Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A.

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REWIND: International Business News #25

Posted on May 24th, 2012 | Author: admin

  • A high-stakes antitrust assault will play out against Google in Brussels this summer for Google’s use of its Street View cars, which collected an array of private internet communications, including e-mails, photographs, passwords, chat messages, postings on websites and social networks in violation of data protection laws. Last month, the FCC was unable to find that Google had violated American law, but stated that their inquiry was inconclusive. Throughout American and European investigations, Google has been resistant with authorities.
  • In an effort to boost its “soft power” or cultural influence, China’s largest entertainment group, Dalian Wanda announced its $2.6 billion purchase of AMC Entertainment Holdings, the second-largest operator of American movie theaters. The purchase, sizably larger than the previously record-setting purchase of IBM by Lenovo at $1.8 billion, is in line with Chinese party leaders’ desires to build up the country’s soft power and maintain its “cultural security” while also enhancing the international influence of its own culture.  Efforts are also underway to transform a barren stretch of Shanghai land into a cultural district, which will be the new home of Oriental Dream Works, a joint venture with DreamWorks Animation and three government-backed companies.  However, the Chinese are not the only ones to gain from the purchase, as leading figures in Hollywood aim to gain greater access to Chinese consumers by making deals with local partners.  Furthermore, the Chinese government has agreed to allow better market access for Hollywood movies by giving studios a bigger take of box office receipts.
  • The new name for Kraft Foods’ snack foods company “Mondelez International” was overwhelmingly approved by its shareholders. The name was chosen for its suggestion of a “delicious world” and is a nod towards the company’s global ambitions in its new snack business.  Kraft, which will split itself into two companies in August, will be comprised of a North American grocery business which will retain the Kraft name and products such as Velveeta, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Oscar Mayer; and a newly-named and sizable  snack foods company, Mondelez, for fast-growing markets abroad with brand names like Oreo, Cadbury, Milka, Trident gum, Tang and Ritz.
  • A law firm in Buffalo, New York was fined $20,000 and had its registration revoked by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board for rubber stamping and certifying the work of foreign audit firms for Chinese and Taiwanese companies whose shares are registered in the United States.  The firm’s former director of accounting and auditing was also barred from auditing public companies.