November 28, 2017 / 11:56 AM / 16 days ago

Tuesday Morning Briefing

SoftBank offers to buy Uber shares at a 30 percent discount, Trump’s drive to overhaul the tax code heads towards a new drama in the Senate and the fight for control of the U.S.’ consumer watchdog agency intensifies.

Ballerinas perform as U.S. First Lady Melania Trump begins a tour of the holiday decorations with reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Uber

Japan’s SoftBank is offering to purchase shares of Uber at a valuation of $48 billion, a 30 percent discount to its most recent valuation of $68.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter said. The investment, which was approved by the Uber board in October, would also trigger a string of governance changes at Uber that would limit some early shareholders’ voting power, expand the board from 11 to 17 directors and cut the influence of former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick. 

Breakingviews: Uber backers face head-on collision with greed  

Video: Uber at a 30 percent discount  

United States

President Donald Trump’s drive to overhaul the U.S. tax code headed toward a new drama in the Senate, where a pair of Republican lawmakers demanded changes to the party’s tax bill in exchange for their help in moving the measure forward.  

The fight for control of the U.S. consumer watchdog agency intensified as Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s pick to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, imposed a hiring freeze and halted any new regulations.  

Trump said there was a “Pocahontas” in the Congress during a meeting with Native American World War Two veterans in an apparent derogatory reference to Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  

Markets

European shares opened slightly higher as the Bank of England deemed that UK lenders could deal with a “disorderly” Brexit, while the dollar held steady ahead of a confirmation hearing for Federal Reserve chair nominee Jerome Powell.  

As a nominee to lead the Fed, veteran governor Jerome Powell sides with the outgoing chair Janet Yellen in arguing that the Fed’s easy money policy has paid off by bringing millions back to work without any clear sign it has thrown markets off kilter.  

Oil prices fell on uncertainty over the outcome of a key OPEC meeting this week due to decide on production policy for the next year.  

OPEC is heading for tougher-than-expected policy talks amid concern that its efforts to rebalance the oil market might overshoot by creating a global deficit and spurring a further price rally.  

Oil majors are seeking further efficiencies by adapting technologies for highly automated offshore operations to shale and pursuing advances in digitalization that have reshaped industries from auto manufacturing to retail. If they are successful, the U.S. oil industry could frustrate the ongoing effort by OPEC effort to drain a global oil glut. 

Britain's Prince Harry poses with Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, London, Britain, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's Prince Harry poses with Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, London, Britain, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

 

Tech

A research arm of the U.S. intelligence community just wrapped up a competition to see who could develop the best facial recognition technology. The challenge: identify as many passengers as possible walking on an aircraft boarding ramp. Of all the entries, it was a Chinese start-up company called Yitu Tech that walked away with the $25,000 prize this month, the highest of three cash awards. 

AirBnb, Reddit, Shutterstock, Tumblr, Etsy, Twitter and a long list of small internet companies urged the Federal Communications Commission to scrap a plan to roll back net neutrality rules. 

U.S. prosecutors have charged three Chinese nationals affiliated with a cyber security company in China with hacking into Siemens, Trimble and Moody’s Analytics to steal business secrets. 

Confronted with national regulators’ intensifying scrutiny of digital currency fund-raising, known as initial coin offerings, many entrepreneurs are moving businesses to locations more welcoming to crypto-currencies and known for low taxes. Dozens of start-ups have flocked to Singapore, Switzerland, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean this year, according to interviews with entrepreneurs and company registration data made available to Reuters. 

World

Ireland’s deputy prime minister agreed to resign, broadcaster RTE reported, a move that should end the likelihood of a new election that would have a potentially negative impact on Britain’s Brexit negotiations.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn-in for a second five-year term in front of a rapturous crowd as riot police sealed off an area where the opposition planned a rival gathering and teargassed people trying to reach it. 

An aspiring British actress sued Harvey Weinstein in New York federal court accusing the movie producer of sex trafficking by inviting her to a hotel room in France and sexually assaulting her. 

Indonesia extended the closure of the airport on Bali as ash from a volcano swept the island, stranding thousands of tourists as authorities tried to persuade villagers to leave their homes near the erupting mountain. 

Pope Francis held talks with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the second day of a visit fraught with tension after the United States accused the Southeast Asian nation of “ethnic cleansing” against its Muslim Rohingya people. 

Just four weeks after a blind date with U.S. actress Meghan Markle that left him “beautifully surprised”, Britain’s Prince Harry took his wife-to-be on a trip to Botswana to camp under the stars in his tent. In their first broadcast interview since announcing their engagement, Harry and Markle discussed the moment of their proposal and their courtship

Reuters TV: Coalition talks in Germany but no quick fix on the horizon

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