Google has agreed to pay the internal revenue agency €306 million in taxes, sources said Thursday. The Mountain View-based company has been under investigation by Milan prosecutors for the tax years 2009-2013, one of several European probes looking into the tax practices of international companies. A Google spokesman said the deal "resolved without disputes investigations relating to the period between 2002 and 2015". He said "in addition to the taxes already paid in Italy for those years, Google will pay another 306 million euros." Of these, "over 303 million are attributed to Google Italy and less than three million to Google Ireland." The spokesman said Google "confirms its commitment towards Italy and will continue to help the country's online ecosystem grow".
Shareholders in Swiss pesticide and seed giant Syngenta have accepted the company’s takeover by state-owned ChemChina, the companies said Friday, which would be the biggest overseas acquisition by a Chinese firm. The proposed merger is part of a broader wave of consolidation in the agro-chemicals sector that has worried environmental activists and farmers. At the closing date for the offer on May 4, shareholders holding around 80.7 percent of the company’s stock had accepted the US$43-billion takeover, according to a preliminary count. Subject to confirmation of the results, “the Minimum Acceptance Rate condition of 67 percent of issued Syngenta shares has been met”, they said in a statement.
Some economists expect the Fed to resume its plan of increasing key interest rates at a gradual pace if the US economy outperforms itself this year. Do you share this point of view? I do not think the economy really needs to outperform to make the Federal Reserve raise rates. If the economy evolves as expected, the Fed will be hiking interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee feels that the economy is performing well and that monetary policy needs to be in a normal position. Currently, monetary policy in the US is accommodative, but with the economy close to normal, the FOMC believes that policy should be close to normal too.
Facebook had another strong quarter, beating estimates to start 2017. Revenue in the first quarter climbed 49% to $8 billion, which was significantly higher than most analysts expected, and net income was $3 billion or $1.04 per share, compared with consensus estimates of just 87 cents. It earned that from 1.94 billion users, up from 1.86 billion last quarter, growing at a faster 4.3% compared to 3.91% last quarter. Facebook said in its last quarterly update that it expects to see its advertising growth rate "come down meaningfully" in 2017 as it stops adding more advertising to the news feed.
Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has become Deutsche Bank AG's largest shareholder after increasing its stake in the German lender to almost 10%, according to a filing made by asset manager C-Quadrat and other entities. It took HNA's stake to 9.92%, following an initial stake of 4.76%, which it had earlier secured through C-Quadrat. The acquisition of a significant stake in a pillar of European finance is another example of China's growing global influence. Last year, Chinese firms announced around $220 billion worth of deals for foreign companies, far more than any previous year. HNA's increased stake in Deutsche Bank makes it the lender's largest shareholder, ahead of members of Qatar's royal family and U.S. money manager BlackRock, according to public filings.
EFG International completed the integration of Ticino's private bank BSI, the bank it bought last year, according to a statement today. With the transaction, BSI (Europe) was renamed into EFG Bank (Luxembourg). The company henceforth will use the EFG brand only. In Switzerland, almost all branches and offices have already been rebranded with the new logo. The rebranding of global locations will follow regional timelines.
Carl-Michael Herlöfsson, founder and CTO of Moodelizer, explains in this interview the new technology his company developed and how it can be applied to more products. Here is a tutorial to understand how the app works. At the moment you have two products, a studio version directed to professionals besides the app? «There is a free version of the studio with limited themes, but besides that it’s a subscription service. If you work with Final Cut or other products you export your edits and then get a customized soundtrack that you can insert into the timeline of your editing software. It’s a deceivingly simple interface that allows to do very powerful things.
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