Morning Briefing Global Edition

Legislating Google

Generic drug maker Stada faces turbulent times after a boardroom coup led by an activist investor ousted the supervisory board chairman, Martin Abend. Investor Active Ownership Capital managed to boot four other board members too but didn’t get to name their replacements, ensuring more infighting. That’s kind of like having your cake and not getting to eat it too.

 

Several times a week, representatives from Google like to visit the office of E.U. Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger in Brussels. The Silicon valley lobbyists want the European Commission to abandon its plan to give authors and artists exclusive rights to their digital content for 20 years, Handelsblatt has learned. Such a move could cost Google billions. But taking on Google, a virtual monopoly in Europe, is like taking on the post office, Deutsche Bahn or the airlines. Soon, a search for European art or literature could yield zero results.

 

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support is dwindling, and she may accelerate plans to seek a fourth term, according to daily Bild. Her likely challenger, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, is already on the warpath, accusing Merkel of miscalculating on the refugee issue in a weekend interview. Merkel, who may make her campaign official in December, didn’t take Gabriel’s bait. One reason may be the SPD’s own miserable standing, at just 22 percent of the German public voters. Why fire at a sinking ship?

 

Gabriel may be on a roll, but we don’t know where it will end. On Sunday, he pronounced free trade talks between Europe and the U.S. – which Merkel still backs – as “de facto’’ dead. He originally supported the trade deal, but has flip-flopped amid growing opposition in Germany. Given his track record, however, his position, like the trade deal he ostensibly now opposes, could suddenly come back to life.

 

Shareholders at Hapag-Lloyd approved the shipping firm’s merger with the United Arab Shipping Company, hoping the tie-up will help tow it out of the Bermuda Triangle of debt. But some stakeholders pointed out United Arab’s $201 million loss this year. That could be like grasping at a lifeline made out of cement.

 

The only thing running on time at Europe’s largest railway operator is its strike schedule. Unions are digging in ahead of the next round of pay talks at Deutsche Bahn, demanding a 4 percent raise. If CEO Rüdiger Grube, already bruised from a €1.3 billion loss last year and nationwide scorn over late trains, can’t find a way off the collision course, the next point of heated debate will be over his own contract.

 

Image of the Day

dinosaur park_handelsblatt
Visitors explore a new dinosaur-themed open-air museum in Denkendorf, Bavaria. Source: Handelsblatt
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