Bloomberg Businessweek-Europe Edition May 17, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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2 min
in brief

Global coronavirus cases have passed 160 million, and deaths have topped 3.3m Almost 1.4 billion vaccine doses have been given. Some Asian countries are racing to contain outbreaks, with Taiwan and Malaysia imposing new restrictions. Japan extended a state of emergency to Tokyo, less than three months before the city hosts the Olympics. U.S. gasoline prices averaged above $3 a gallon for the first time in more than six years on May 12. The surge followed the May 7 shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, North America’s biggest petroleum conduit, after a cyberattack. Tensions over the potential eviction of six Palestinian families in Jerusalem erupted when Hamas fired missiles from Gaza (above). Israeli forces retaliated with airstrikes. As of May 12, six Israelis and more than 50 Palestinians had been killed. The National Rifle Association…

3 min
europe’s failed super league got one thing right

European soccer has survived its greatest crisis: not the coronavirus, but commerce. The attempt last month by the 12 biggest clubs to create the European Super League quickly collapsed, to hoots of derision from fans and much relief from the sport’s administrators. But short-lived as it was, the proposal brought attention to the dysfunction at the heart of European soccer—and suggested a reform that could well save the sport. Because Europe’s leagues impose minimal restraints on spending, clubs effectively must spend larger sums each year to acquire and retain top talent and win trophies. That forces them to pursue every avenue of profit, even at the risk of undermining the sport’s traditions and institutions. In addition to inducing bankruptcies and encouraging corruption, the system all but ensures that a handful of…

1 min
a bill of health

Tencent Holdings unveils first-quarter earnings on May 20. Like other Chinese tech giants, the company has come under pressure from the government seeking to curtail its size. Daimler hosts a strategy meeting for investors to discuss its heavy truck unit on May 20. The company plans to split off the business and rename itself Mercedes-Benz. European finance ministers meet in Lisbon on May 21-22 to discuss their joint recovery efforts as the region slowly emerges from the pandemic’s third wave. The Sohn Conference in Hong Kong will be held virtually again on May 20. It will feature remarks from hedge fund managers such as Seth Fischer of Oasis Management. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo plans a May 20 summit with companies affected by the intensifying global semiconductor shortage. An Atlas V rocket will launch a…

4 min
for crypto, the price of success may be regulation

When Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charlie Munger earlier this month called Bitcoin “useful to kidnappers and extortionists” and “contrary to the interests of civilization,” crypto enthusiasts mocked his investment performance, compared him to an elderly Muppet, and said he was too old to understand the technology. Michael Saylor, a crypto investor and chief executive officer of MicroStrategy Inc., asked rhetorically in an interview with a precious metals website, “Do you go to your great-grandfather for investment advice on new technologies?” Munger’s warning is looking pretty good about now. Days ago, a criminal gang hacked Colonial Pipeline Co., in effect shutting down the conduit for 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supply. Details of the hack haven’t been revealed, but the group’s modus operandi is to encrypt its victims’ data and…

7 min
finally, a drug for alzheimer’s?

Jeffrey Borghoff was just 51 when he received a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Shortly thereafter, he retired from his job as a software developer and went on disability. He also quickly enrolled in a trial for an experimental Biogen Inc. drug to remove an aberrant amyloid protein from his brain that researchers believe is tied to reduction in memory and brain function in Alzheimer’s patients. Since then, with the exception of a brief interruption, he’s been getting monthly infusions of the medicine, named aducanumab, which he credits with slowing his cognitive decline. Now 57, Borghoff can’t drive because he confuses red and green lights, but he can still cook and take walks with his wife, Kimberly, and their dog. His life, he says, is full. Now Borghoff is steeling himself:…

4 min
renault takes the slow lane

After one of its toughest years ever, the global auto industry is roaring back as lockdown-weary and public-transport-leery consumers swarm showrooms. The biggest carmakers have reported double-digit jumps in first-quarter revenue even as they battle a semiconductor shortage that’s forced production cutbacks. And booming sales mean they can move the metal without discounts, spurring several to raise their profit forecasts for the year. The outlier in all this: France’s Renault SA, which saw revenue fall 1% in the quarter after losing almost $10 billion last year. The 123-year-old automaker is suffering from high costs, limited geographic reach, and continuing fallout from the 2018 arrest in Japan of Carlos Ghosn, the former boss who’s now a fugitive living in Lebanon. Renault missed out on the shift to SUVs, clinging instead to sedans…