Spacey write-offs, snowy Davos and the world’s richest football clubs
Planet Business: Tech giants choose France; ‘no Plan A’ for next crisis
Cold comfort: cars and vans are mired in heavy traffic ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
In numbers: All the money
Write-off charge recorded by Netflix for “unreleased content we’ve decided not to move forward with” – two episodes of House of Cards and a Gore Vidal biopic, both starring the scandal-embroiled Kevin Spacey. It was otherwise a “beautiful Q4” for the streaming giant.
Sum spent by Imperative Entertainment on a hasty reshoot of the film All the Money in the World in order to replace Spacey after multiple allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault were made against him.
Donation to the anti-harassment Time’s Up campaign by talent agency WME after it negotiated a controversial fee of $1.5 million (€1.2 million) for Mark Wahlberg’s reshoots on All the Money in the World. The actor also donated his fee, following criticism. (Michelle Williams had done her reshoots for a token $80 per day.)
Image of the week: Snowy standstill
There is something wonderful about a high-level meeting of world leaders, chief executives, policymakers and celebrities that declares it is “committed to improving the state of the world”, but is nevertheless still undermined by the same time-sucks and infrastructure bottlenecks that sink the rest of us. This was the traffic in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday, ahead of the annual World Economic Forum conference, and the picture does not lie: political convoys, limousines, guilt-offsetting clean-energy shuttle buses and valiant delivery vans barely inched through blizzard conditions, while the fog will have had the town’s sudden influx of security personnel reaching for the special binoculars. For attendees, the most immediate challenge proved to be the most banal: the weather.
The lexicon: Choose France
“Emmanuel Macron tries to SNATCH business from UK after Brexit,” read the Daily Express headline (its capital letters), as it reported in its trademark style on this week’s “Choose France” summit at the Chateau de Versailles. Before departing for the Davos jamboree, the pro-business French president advanced his “French Renaissance” campaign by wooing the tech sector. His Versailles guests included Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. Notwithstanding the French-led push to oblige tech companies to pay taxes based on their local revenues, Google and Facebook both confirmed they are making investments in their artificial intelligence operations in France, while German software maker SAP also said it would boost its French footprint. The Daily Express, meanwhile, was last seen fretting about the number of skyscrapers going up in Paris to mop up the post-Brexit business.
Getting to know: Michael Corbat
Citigroup chief executive Michael Corbat wasn’t messing around at Davos this week during a panel discussion thrillingly called “The Next Financial Crisis”. The risk is that the next (inevitable) “turn” on financial markets “will be more violent” than the last, said Corbat, adding that central banks were unprepared for such an event. “If we have another financial crisis, there isn’t even a plan A.” Well, that’s reassuring. Citi-lifer Corbat, presumably in his element at Davos as an avid skier (avalanches permitting), likes to make himself heard. He’s one of those chief executives who gave up his office for a “nice cubicle” in order to break down communication barriers and inspire his troops. “I want to create what we call constructive collisions in our people’s day,” he told CNBC. “We felt as a leadership team we can’t ask people to give up their offices until we do it.” The next financial crisis could see a cubicle clear-out.
The list: Richest football clubs
It was a closely-fought battle, but there can be only winner in Deloitte’s annual rundown of the world’s richest football clubs in 2016-2017.
5: Manchester City. The current English Premier League leaders held on to fifth place in the money list. Some 14 of the 30 richest clubs were from the Premier League, thanks to soaring television rights revenues.
4: Bayern Munich. It collects almost twice as much income as the second-richest German club (Borussia Dortmund).
3: Barcelona. The Spanish club was the comfortable winner of the play-off for third place.
2: Real Madrid. The Champions League title-holders held the top spot in Deloitte’s Football Money League for 11 years, but it has fallen tantalisingly short for the second year running.
1: Manchester United. It’s a 10th overall victory and a second consecutive one for United, edging out Real Madrid by a mere €1.7 million – loose change in football terms – thanks to a €44.5 million boost from winning the Europa League. It’s still all to play for in the 2017-2018 financial season.