Tag Archives: Backs

EU backs duties on imports of e-bikes from China: EU sources
December 18, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU governments voted on Tuesday to impose duties on Chinese electric bicycles to curb cheap imports that European producers say benefit from unfair subsidies and are flooding the market, EU sources familiar with the case said.

The European Commission, which is investigating on behalf of the 28 EU members, has proposed that definitive or final tariffs of between 18.8 and 79.3 percent should apply for all e-bikes coming from China.

The anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties are the latest in a series of EU measures against Chinese exports ranging from solar panels to steel, which have sparked strong words from Beijing.

Unlike the United States, the European Union has not launched a trade war against China, but it shares U.S. concerns about forced technology transfers and Chinese state subsidies.

The electric bicycle imports are already subject to the duties set on a provisional basis in July. Definitive duties typically apply for five years.

Taiwan’s Giant, one of the world’s largest bicyclemakers, which has factories in China as well as in the Netherlands, would be subject to a rate of 24.8 percent.

The Commission found Chinese exports of e-bikes to the European Union more than tripled from 2014 until September 2017. Their market share rose to 35 percent, while their average prices fell by 11 percent.

It has also said Chinese producers benefit from controlled aluminum prices as well as advantageous financing and land rights conditions and tax breaks.

EU producers include Dutch groups Accell and Gazelle, Romania’s Eurosport DHS and Germany’s Derby Cycle Holding.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Robin Emmott

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ISS sides against two Tesla directors, backs split of Musk's roles
May 19, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

BOSTON (Reuters) – Proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended on Friday that investors vote against Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) directors Antonio Gracias and James Murdoch, increasing pressure on the car maker over their roles on its board.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla charging station is seen in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S. on September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

ISS also backed two shareholder proposals to be voted on at the company’s annual meeting set for June 5, including one that would require it to separate the current chairman and CEO roles of founder Elon Musk.

“The complexity of large-scale manufacturing and the challenges of successfully commercializing new technologies and new manufacturing and marketing techniques suggest that shareholders would be better served by having Musk focus on running the company, and allowing an independent director to run the board,” according to a copy of ISS’ recommendations seen by Reuters.

The recommendations by the top proxy adviser echo those made earlier this week by rival Glass Lewis, although ISS did side with Tesla and recommend investors vote for Musk’s brother and current director Kimbal Musk.

Union-affiliated activist CtW Investment Group has criticized the three Tesla directors up for election this year as being too close to Elon Musk or unqualified.

In its report, ISS wrote that Gracias, CEO of Valor Management Corp, is not sufficiently independent for key board committees. It also cited concerns regarding the lack of performance-based elements in Tesla’s pay plan in recommending the vote against Gracias, a compensation committee member.

ISS wrote that Murdoch is “overboarded” since he serves as the CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O) and on other boards.

A Tesla director not up for election this year because of the board’s staggered election schedule is Steve Jurvetson. He has been on leave from Tesla’s board since November when he also resigned from venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) amid an internal DFJ probe into sexual harassment allegations made against him, which he denied.

ISS wrote Tesla’s proxy notes Jurvetson’s leave but not the background, and said that Tesla “shareholders should expect a greater degree of transparency from the company as to the reason he remains on leave” and about his future status.

Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Facebook backs U.S. regulation of internet political ads
April 6, 2018 6:17 pm|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Friday endorsed U.S. legislation to regulate political ads across the internet, a concession to lawmakers days before he is scheduled to testify in two U.S. congressional hearings.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

Zuckerberg also said Facebook would begin requiring people who want to run ads on the social network addressing political issues to verify their identity and location. That expands an earlier plan to require such verification for ads directly about elections.

“Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform, and that’s why we support the Honest Ads Act,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.

That legislation was introduced last October to counter concerns about foreign nationals using social media to influence American politics, an issue being looked at as part of an investigation into possible Russian meddling during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Facebook disclosed in September that Russians under fake names had used the social network to try to influence U.S. voters in the months before and after the 2016 election, writing about inflammatory subjects, setting up events and buying ads.

In February, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies with interfering in the election by sowing discord on social media.

The legislation would expand existing election law covering television and radio outlets to apply to paid internet and digital advertisements on platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

Facebook had previously stopped short of backing the legislation, saying it wanted to work with lawmakers further and announcing attempts at self-regulation.

Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear on Tuesday before a joint hearing of two U.S. Senate committees, and on Wednesday before a U.S. House committee.

Under the Honest Ads Act, digital platforms with at least 50 million monthly views would need to maintain a public file of all electioneering communications purchased by anyone spending more than $ 500.

Zuckerberg said on Friday that he also wanted to shed more light on “issue ads,” or ads that discuss a political subject but do not directly relate to an election or a candidacy.

Issue ads are frequently run by interest groups, lobbying organizations and wealthy individuals who want to influence legislation or have an indirect impact on an election.

Every advertiser who wants to run an issue ad will need to confirm their identity and location, Zuckerberg wrote.

Reporting by David Ingram in San Francisco and Dustin Volz in Washington; Editing by Bill Rigby

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Immelt Backs Out of Chaotic Uber CEO Search
August 27, 2017 5:55 pm|Comments (0)

Uber made it easy to catch a ride, but the company sure can’t catch a break.

Outgoing GE CEO Jeff Immelt, considered a frontrunner to replace founder Travis Kalanick as CEO, announced on Twitter this morning that he will no longer seek the position.

Uber’s board of directors was expected to vote on a new CEO for the stumbling giant today, and Immelt was the favorite as recently as last night. But a report from Recode’s Kara Swisher also suggested that the board was courting a prospect who has already rebuffed them – Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman.

Whitman, according to Recode, has been the preferred choice of Benchmark Capital. The venture capital fund has in recent weeks been trying to wrest power from founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick. Kalanick retains his own board seat, and Benchmark claims he also sought to improperly stack the board with loyalists on his way out of the top job.

Swisher’s reporting seems to uphold Benchmark’s claims that Kalanick is undermining the CEO search process. Kalanick apparently preferred Immelt to succeed him, but others – specifically, Benchmark – saw Immelt as too accommodating to Kalanick, who reportedly has said he wants to retain influence and eventually return to the CEO role.

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That could have continued the culture and PR issues that have bedeviled Uber for the better part of a year now, potentially threatening an eventual IPO. To try and cut off Kalanick, Swisher says Benchmark and others have been aggressively courting Whitman, despite her past declarations that she wasn’t interested in the job. Enticements include revamping the makeup of the board itself, which one source close to Whitman said “needs a massive overhaul.”

But the big roadblock to Whitman accepting any offer has been Kalanick himself, whose hard-driving style both grew his brainchild into a colossus, and left it with core weaknesses. One source told Swisher that Whitman is unlikely to accept the CEO job with Kalanick still involved, and he’s unlikely to entirely cede power.

Immelt’s surprise announcement reshuffles the deck, though. It may mean Whitman will get what she wants, or it may indicate the board is going an entirely different direction – at least one still-unknown candidate is also in the running.

A better chance for Whitman, though, is good news for Uber investors. While Immelt would have brought stable leadership, Whitman has a much more solid track record in the tech sector and as an innovator. Her hiring would also send a clearer public message about the company’s response to the litany of sex scandals that have made up a sizable portion of its woes.

The board is expected to announce its decision to employees as soon as mid-week.

Update: This piece has been updated in light of Immelt’s announcement.

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Former Vodafone boss backs India’s music-streaming service Saavn as it hits 18M users
October 28, 2015 1:00 pm|Comments (0)

Saavn-Logo

Mumbai-based music-streaming service Saavn announced Thursday that former Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin has joined as an investor and strategic advisor.

The news comes less than three months after the company announced $ 100 million in fresh funding. At the time, it said it was adding one million new users per month, with 14 million in total.

As of today, that number has grown to 18 million monthly active users, which it says represents a tenfold increase in daily active users in India since last year.

Beyond that, it’s claiming more than 20 million songs (over 250 million streams per month) and a global team of 145 people across five offices.

“Music streaming is a core app on today’s smartphones, and Saavn is superbly positioned to grow rapidly in the fast expanding smartphone market in India,” Sarin said in a statement.

“As an innovative and nimble music-streaming company, at the heart of one of the world’s most valuable markets, Saavn hits all the right notes,” he added.

Meanwhile, the company’s cofounder and chief executive, Rishi Malhotra, said that over 90 percent of the service’s usage is driven by smartphones, and that it plans to “work more deeply with carriers in India and additional territories” in the coming months.

Sarin’s investment amount was not disclosed.

The company’s most recent series C round in July was led by New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management, and at the time it said that it expects to hit 20 million users by the end of the year.

But while the service may be the market leader on its home turf in India, it certainly has its work cut out if it hopes to expand globally — an area in which Sarin’s expertise will no doubt help. That said, the company did not make any mention of expansion plans today.

In general, the music-streaming space has been busy.

Earlier this week, we reported that Deezer is planning an IPO later this year as the battle with rivals Spotify and Apple Music heats up. And Google Play Music continues to expand with its official entry into Japan a few weeks ago.

Microsoft’s Groove Music just announced support on Sonos speakers, and Spotify hasn’t managed to keep out of headlines either: On Wednesday it launched its new “Mix Mates” playlist generator to help friends find music they share in common. (We also heard rumors that Spotify will be supported on Google’s upcoming second-generation Chromecast.)

The announcements from Saavn today are encouraging, but it’s only just the beginning of the global music-streaming wars — and versus many of the other big players, its user numbers are still relatively low.

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