Tesla stock plunge, the warring Rogers family and Dublin’s metro no-show

Planet Business: Fifth-wave blues in Europe, Succession-style boardroom drama in Canada

A commuter walks up the steps of the Grand Arch in the La Défense financial district in Paris, the day after French president Emmanuel Macron gave a televised address on the pandemic. Photograph: Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg

A commuter walks up the steps of the Grand Arch in the La Défense financial district in Paris, the day after French president Emmanuel Macron gave a televised address on the pandemic. Photograph: Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg

 

Image of the week: Pandemic déjà vu

Notwithstanding the fact that birds outnumber people in this scene from Paris’s La Défense financial district, Europe’s second-largest economy is back to pre-Covid levels and still expanding, and French president Emmanuel Macron is not the only one who would like to keep it that way. So, fresh from his cameo role at the Cop26 climate summit, he made time in his busy diplomatic diary for a televised address (of almost half an hour duration) warning the French people that the pandemic is not over and that, indeed, Europe is in the grip of a fifth wave. Covid-19 vaccine booster shots will be extended to people aged 50 and over from December, while people aged 65 and over will need proof of a booster shot from December 15th to maintain their “pass sanitaire” to enter restaurants, bars, gyms and other venues. “Get vaccinated to live normally,” Macron said, wrapping up by urging the nation to “croyons en la France” (believe in France).

In numbers: Reverse gear

$200 billion

Sum that was wiped off the value of Tesla on Monday and Tuesday as investors dumped the stock ahead of a possible stake sale by chief executive Elon Musk.

12%

Percentage fall in Tesla’s stock on Tuesday alone, the biggest daily drop in 14 months for the company, which has seen its shares – and therefore Musk’s wealth – swell massively in 2021.

58%

Percentage of voters in Musk’s Twitter poll who said “yes” to his suggestion that he should sell 10 per cent of his shares in the electric vehicle maker, prompting the stock market rout.

Getting to know: the Rogers family

In a spirited attempt to inspire HBO’s next prestige series, Canada’s Rogers family have been locked in a battle for control of Rogers Communications, the telecoms company previously spearheaded by the late Ted Rogers (not the Dusty Bin one). In one corner is Edward, Ted’s son. In the other is his mother and Ted’s widow Loretta Rogers, and his siblings Martha Rogers and Melinda Rogers-Hixon. The saga began when chairman Edward plotted to usurp chief executive Joe Natale and get in his own man, Tony Staffieri, which Natale found out about when Staffieri bum-dialled him while discussing the plan with another executive. “Enjoy your pretend board meeting, Ed,” tweeted Martha, after her brother claimed to chair a brand new board, while a Bloomberg article headlined “Rogers chairman fires board for firing him for firing CEO” also elicited a “LOL” from Martha. All that firing would have made for a pretty decent season finale, but the twist is that a Canadian court has now ruled in favour of Ed, the judge noting the “Shakespearean drama” of the family squabbles, but dismissing them as a distraction to the legal issue at hand.

The list: Metro no-show

Have you heard about the Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy? Apparently, against all evidence to the contrary, there is one. Who knew? Here are just five key moments in the non-history of one of its elusive elements, the Metrolink.

1. Old money. In the year 2000, the government of the time says a circular metro route with a key “spur” to Dublin Airport will cost IR£4.3 billion and will take between seven and 15 years to build.

2. Airport priority. In 2002, it is suggested that this millennial optimism was misplaced, but that the link between the city centre and the airport will definitely be completed by 2007.

3. Brakes on. In 2004, then taoiseach Bertie Ahern adopts a more sceptical tone than his minister for transport, Séamus Brennan, referring to the cost of the airport metro project as “astronomical”, despite it involving a much shorter distance than is typically associated with that word.

4. New estimate. One year later, under Ahern’s Transport 21 plan, hopes rise that Metro North, as it is then known, might arrive in 2012 or 2013-ish. Hopes, alas, soon fade.

5. No connection. Fast-forward to 2018, when Metro North and Metro South are rebranded as MetroLink under the National Development Plan 2018-2027. This week, the plan reverted to just a humble airport line, and maybe, just maybe, planning permission will be sought next year. Taxi!

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