‘Annoying’ influencers, ‘contemporary’ champagne and new confidence at EasyJet

Planet Business: Dark Sky and Apple’s other standout acquisitions

Bubbly investment: Champagne brand Armand de Brignac, owned by rapper Jay Z. LVMH’s Moet Hennessy has now taken a 50 per cent stake. File photograph: Francois Nascimbeni/AFP

Bubbly investment: Champagne brand Armand de Brignac, owned by rapper Jay Z. LVMH’s Moet Hennessy has now taken a 50 per cent stake. File photograph: Francois Nascimbeni/AFP

 

Image of the week: House of Champagne

With luxury conglomerate LVMH’s drinks subsidiary Moet Hennessy buying a 50 per cent stake in Armand de Brignac, the champagne producer owned by hip-hop artist Jay Z, it seems a good time to contemplate this glowing file picture of one of its cellars, complete with the brand’s ace-of-spades insignia, at Chigny-les-Roses, near Reims in northeastern France, and think of the finer things in life.

According to Moet Hennessy boss Philippe Schaus, Armand de Brignac “reflects contemporary luxury”, while preserving the tradition of champagne. The company neglected to disclose financial terms of the deal, but with prices for one of those metallic silver bottles starting at about $300 (€247), they probably won’t be coming to a supermarket near you.

In numbers: Keeping it unreal

59% Six in 10 people consider social media influencers who do not seem authentic or misrepresent real life to be “annoying”, according to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

49% Percentage who identified repetitive posts as a bugbear of theirs.

76% More than three-quarters of the 1,224 people surveyed on the ASAI’s behalf said they had used social media for tips and inspiration. (Top tip: mute anybody annoying and move on.)

Getting to know: Johan Lundgren

Johan Lundgren is a happy man – or a happier man than he was a few weeks ago, anyway. As recently as February 10th, the Swedish EasyJet chief executive was calling on the UK government to either pledge more aviation industry support or set out how it planned to unwind coronavirus travel restrictions, and was wisely refraining from predicting any sort of bumper summer until it did so.

“We don’t boast about anything while you know there’s insignificant amounts of flying,” said Lundgren. Fast forward to February 23rd, and he was reporting a quadrupling in ticket sales to summer hotspots in the hours after UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced his “roadmap” out of lockdown. Johnson’s self-described “cautious but irreversible” plan was providing “a much-needed boost in confidence” to consumers, Lundgren declared. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be reckless and reversible then.

The list: Apple’s purchases

Apple has acquired about 100 companies over the last six years, about one every two to three weeks, chief executive Tim Cook told investors on Tuesday. Here are five of them.

1 Beats. The headphones brand founded by rapper/producer Dr Dre is Apple’s largest acquisition of the last decade, setting it back $3 billion (€2.4 billion) in the heady days of 2014.

2 Shazam. Sticking with music, Apple tapped the recognition software company that same year for $400 million (€329 million).

3 Siri. Back in 2010, Apple adopted voice command assistant Siri, which at the time was a Californian start-up.

4 Voysis. Ten years later, it bought Irish voice tech company Voysis to help it “improve” Siri, who was said to be delighted.

5 Dark Sky. Another 2020 outlay was on weather app Dark Sky, with the deal allowing Apple to add a “next-hour precipitation” graphic of doom to its iPhones. Lovely.

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