Business and finance 23 February 2018

Snap, chatter and pop goes the share price

KYLIE JENNER, a model and reality TV star best known for being the, er, second most famous Kylie in the world, managed to cause a stir on Wall Street. With this idiosyncratic tweetsooo does anyone else not open Snapchat any more? Or is it just me...ugh this is so sadshe knocked back the share price of Snap, the parent company of the video- and picture-sharing app. Ms Jenner’s influence in the target market is deemed to be huge; she has 24.5m Twitter followers, and her message has (at the time of writing) been retweeted 58,000 times and “liked” by 310,000. Snap’s share price fell 6%, reducing the company’s market value by $1.3bn. The decline was not just down to the influence of Ms Jenner, who recently gave birth to a daughter Stormi, named after the weather/porn star/grime artist. Investors were already worried about the impact of a recent app redesign. More than 1.2m people signed a...Continue reading

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The rapid rise and fall of the Anbang empire

RARELY in corporate history has a giant come and gone so quickly. Anbang was founded in 2004 as a small Chinese car-insurance company. By the start of last year it ranked among the world’s biggest insurers with some $300bn of assets, including stakes in hotels and financial firms across America, Europe and Asia. Given another ten years, boasted Wu Xiaohui, its swashbuckling founder, Anbang’s scale would “exceed your imagination”. But then, just as vertiginous as its ascent, came its fall. Alarmed at its debt-fuelled expansion, regulators started blocking its overseas deals, reined in its insurance business and detained Mr Wu. On February 23rd its disgrace became complete: the Chinese government announced that it had taken over Anbang and would prosecute Mr Wu for economic crimes.The insurance regulator said it had intervened because illegal operations could have “seriously endangered” the company’s solvency. It did not spell out the exact nature of Anbang’s alleged...Continue reading

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