Company news in brief

05 May 2021 | Business

Verizon to offload Yahoo, AOL

Verizon Communications Inc is getting rid of its media businesses that include iconic brands Yahoo and AOL for US$5 billion, ending an expensive and unsuccessful run in the media and advertising world.

Despite spending more than a decade and billions of dollars building a stable of internet brands, the New York-based telecom company has struggled to make headway in a highly competitive internet advertising space dominated by Facebook Inc and Google.

Having written US$4.6 billion off the value of the businesses in 2018, Verizon will get just US$4.25 billion in cash from private equity firm Apollo Global, along with preferred interests of US$750 million and a 10% stake in the unit – about half of what it had paid for the businesses.

The move concludes a steady drip of deals which saw Verizon sell blogging platform Tumblr in 2019 for an undisclosed sum and news website HuffPost to BuzzFeed last year.

For Apollo, the deal comes at a time when the big internet platforms have sewn up huge portions of the digital advertising market, drawing regulatory scrutiny over their practices.

Verizon Media's portfolio also includes online brands such as TechCrunch, Makers, Ryot and Flurry, according to its website. It reported revenue of US$1.9 billion in the first quarter of 2021. – Nampa/Reuters

Emirates expects to fly 70% of normal capacity

Emirates plans to operate around 70% of its normal capacity this winter thanks to an expected increase in international travel as countries ease coronavirus restrictions and reopen borders.

Emirates, the world's biggest long-haul airline before the pandemic, has been gradually rebuilding its network of 157 passenger destinations since flights were grounded in March 2020.

It is currently operating to around 120 destinations, though capacity remains limited due to the continued grounding of most of the airline's 118 Airbus A380 superjumbos.

Emirates has mainly been operating flights with its 151 Boeing 777s though with passenger demand still at very low levels globally those planes have mostly carried cargo.

The restoration of capacity largely depends on countries easing coronavirus restrictions and whether they permit international travel. Dubai's Emirates does not have a domestic market that can cushion against international border closures. – Nampa/Reuters

Pandora takes a shine to lab-made diamonds

Pandora, the jewellery maker best known for its silver charm bracelets, will stop selling mined diamonds and focus on more affordable, sustainable, lab-grown gems, it said yesterday.

"Diamonds are not only forever, but for everyone," Pandora chief executive Alexander Lacik said as the Danish company launched a new collection of man-made stones.

Pandora, which made 85 million pieces of jewellery last year and sold 50 000 diamonds, said it aimed to "transform the market for diamond jewellery with affordable, sustainably created products".

The growing acceptance of man-made diamonds by millennials attracted to cheaper stones guaranteed not to have come from conflict zones has spurred firms such as De Beers to end its decades-old policy of shunning synthetic gems in its jewellery.

Prices of lab-grown diamonds have fallen over the past two years following the U-turn by De Beers in 2018 and are now up to 10 times cheaper than mined diamonds, according to a report by Bain & Company. – Nampa/Reuters

Estee Lauder sales hit by lacklustre demand

Estee Lauder Cos Inc missed analysts' estimates for quarterly sales on Monday, as weak demand for its luxury foundations and lipsticks offset growth at the cosmetics maker's skincare brands, with people continuing to work from home.

Sales of cosmetics and makeup products have taken a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic as shoppers stay at home, pressuring Estee Lauder's M.A.C and Bobbi Brown brands.

Lockdowns in certain parts of Western Europe also hampered demand for luxury makeup products, with Estee Lauder's net sales declining across much of the region, notably in the United Kingdom and Spain.

Sales at Estee Lauder's skin care segment jumped 31%, while sales at its makeup segment fell 11%.

Total net sales rose 16% to US$3.86 billion for the third quarter ended March 31, but missed Refinitiv IBES estimates. – Nampa/Reuters

Commerzbank nears deal on job cuts

Commerzbank is nearing a deal with labour representatives on its restructuring plan that includes 10 000 job cuts globally, people close to the matter said.

Management of Germany's second-biggest listed lender and the bank's works council have already reached an agreement in principle, they said, adding that the deal could be officially signed by the end of the week.

Commerzbank chief executive Manfred Knof said earlier this year that the turnaround plan would do without forced redundancies in Germany. The restructuring is instead focussing on early retirement programmes.

As part of its restructuring, Commerzbank is shuttering 350 of its 800 branches in Germany and retreating from several countries.

Commerzbank hopes the revamp will revive its fortunes, as it struggles to restore profits after management reshuffles and strategy flip-flops. It has never fully recovered after a state bailout during the last financial crisis more than a decade ago and lost US$3.5 billion in 2020. – Nampa/Reuters

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