Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition–Softbank, China’s richest, Billabong

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Good morning Quartz readers!

What to watch for today:

Softbank shareholders may revolt. The Japanese internet and mobile giant’s shares plunged as much as 17% during morning trade in Tokyo after it emerged the firm is in talks to buy a substantial stake in America’s Sprint Nextel. Shareholders are worried about the debt burden Softbank would take on to buy Sprint.

JPMorgan Chase earnings. The largest US bank by assets reports earnings for the third quarter, a bellwether for the US financial sector’s health. Analysts expect revenue to rise to $24 billion and earnings per share of $1.22.

Euro zone manufacturing. Industrial production numbers from the euro zone for August will offer guidance on how hard manufacturers are getting hit by the ongoing debt crisis and recession.

While you were sleeping:

Joe Biden shines. He did better in the US vice presidential debate than Republican challenger Paul Ryan, according to this early smartphone survey.

China richest stay extremely rich. China’s top 100 wealthiest are worth $220 billion this year. That is more than Ireland’s economic output last year. Forbes, which has released its annual list of China’s richest people, says the nation’s wealthiest only lost 7% of their combined net worth in the last 12 months, despite the economic slowdown. Topping the list is Zong Qinghou, who heads beverage giant Hangzhou Wahaha Group and is worth an estimated $10 billion.

Singapore shrinks. The Lion City’s GDP fell 1.5% in the three months to September. Its manufacturing sector–many Singaporean businesses own factories in China–is suffering from the global downturn.  But the Central Bank is not cutting interest rates, saying Singapore has a tight labour market which could push up consumer prices. There have been calls for Singapore to open its doors wider to foreign workers.

Billabong buyout is a wipeout. Private equity house Texas Pacific Group has ditched a deal to buy the Australian surfwear wholesaler and retailer. The Billabong brand is strong, but the company has made mistakes such as opening too many shops too quickly, its new CEO has admitted.

Russia won’t renew nuclear pact. The Kremlin says it will no longer allow a 20-year-old US program to secure and dismantle weapons of mass destruction in former Soviet states including Georgia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan—the latest in a series of steps Russia has taken to distance itself from the US.

Quartz obsession interlude:

Euro Crunch. Greece lost 1,000 jobs a day in the year that ended in July, pushing total unemployment to a new high of 25%. Quartz’s Ritchie King shows the carnage.

Matters of debate:

Is China’s money supply heading up or down? The Central Bank wants to (paywall) stimulate the economy. But reports say Chinese banks are resisting that pressure and keeping borrowing costs high to protect their balance sheets.

Who needs bank loans when you can sell bonds? Big businesses will borrow more money on bond markets than from banks this year, an Ernst & Young report finds.

Oil’s LIBOR? French oil giant Total makes a rare open attack on energy pricing company Platts, accusing it of an erratic and inaccurate oil-pricing system.

PC sales will be lower this year for the first time in 11 years. The industry is blaming the global economy for the downturn. But then why are tablet sales exploding?

Now’s a good time to buy European businesses. An investor puts his money where his mouth is.

Surprising discoveries:

A planet twice the size of earth was discovered orbiting in the constellation of Cancer. And it’s largely made of diamond.

The way you eat your eggs says something about your personality. Scientists find statistical evidence suggesting that boiled-egg eaters are disorganized, poached eggers are outgoing and fried-egg aficionados have a high sex drive.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, and European asset purchases to

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