News (#10 October 2020)

Biznews

M&A

Microsoft to acquire Fallout and Skyrim game developer for USD 7.5 billion

Microsoft is set to acquire ZeniMax Media, which is also the owner of the well-known computer game developer Bethesda Softworks, for USD 7.5 billion.

The acquisition affects all ZeniMax Media subsidiaries, including id Software, Arkane, Tango Gameworks and MachineGames, which employ more than 2,300 people.

The agreement must be approved by regulatory authorities.

The agreement is planned to be closed in the second half of the 2021 fiscal year (JanuaryJune next year).

It is stressed that games are the largest and fastest growing type of entertainment in the world the industry where revenue is projected to exceed USD 200 billion in 2021.

Nvidia acquired Arm processor developer for USD 40 billion

On 14 September the American company Nvidia signed an agreement on the acquisition of Arm from Softbank for USD 40 billion. It is a record deal for 2020.

Softbank will receive USD 21.5 billion in the form of Nvidia shares and another USD 12 billion in cash. Softbank will receive another USD 5 billion in the form of shares or in cash for achieving Arms objectives and USD 1.5 billion will be transfered to employees.

Softbank bought Arm for USD 32 billion in 2016.

Following a series of investment failures, including the unsuccessful WeWork deal, the company required additional funds.

By contrast, over the past four years the value of Nvidia stock has increased 10 fold and its capitalization exceeded USD 300 billion.

It is believed that the agreement will strengthen the positions of each of the companies through the exchange of experience and technology and operations in almost all market segments: data centers, computers, smartphones, IoT, graphics, etc.

It is currently planned that the agreement will be approved in about 18 months.

Novus to acquire Billa supermarket chain

Consul Trade House UAB (the sole participant of Novus Ukraine LLC) and Rewe International AG, which is the owner of the supermarket chain operating under the Billa brand in Ukraine, have reached agreement on the acquisition of a 100% stake in the authorized capital of Billa-Ukraine.

Final approval of the agreement by the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine is currently being considered.

Novus and Billa will continue their usual operations to fulfill previously established contractual obligations to partners and contractors so as to maintain business stability. The deals closure and further development plans will be announced later, following the granting of permission by the countrys regulatory authorities.

Billa is an Austrian chain with 35 stores in Ukraine, all located in Kyiv, Kyiv Region and Zhytomyr. It was the first international retailer to enter the Ukrainian market.

In 2014, the stores operated in 16 cities, 9 regions of the country, but in 2017 the company decided to leave the regions and focus on its development in Kyiv and Kyiv Region.

Novus is part of BT Invest, a Lithuanian group, which invests in other sectors of Ukraine under the Stolitsa Group, Retroville and EVT brands.

Novus has been operating on the Ukrainian market since 2009. The chain currently has 46 stores in total.

Competition

Spotify filed claim on non-competitive actions against Apple

Spotify, the music service, has filed a claim on abuse of monopoly position against Apple following the presentation of the Apple One package subscription the previous day, which includes the company competitor Apple Music.

The Apple One package, which was presented on 15 September, offered a subscription plan for all Apple services: Apple Arcade, TV +, access to iCloud and access to Apple Music for USD 15 per month.

Meanwhile, Apple insists that its customers will still be able to find and enjoy alternatives:

Spotify was also available in various subscription packages: Hulu video service, AT&T mobile operator and Samsung (users can link their Spotify account to a Samsung account).

International Monitoring

World Bank suspends publication of Doing Business rating

The World Bank has decided to temporarily suspend publication of the Doing Business rating due to a number of violations related to changes in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports.

It is noted that this data did not correspond to the methodology used to compile the rating.

That is why an independent internal audit will be conducted to verify the process of collecting and analyzing data for the rating. In the event that violations are found, country-specific data will be corrected.

The ratings publication will be resumed following the audit.

The Doing Business rating is an ease of doing business index. It is compiled by the World Bank on the basis of annual data from a particular country to compare the ease of doing business.

Moodys expects G20 countries GDP to fall by 4.6% in 2020 and rise by 5.3% in the next one

In 2020, the fall in real GDP of G20 countries will be 4.6%, and in the next one it is expected to rise by 5.3% according to a forecast by international rating agency Moodys Investors Service.

Although the global economy is recovering, the situation remains volatile given the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysts predict that extreme uncertainty about the further spread of the virus and the pace of economic recovery is likely to constrain long-term investment and consumer decisions.

It is also expected that economic activity will fall this year in all G20 countries except China.

It is projected that GDP growth in developed economies will be 6.5% in total. Following projected growth of 4.9% in 2021, the level of real GDP in the fourth quarter of 2021 will be 1% lower than that as of the end of 2019, before coronavirus.

Moreover, Moodys has revised estimates of GDP changes in 2020 downward for Japan (-6.1%), Italy (-10.8%), Australia (-5.3%), South Korea (-0.8%), Mexico (-10%), Indonesia (-3.9%), Argentina (-12%) after receiving current data for the second quarter.

Trade Policy

USA and EU agreed to reduce duties

The USA and the European Union have signed an agreement on a set of measures to reduce duties that will widen access to USA and EU export markets.

The EU will abolish duties on imports of live and frozen lobsters from the USA. The EU will abolish these tariffs on the basis of the most-favored-nations regime from 1 August 2020 with retrospective effect. These duties will be abolished for five years, and the European Commission will immediately start procedures to ensure that such changes remain permanent.

The USA will reduce their duties on certain products imported from the EU by 50% to an average annual value of USD 160 million, the products include certain culinary semi-finished products, some cut glassware, surface treatment products, rocket fuel, and cigarette lighters.

The US duties will also be reduced on the basis of the most-favored-nation regime from 1 August 2020 with retrospective effect.

Aviation

Airbus presented zero carbon dioxide emission aircraft concept

Airbus has presented three concepts of aircrafts to-be that will not emit carbon dioxide during flights. To achieve this, the company intends to switch to using hydrogen as the main fuel.

The first two aircrafts are similar to existing ones. One of them will run on jet engines and will be able to carry 120-200 passengers for 3,700 km.

It is intended to transport hydrogen in liquid form in a tail behind a partition, which ensures the sealing of the cabin.

The prototype of the second airliner will be the existing regional turboprop aircrafts. Airbus estimates that this type of aircraft will be able to fly a distance of up to 1,800 km and carry up to 100 passengers. The third concept of the flying wing is new to civil aviation and is not currently used for commercial transportation.

It is assumed that the entire fuselage will be a wing, which will accommodate a cabin for 200 passengers and fuel tanks. This concept enables the development of different layouts of the cabin and location of fuel tanks. It is expected that hydrogen aircraft will be put into commercial service from 2035, but it is acknowledged that their use requires significant changes to airport infrastructure.

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