.

Sandberg, one of the most influential Silicon Valley executives and the author of the 2013 book “Lean In”, said women undervalued the contribution they could make in business.

“We start telling little girls not to lead at very young ages and we start telling little boys to lead at a very young ages, and that’s a mistake” she told interviewer Kirsty Young on the long-running radio show Desert Island Discs.

“I believe everyone has inside them the ability to lead and we should let people choose that, not based on gender but on who they are and who they want to be.”

Sandberg also discussed the efforts that Facebook was taking to keep the platform and its messaging service WhatsApp from being used to promote and discuss militant attacks.

Speaking about a meeting with British interior minister Amber Rudd, she said the company and the British government were “very aligned in our goals”.

“We want to make sure all of us do our part to stop terrorism, and so our Facebook policies are very clear: there’s absolutely no place for terrorism, hate, calls for violence of any kind,” she said.

Rudd has called on tech companies to do more stop extremists posting content on their platforms and using encrypted messaging services to plan attacks.

“As technology evolves these are complicated conversations, we’re in close communication working through the issues all around the world,” Sandberg said on Sunday.

($1 = 0.7614 pounds)

Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Larry King

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/GAbo_WbRWoc/us-women-pay-facebook-sandberg-idUSKBN1AF0O5

Daimler finance arm expects record year after first-half gains

BERLIN (Reuters) – Daimler’s (DAIGn.DE) finance arm said it was heading for another record year after signing nearly one million new leasing and finance contracts between January and June.

Daimler Financial Services, which handles customer financing and leasing for the German carmaker, expects a significant increase in new business this year and further growth in leasing and finance contracts, backed by expanding sales of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, it said on Sunday.

New business at the division jumped 19 percent in the first six months to 34.7 billion euros ($40.77 billion), with earnings before interest and tax up 15 percent to 1.05 billion, the company said.

The portfolio of globally financed and leased vehicles increased 17 percent to 4.6 million vehicles with a total sales value of 134 billion euros, the Stuttgart-based company said.

The company more than doubled the number of customers worldwide using its mobility services, including Car2Go car sharing to 14.5 million people, it said.

($1 = 0.8512 euros)

Reporting by Andreas Cremer. Editing by Jane Merriman

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/eIFiRqk2U78/us-daimler-financing-idUSKBN1AF0DS

Apple says it is removing VPN services from China App Store

BEIJING (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) says it is removing virtual private network (VPN) services from its app store in China, drawing criticism from VPN service providers, who accuse the U.S. tech giant of bowing to pressure from Beijing cyber regulators.

VPNs allow users to bypass China’s so-called “Great Firewall” aimed at restricting access to overseas sites.

In January, Beijing passed laws seeking to ban all VPNs that are not approved by state regulators. Approved VPNs must use state network infrastructure.

In a statement on Sunday, an Apple spokeswoman confirmed it will remove apps that don’t comply with the law from its China App Store, including services based outside the country.

Beijing has shut down dozens of China-based providers and it has been targeting overseas services as it bids to tighten its control over the internet, especially ahead of the Communist Party congress in August.

While personal VPN providers have been the subject of state-led attacks in the past, this marks the first time Apple has complied with requests to scrub overseas providers from its store, a move that VPN providers say is unnecessarily supportive of China’s heightened censorship regime.

VPN provider ExpressVPN said on Saturday that it had received a notice from Apple that its software would be removed from the China App Store “because it includes content that is illegal in China”.

“We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts,” ExpressVPN said in a statement.

Other major providers, including VyprVPN and StarVPN, confirmed they also received the notice on Saturday from Apple.

“We view access to Internet in China as a human rights issue and I would expect Apple to value human rights over profit,” Sunday Yokubaitis, president of Golden Frog, which oversees VyprVPN told Reuters on Sunday.

Yokubaitis said Golden Frog will file an appeal to Apple over the ban.

China users with billing addresses in other countries will still be able to access VPN apps from other branches of the App Store. A number of VPN apps were still accessible on the China App store on Saturday.

Apple is in the middle of a localization drive in China, and named a new managing director for the region – a new role – this month.

It is also establishing a data center with a local partner in the southwestern province of Guizhou to comply with new Chinese cloud storage regulations.

VPN providers say that while the apps are not available on the store, users are still able to manually install them using VPN support built into Apple’s operating system.

“We are extremely disappointed that Apple has bowed to pressure,” said Yokubaitis. “(It’s been a) disappointing morning but we will fight on.”

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Writing by David Stanway; Editing by Jason Neely and Kim Coghill

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/_eWo-P3h2b8/us-china-apple-vpn-idUSKBN1AE0BQ

VW sale of Ducati, Renk units lacks board support

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) planned sale of motorcycle brand Ducati and transmissions maker Renk has currently no majority backing on the carmaker’s supervisory board, with opponents to asset sales feeling invigorated by the group’s strong results.

Europe’s largest automaker has tasked banks to evaluate options for Ducati and Renk including divesting the two divisions as it aims to streamline operations to help fund a post-dieselgate strategic overhaul.

Volkswagen (VW) has been reviewing its portfolio of assets and brands since announcing in June 2016 a multibillion-euro shift to electric cars and new mobility services as part of its so-called Strategy 2025.

But VW’s labor leaders, occupying half the seats on the 20-member supervisory board which decides on asset sales, resist a sale of Ducati and Renk without compelling financial reasons.

“The employee representatives on Volkswagen’s supervisory board will neither approve a sale of Ducati, nor one of Renk or MAN Diesel Turbo,” a spokesman for VW group’s works council told Reuters late on Saturday.

“Everyone who can read the VW half-year results should know: We don’t need money and our subsidiaries are not up for grabs by bargain hunters.”

Six-month operating profit at VW group jumped 19 percent to 8.9 billion euros ($10.46 billion), the carmaker said on Thursday, as cost cuts and RD improvements at the core namesake brand earned VW a respite from the billions of euros in costs for fines, vehicle refits and compensation related to its dieselgate scandal.

Though Ducati is owned by VW’s luxury brand Audi (NSUG.DE), the VW group’s supervisory board has to approve a possible sale. Audi declined comment.

The billionaire Porsche and Piech families, controlling 52 percent of voting shares in VW and holding four supervisory board seats, do not support selling Ducati or Renk, two sources at VW group said.

A spokesman for Porsche SE (PSHG_p.DE), the family’s holding company, declined comment.

With 20 percent of voting rights in VW, Lower Saxony, where the carmaker employs more than 100,000 staff at six plants, can veto decisions such as factory closures.

Holding two board seats, Lower Saxony traditionally teams up with VW’s worker representatives for the sake of protecting jobs and projects. A spokeswoman declined comment when asked whether the state government would back a sale of Ducati or other assets.

“The management board has not even asked the supervisory board of Volkswagen where such sales have to be ratified for its approval,” the works council spokesman said. “Therefore we advise all supposedly interested parties: Save your time to check any books. A sale will not happen.”

Five bidders are shortlisted to buy Ducati, including Italy’s Benetton family, with offers received valuing the brand at 1.3 billion-1.5 billion euros, a source said on Saturday.

A third source at VW said that given strong union opposition, VW is now reviewing its plan to sell Ducati as it doesn’t want to risk working with labor on implementing a hard-fought turnaround plan for the VW brand, seen as crucial by investors.

VW finance chief Frank Witter, speaking on Thursday’s earnings call, declined any comment on “speculation” surrounding VW’s asset sales plans.

($1 = 0.8512 euros)

Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by James Dalgleish

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/KBbabb8fqfE/us-volkswagen-ducati-idUSKBN1AE0S9

Benetton family in shortlist to buy Ducati: source

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Benetton family is among five bidders shortlisted to buy Italian motorcycle brand Ducati, which is being sold by Germany’s Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), a source close to the matter said on Saturday.

The finalists will be given access to the company’s books after the summer, the source said, adding that the offers received valued Ducati at 1.3 billion-1.5 billion euros ($1.5 billion-$1.8 billion).

Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi, which is the owner of Ducati, declined to comment.

Earlier on Saturday, two Italian newspapers said that besides the Benetton family’s investment vehicle, Edizione Holding, the shortlist included U.S. automotive firm Polaris Industries (PII.N) and private equity funds such as Ducati’s previous owner Investindustrial, France’s PAI and Bain Capital.

Investindustrial declined to comment. Polaris, PAI and Bain could not immediately be reached for comment.

The list of initial bidders for Ducati also included two Indian motorbike firms, Eicher Motors (EICH.NS) and Bajaj Auto (BAJA.NS), as well as private equity funds CVC Capital Parners and Advent, sources have previously said.

Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, is reviewing several assets in a bid to move beyond the emissions scandal that has left it facing billions of dollars in fines and settlements.

A successful deal for Ducati, which had revenue of 731 million euros last year, would show that Volkswagen boss Matthias Mueller is serious about reversing its quest for size.

($1 = 0.8512 euros)

Reporting by Paola Arosio in Milan; additional reporting by Andreas Cremer in Berlin and Massimo Gaia in Milan; writing by Agnieszka Flak; editing by David Clarke

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/c_iwAGe-Cak/us-volkswagen-ducati-sale-idUSKBN1AE0LX

Apple is removing VPN services from China App Store: providers

BEIJING (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is removing virtual private network (VPN) services from its app store in China, VPN service providers said on Saturday, accusing the U.S. tech giant of bowing to pressure from Beijing to comply with stringent cyberspace regulations.

VPNs allow users to bypass China’s so-called “Great Firewall” aimed at restricting access to overseas sites.

Beijing has shut down dozens of China-based providers and it has been targeting overseas services as it bids to tighten its control over the internet, especially ahead of the Communist Party congress in August.

VPN provider ExpressVPN said on Saturday that it had received a notice from Apple that its software would be removed from the China App Store “because it includes content that is illegal in China”.

“We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts,” ExpressVPN said in a statement.

Another provider, StarVPN, said via its Twitter account on Saturday that it had also received the notice from Apple.

Apple declined to comment on the issue when contacted by Reuters on Saturday.

China users with billing addresses in other countries will still be able to access VPN apps from other branches of the App Store. A number of VPN apps were still accessible on the China App store on Saturday.

Apple is in the middle of a localization drive in China, and named a new managing director for the region – a new role – this month.

It is also establishing a data center with a local partner in the southwestern province of Guizhou to comply with new Chinese cloud storage regulations.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; writing by David Stanway; editing by Jason Neely

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/_eWo-P3h2b8/us-china-apple-vpn-idUSKBN1AE0BQ

Tesla’s Musk hands over first Model 3 electric cars to early buyers

FREMONT, Calif. (Reuters) – Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Friday the Model 3 had over half a million advance reservations as he handed over the first 30 to employee buyers, setting the stage for the biggest test yet of the company’s strategy to become a profitable, mass market electric car maker.

Outside Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, Musk showed off the $35,000 base vehicle with a range of 220 miles (350 km) on a charge that marks a departure from the company’s earlier luxury electric cars.

Hours before the event, Musk acknowledged it would be “quite a challenge” to build the car during the early days of production.

“We’re going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell,” Musk told journalists.

The over half a million reservations are up from about 373,000 disclosed in April 2016. Customers pay $1,000 refundable deposits for the car, which is eligible for tax credits. Any new buyers would likely not receive their car until the end of 2018, Musk said.

A longer-range version of the car is priced at $44,000 and will drive 310 miles (500 km) on a single charge. The cars feature a streamlined dashboard devoid of buttons or knobs, with a 15-inch touchstream display to the right of the driver.

Tesla faces major hurdles living up to the Model 3 hype. The 500,000 vehicles Tesla vows to produce next year are nearly six times its 2016 production.

Were Tesla to produce, and sell 500,000 cars per year, the company would likely outsell the BMW (BMWG.DE), Mercedes, or Lexus brands in the United States.

Production delays and quality issues marred the launches of Tesla’s Model S and Model X vehicles, and the company blamed production problems for a shortfall during the second quarter of this year. Musk has said a simpler Model 3 design will greatly reduce potential assembly-line problems.

Tesla has burned through over $2 billion in cash so far this year ahead of the launch. A troubled Model 3 launch could heighten the risks for the company, while a steady delivery of Model 3s could generate a stream of cash that would allow Tesla to avoid going again to the capital markets to fund its operations.

Tesla’s share price has surged 54 percent since January in anticipation of the Model 3 launch, and Tesla’s pricey valuation now exceeds that of traditional rivals like General Motors Co (GM.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N).

Until now, Tesla has operated as a niche producer of luxury electric vehicles, with a charismatic, showman CEO who regularly interacts with fans on his Twitter account. Now loss-making Tesla is trying to move into a different league, building vehicles in high volume for customers able to pay only a few thousand dollars more than the average price of a conventional car or truck sold in the United States.

The Model 3 is part of Musk’s broader plan to build a clean energy and transportation company that offers electric semi trucks, rooftop solar energy systems and large-scale battery storage systems.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Joe White and Lisa Shumaker

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/gXvVNAiqcDo/us-tesla-model-idUSKBN1AE04G

Wells Fargo cuts 69 executive jobs: spokesman

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo Co (WFC.N) said on Friday it is cutting 69 executive jobs at its retail unit, as part of a restructuring in the division.

Some of the executives positions will retire with full benefits while others may find positions elsewhere within the bank, said Wells Fargo spokesman Paul Gomez.

Some of the executives may leave the bank, Gomez added.

“We have just completed the process of consolidating the Regional President and Area President roles into a new position, Region Bank President,” Mary Mack, senior executive vice president for community banking, said in an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The unit will have 91 regional and area presidents as part of the rejig.

News of the scandal-hit lender cutting senior executive jobs was earlier reported by Bloomberg. bloom.bg/2v59m5h

Wells Fargo has been engulfed in scandal since September, when it reached a $190 million settlement with regulators over complaints that its retail banking staff had opened as many as 2.1 million unauthorized client accounts.

Wells Fargo shares ended down 2.6 percent on Friday.

Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru and Dan Freed in New York; Editing by Kim Coghill

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/_kDcPTwyQe8/us-wells-fargo-jobs-idUSKBN1AE02H

Sprint seeks alternatives to a merger with T-Mobile: sources

(Reuters) – Sprint Corp (S.N) has proposed a merger with Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O) as the wireless carrier seeks an alternative to a deal with T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) that has so far not come to fruition, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), which controls Sprint, proposed a complex transaction that would create a new company and be controlled by SoftBank, the sources said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. The Wall Street Journal first reported the discussions on Friday.

There is no guarantee Charter would be interested in a tie-up with Sprint, the sources said. Bloomberg reported Friday Charter had rebuffed Sprint’s merger proposal.

Charter’s market capitalization, at $94.6 billion, is much larger than Sprint, which closed trading valued at $32.8 billion on Friday. Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) also expressed interest in a takeover of Charter earlier this year, sources have said.

If Charter were to agree to a merger with Sprint, it would need the blessing of No. 1 U.S. cable provider Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O). Charter and Comcast announced an agreement in May that bars either company from entering into a material transaction in wireless for a year without the other’s consent.

Sprint and Comcast declined to comment while Charter, SoftBank and T-Mobile did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sprint shares rose 5.8 percent in after-market trading while Charter shares were marginally up.

Sprint has been looking at solutions to further its turnaround, strengthen its financial health and better compete in the fierce U.S. wireless industry.

It held talks this month about receiving billions in funding from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) and John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp (FWONA.O), Reuters previously reported, but they have not resulted in a deal.

Sprint had been in a two-month period of exclusive negotiations with Charter and Comcast over a potential wireless partnership that had put Sprint’s merger talks with T-Mobile US on hold. That exclusivity period has ended but talks with the cable companies continue, according to the sources.

Despite regulatory hurdles, investors have long expected a deal between T-Mobile and Sprint, the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless service providers, anticipating cost cuts and other synergies.

T-Mobile appears to be in no rush to pursue a merger although it has acknowledged interest in speaking to Sprint. T-Mobile has been gaining share from larger competitors ATT Inc (T.N) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) in a saturated U.S. wireless market through network improvements and lower prices.

additional reporting by Ismail Shakil and Gaurika Juneja in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Bill Trott

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/LONosKIRocA/us-charter-commns-m-a-sprint-corp-idUSKBN1AD2SR