Barnier’s Brexit diary, test gig joy and how Yahoo lost its exclamation mark

Planet Business: A psychodrama we could have all done without

You’ll never sing alone: the happy crowd at a test music festival in Sefton Park, Liverpool, on Sunday. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

You’ll never sing alone: the happy crowd at a test music festival in Sefton Park, Liverpool, on Sunday. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

 

Image of the week: Blossoming

For people who were regular gig-goers before the pandemic, loving nothing more than howling along to a much-loved favourite and considered being elbowed by over-enthusiastic dancers in your vicinity was a price worth paying, envy will be off the charts at the sight of this music festival in Liverpool, which took place on Sunday, May 2nd, 2021. No typos, that’s the date. The unmasked, un-distanced, 5,000-strong crowd were in Sefton Park tent to see Blossoms, The Lathams and Zuzu in a “test” gig in the UK’s Events Research Programme and the best of luck to them, especially the woman rightly having a whale of a time down the front. Obviously, though, anybody lucky enough to get a ticket who then went on to sit perilously on the shoulders of their mate throughout, blocking the view of everybody behind them, should have been ejected straight away.

In numbers: Yahoo! to Yahoo

$350 billion
Combined value of search engine Yahoo! and one-time dial-up kings AOL at the turn of the 21st century.

$8.9 billion
Sums Verizon spent buying Yahoo! and AOL in recent years, spending $4.5 billion on Yahoo! in 2017 and $4.4 billion on AOL two years earlier.

$5 billion
Price Verizon has fetched offloading Yahoo! plus AOL and a smattering of other media brands to Apollo Global Management. The deal will see the creation of a new entity dubbed Yahoo – the brand’s original exclamation mark just another casualty of time.

Getting to know: Greg Abel

Greg Abel is the Prince Charles of Warren Buffett’s $640 billion conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway: he has been lined up to succeed Buffett as chief executive, but he could be waiting. Buffett (90) has no plans to go anywhere just yet. Still, he told CNBC: “The directors are in agreement that, if something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who’d take over tomorrow morning.” Abel, a youthful 59, is an ice hockey-loving Canadian who joined Berkshire in 1999 when it acquired MidAmerican, the energy company he was president of at the time. He’s now Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s chief executive and chairman, paid a salary of $16 million for his trouble. Buffett’s appreciation for him has been evident for years. In 2013, he told the Wall Street Journal: “I always make time for Greg when he calls.”

The list: Barnier’s diary

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has published a book called La Grande Illusion: Journal Secret du Brexit, which nobody should need Google Translate to guess means The Grand Illusion: A Secret Diary of Brexit. The English version is not out until October, alas, so here are some key lines picked out by the Guardian.

Self-interest: Theresa May was a “rigid” person, but the former prime minister was also “a courageous, tenacious woman surrounded by a lot of men busy putting their personal interests before those of their country”.

Strange tactics: May’s 2017 “red lines” speech confounded him. “I am astonished at the way she has revealed her cards.”

Johnson verdict: While it would be “dangerous to underestimate” him, Boris Johnson is a man Barnier sees “advancing like a bulldozer, manifestly trying to muscle his way forwards”.

Twists and turns: Downing Street’s behaviour grew “theatrical” and “almost infantile”, becoming prone to backtracking and issuing “derisory” threats to walk away from negotiations – “a psychodrama we could have done without”.

Surging mistrust: “Simply, I no longer trust them,” writes Barnier of the UK government. Relatable content.

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