Planet Business

Coiled cobras, referendum business and how the Disney force is with George Lucas

Image of the week: Nuclear option

Steam rises at night from the cooling towers of the Electricite de France nuclear power station in Dampierre-en-Burly, France. The French power utility is the world’s biggest operator of nuclear power plants and it wants to get even bigger by making a bid for the reactor unit of Areva in the coming weeks. Areva, which is mostly owned by the French government, is said to be in “a fragile state”, which is frankly never a good state for a nuclear power business to be in.

In numbers: Imperial profits

$4.1 billion: Value to Star Wars creator George Lucas of the deal to sell his Lucasfilm group to Disney at the end of 2012.


$6.3 billion: Value of that deal now. It included Disney shares that were then worth $1.9 billion, but thanks to the media stock's outperformance, they are now worth $4.1 billion.

$14.3 billion: Market value of the shares held by Disney's largest shareholder, Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of the late Steve Jobs, according to the Financial Times.

The lexicon: Coiled cobra

As superhero names, the Coiled Cobra is pretty rubbish, so thankfully it's not the star of the latest Marvel movie, but how one Barclays foreign exchange trader described their body language to fellow market-riggers. According to the just-published records of widespread chat room-based collusion by traders and sales staff at five major banks, the trader modestly announced they were "primed like a coiled cobra" and had not "even blinked" such was their concentration on the shady task ahead, while another Barclays employee keen on adding concealed mark-ups to certain currency transactions suggested "if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying".

Getting to know: Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

In an article for the Catholic Herald magazine published today, Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith says Twitter is like Protestantism and Facebook is more akin to Catholicism. What he means is Twitter is "a wonderful tool for those who wish to preach to their 'followers'" – and by "those", he means atheist Richard Dawkins. Twitter, allegedly all "polemic, not dialogue", therefore "does not form a true community", which apparently reminds him of Protestantism, while Facebook is a "congregation" just like warm and friendly Catholicism. Right so. The moral theologian's thoughts on Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are not known.

The list: Referendum business

There’s no shortage of companies backing a “Yes” vote in the same-sex marriage referendum. Funnily enough, Ashers bakery does not appear on this list.

1. Hailo: The taxi company released a prank video of a "heterophobic" taxi driver talking to customers about his distaste for straight couples to "show up" the ridiculousness of discrimination.

2. Boys & Girls: Visitors to the Irish advertising agency's website were met with two temporary rebranding options, "Boys & Boys" or "Girls & Girls".

3. Daintree Paper: The Dublin stationers, under new ownership, marketed a confetti product said to be made from recycled "lies" of the other side.

4. eBay: Chief executive John Donahoe donned a "Tá" badge on a visit to the auction site's Dublin offices. "It's a dynamic world out there," he noted.

5. Ben & Jerry's: The ice-cream purveyors launched a flavour called "Engage-mint Party" and staged "Yestival" promotional events.