Business briefing

The daily business briefing: September 22, 2017

Facebook gives Congress political ads bought with Russian accounts, Uber loses license to operate in London, and more

1

Facebook to give Congress political ads bought with Russian accounts

Facebook will turn over to Congress more than 3,000 politically themed ads purchased with Russian accounts during the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said Thursday in a blog post. "We believe the public deserves a full accounting of what happened in the 2016 election, and we've concluded that sharing the ads we've discovered ... can help," Stretch wrote. Facebook gave the ads to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but had taken back ads shown to congressional investigators before they had the time to thoroughly examine them due to privacy concerns, sparking complaints from critics. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was taking steps to prevent anyone from using the social network to "undermine democracy."

2

Uber loses license to operate in London

London's transportation agency announced Friday that it would not renew Uber's license to operate in the city. The British capital had been Uber's largest market in Europe, with 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers, so the decision marked a major blow to the ride-hailing service. "Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications," the agency, Transport for London, said in a statement. The regulators cited issues such as background checks on drivers. Uber said it used the same methods that were used to check on drivers of London's black cabs. Uber's license expires on Sept. 30. The company vowed to appeal, and has 21 days to do so, with the right to continue operating in the meantime.

3

Trump imposes new North Korea sanctions as Kim Jong Un calls him 'deranged'

President Trump followed up on his vow to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatens the U.S. by announcing new federal sanctions against Pyongyang. The new penalties would use the power of the U.S. financial system by forcing foreign companies, governments, and individuals to choose between doing business with the U.S. — the world's biggest economy — or North Korea. Pyongyang's leader, Kim Jong Un, responded to Trump's harsh rhetoric this week at the United Nations by calling it "unprecedented rude nonsense," saying Trump would "pay dearly" for his threats. "I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire," Kim said. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said the country might test "an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb" over the Pacific to counter Trump's threat.

4

Theresa May seeks to break Brexit impasse with Florence speech

British Prime Minister Theresa May will try to revive stalled Brexit talks in a Friday speech in Florence, Italy, saying both sides have "a profound sense of responsibility" to make sure Britain's exit from the European Union goes "smoothly and sensibly," according to extracts of her address released by her office. The speech comes ahead of Monday's start of the fourth round of Brexit talks. The negotiations have deadlocked over key issues, including the future status of EU citizens in the U.K., and how much Britain will have to pay to settle its financial commitments to the trading bloc. The U.K. is expected to offer to pay $24 billion for access to the EU market after it leaves in 2019.

5

L'Oreal's largest stakeholder, Liliane Bettencourt, dies at 94

L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, the world's richest woman, has died, her family said Thursday. She was 94. Bettencourt's father, Eugene Schueller, founded L'Oreal more than a century ago as a maker of hair dye. Bettencourt and her family own 33 percent of L'Oreal, the largest stake in the beauty and cosmetics giant and France's fourth largest company. Bettencourt's daughter, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, who sits on the company's board along with her son, said the family remained committed to the company. L'Oreal shares gained 4 percent on speculation that Nestle, which owns 23 percent but had agreed not to increase its stake during Bettencourt's lifetime, might soon buy the company outright.

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