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REWIND: International Business News #41

Posted on October 19th, 2012 | Author: Oren M. Chaplin

  • EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn traveled to Athens to meet with the 13 Governors of Greece’s regions to discuss Greece’s next budgeting period.  Hahn planned to point out to the Governors those areas where Greece can make the most of capital invested in the nation by way of EU Regional Funds.  “The key priorities for Regional Policy in the next budget period are likely to focus on targeting investment where they will have the most impact, improving the business environment and building on reforms to simplify and streamline the system for managing Regional Funds.”  Regional Policy is the investment policy of the EU that seeks to further the Europe 2020 strategy.  From a practical perspective, it is likely that the EU hopes to see Greece become more business-friendly and a welcomed destination for private investment.
  • Sprint Nextel has made a bid for a stake of Clearwire Corporation, offering to purchase a portion of the interest Clearwire founder Craig McCaw holds in the struggling 4G wireless broadband services company.  The move would increase Sprint Nextel’s stake in the company from 48% to a controlling interest in the company.  “Sprint already relies on Clearwire to handle data demands for some of its customers, and the smaller network’s big block of wireless spectrum could be useful in building out its own next-generation cellphone network.”  McCaw’s Clearwire interest is held by his investment vehicle Eagle River Holdings, and Sprint would pay close to $100 million to Eagle River for the Clearwire shares.
  • Over the past two days, European leaders met in Brussels to discuss Eurozone banking issues.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted as confirming that the participants agreed that the European Central Bank must be involved in bank supervision, but that the legal framework for that supervision must be established.  Chancellor Merkel also pushed for economic policy coordination between the European Commission and each member state.  Some have pointed to the lack of actual progress toward solving the banking crisis, noting that “there are simply too many loose ends and unanswered questions.  With the financial markets remaining calm, euro leaders may feel they have done well. But the potential for a panic remains until the ongoing uncertainty over Greece and Spain, in particular, is addressed.”
  • The World Bank announced today that it would appoint an independent panel of experts to review its “Doing Business” publication, which “measures and analyzes regulations that apply to small and medium size local business in 185 economies.” The publication addresses “start-up regulations, the efficiency of court systems, trading across borders, and paying taxes,” among other subject matters. The panel is to prepare a report on the publication scheduled for release in late Spring 2013.