Planet Business

Oprah Winfrey, ‘Unicorpses’ and the most visited European cities

Finishing touches are being put to a skaters’ ramp under construction inside an abandoned church in the village of Llanera near Oviedo in northern Spain, which very soon will double as one of the world’s fanciest skate parks and a beacon for music video directors. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Finishing touches are being put to a skaters’ ramp under construction inside an abandoned church in the village of Llanera near Oviedo in northern Spain, which very soon will double as one of the world’s fanciest skate parks and a beacon for music video directors. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

 

Image of the week: Temple of thrills

Finishing touches are being put to a skaters’ ramp under construction inside an abandoned church in the village of Llanera near Oviedo in northern Spain, which very soon will double as one of the world’s fanciest skate parks and a beacon for music video directors. The church was once a chapel for workers at a local munitions factory that shut its doors at the end of the Spanish war, and more recently it was intended to be the site of a business centre for those factories that still survive. An economic crisis forced a change of plan, and Ernesto Fernandez, the man behind it, decided that he would share the building with his skateboarding friends instead. Say a little prayer. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

In Numbers: Oprah’s bread

26

The number of pounds (lb) lost by Oprah Winfrey on the Weight Watchers programme, she declared in a video ad tweeted to her 31 million followers. The second most impressive thing about this is she ate bread “every single day” on the diet.

$150 million Weight Watchers International, which is publicly quoted on the New York Stock Exchange, saw its share price swell 19.5 per cent in the wake of Oprah’s intervention, adding this much to the company’s valuation.

$12.5 million What this stock surge added to the value of Winfrey’s own stake in the company, which even for a billionaire is not a bad day at all.

The lexicon: Unicorpse

A “unicorpse” is a dead unicorn. A unicorn is a privately held start-up tech company with an arguably mythical valuation of more than $1 billion. The problem with valuations is that they can go down as well as up. Tech bubble or no tech bubble, some of the current crop of much-hyped unicorns – and there are about 150 of them – are likely to wind up as festering “unicorpses”. Among those warning that a mass unicorn slaughter is on the way is Jim Breyer, an early investor in Facebook, who reckons about 90 per cent of them will be written down or killed off. Uber is currently the king of live-and-kicking unicorns with a $62 billion valuation, while others include Airbnb, Snapchat, Pinterest, Dropbox, Spotify, Stripe, Slack, Eventbrite, Shazam...

Getting to know: Lord Libor

“Lord Libor” was the nickname given to Colin Goodman, one of five British brokers cleared by a UK jury this week of manipulating the Libor, a benchmark interbank exchange rate.

Goodman, a broker at ICAP, was said to have earned his nickname because his daily analysis was said to be so influential in the setting of the rate. Other nicknames involved were “Big Nose” and “Serg”, the court heard, but none of the five was found to have assisted Tom Hayes, the jailed former UBS banker, aka “Rain Man”, in a conspiracy to fix the rate. Indeed, the lawyer for one of the accused kindly suggested that prosecutors should target more senior figures - not this lot, who “weren’t even bankers”.

The list: Places to go

Hong Kong has emerged top in Euromonitor International’s annual list of the most visited cities – and Dublin was 49th – but which were the most popular European destinations?

1 London The city is enjoying a post-Olympic glow and rose to second in the overall list as Bangkok’s popularity declined. Euromonitor warned that failing to sort out its airport capacity situation would hamper future growth.

2 Paris The city of love came fifth in the rankings and no explanations are necessary.

3 Istanbul The Turkish capital (ninth overall) is “the magical meeting place of East and West”, according to Lonely Planet.

4 Rome The eternal city came 14th in the Euromonitor list, which frankly just means more pizza for the rest of us.

5 Prague In 21st place overall, the Czech capital – and one-time Irish stag party destination of choice – attracts more visitors than Milan, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Vienna and Venice. Well, they’re all nice, aren’t they?

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