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Saudi Aramco’s IPO is the biggest ever

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Editor’s note: On December 5th, soon after this article was published, Saudi Aramco said its IPO had raised $25.6bn, valuing the company at $1.7trn THE ASPIRATION was clear. First, list a portion of Saudi Aramco, a state-owned oil giant that is the world’s most profitable company. Then use the windfall to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy. […]

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The agonising dilemma of Spanish firms in Latin America

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THIS IS A year of poignant anniversaries in Spain’s relationship with Latin America. Exactly 500 years ago Hernán Cortés launched his conquest of Mexico. In 1939 Mexico’s left-wing president, Lázaro Cárdenas, opened the door to Spaniards fleeing fascism at the end of the civil war. It might have been a celebratory year for Spanish business, […]

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Mengniu Dairy gulps down two Australian milk producers

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THIS AUGUST Andrew Cohen, boss of Bellamy’s Organic, an Australian maker of infant formula, enthused to investors about having a brand “that’s loved in China”. So loved, in fact, that a few weeks later Mengniu Dairy, China’s second-biggest producer of milk products, said it wanted to buy Bellamy’s for A$1.5bn ($1bn). On December 5th its […]

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SMB Winning pays $14bn for rights to Guinea’s iron mountain

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Dec 7th 2019 DAKAR WHEN PROSPECTORS discovered a gargantuan deposit of iron ore in the misty Simandou mountains 17 years ago, many Guineans hoped it would transform their impoverished country. The remote location makes its estimated 2.4bn tonnes of iron ore—valued at perhaps $230bn—hard to mine. Gyrating commodity prices scared off investment. So did lurid […]

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Saudi Aramco’s IPO will be the biggest ever

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THE ASPIRATION was clear. First, list a portion of Saudi Aramco, a state-owned oil giant that is the world’s most profitable company. Then use the windfall to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy. Muhammad bin Salman, its crown prince, expected investors to swoon over the company’s rich reserves, low costs and $111bn in annual net income. “If […]

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Alphabet turns a Page and a Brin

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“GOOGLE IS NOT a conventional company,” declared Sergey Brin and Larry Page as they took their firm public in 2004. “We do not intend to become one.” On December 3rd they bowed out as, respectively, president and chief executive of Alphabet, Google’s parent and the world’s fourth-biggest listed firm. Their creation remains unconventional in some […]

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Davos Reset: New Manifesto Issued for World Economic Forum’s 50th Anniversary, Updating the Forum’s Guiding Document for the Modern Era

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What is the purpose of a business? Is it to generate wealth? To further social good? To deliver for shareholders? That question seemed to echo throughout 2019: Leading U.S. presidential candidates took aim at big tech; hit movies like Parasite and Hustlers addressed inequality. Now, one of the world’s top economic forums has issued its […]

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Let them eat Christmas cake

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EVERYONE FEELS like winding down in December. Even if you do not celebrate Christmas, the New Year is approaching and most people take a few days’ break. In many workplaces this feeling of “mission accomplished” is accompanied by an established tradition: the office party. In boom times these can be truly lavish affairs. Robbie Williams […]

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Supplying clean power is easier than storing it

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IT SOUNDS SIMPLE: lift heavy blocks with a crane, then capture the power generated from dropping them. This is not an experiment designed by a ten-year-old, but the premise of Energy Vault, which has raised $110m from SoftBank, a big Japanese tech investor. The idea has competition. A cluster of billionaires including Bill Gates, Jack […]