What to watch for today
A new King of the stock exchange. King Entertainment, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, debuts on the New York Stock Exchange, having just priced its IPO at $22.50, in the middle of the expected range. That will raise the company around $500 million and values it at a bit more than $7 billion (paywall).
The world’s largest free-trade deal. US president Barack Obama and EU leaders are set to agree to remove all duties on bilateral trade, after Washington initially disappointed Europe by offering to cut tariffs by less than Brussels. At a summit in Europe, the two will also discuss Ukraine, climate change and NSA spying.
South Korea continues to grow. Last month’s reading of fourth-quarter GDP showed South Korea growing at 3.9% year-on-year, a three-year high. But hopes are high that growth will continue as demand from the West picks up, boosting Asian exports.
While you were sleeping
The US government defined bitcoin as property. For tax purposes, bitcoin is property rather than currency, according to a new decision from the Internal Revenue Service. Bitcoin investors will have to keep stringent records and pay tax on the value of bitcoins when they earned or mined them, which could make bitcoins useless.
Jamie Dimon’s heir defected. Mike Cavanagh, the co-head of investment banking at JP Morgan and widely thought to be next in line for the top job, is moving to The Carlyle Group. Cavanagh will serve as co-president at the private equity firm.
Facebook bought into virtual reality. It is buying Oculus, which makes virtual-reality immersive headsets, for about $2 billion in cash and shares. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg framed VR as not just a gaming gadget but the next big platform after mobile and the communication tool of the future.
Striking miners dug into platinum profits. An eight-week strike by miners in South Africa has carved a near-$1 billion hole in the sales of the country’s largest platinum producers. The companies also said the strikes have led to closed businesses, increased crime and unviable mines and shafts.
Banks’ fines hit $100 billion. Banks around the world have forked out a collective $100 billion (paywall) in US-based legal settlements pertaining to the financial crisis. More than half of these were paid in the last year—and the fines show no sign of slowing.
Nook and Kindle readers got some money back. People who bought e-books between 2010 and 2012 woke up this morning to partial refunds, as part of the settlement big publishers reached last year in a price-fixing case. A New York Times bestseller merits a $3.17 refund, but a regular book gets only $0.73.
Quartz obsession interlude
Zachary M. Seward on why Apple’s dream for television keeps falling apart. “Three years after Steve Jobs said he had ‘finally cracked‘ it, Apple’s vision for the future of television isn’t much closer to reality. Apple’s pursuit of TV has included talks with seemingly every major player in the industry. Sources confirm at least preliminary discussions with Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Disney, CBS, Time Warner, and Viacom. But the company is stuck between cable providers, which fear losing control of their subscribers, and content owners, which don’t yet see a viable business in the internet.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
China’s cities need to get denser, not bigger. The country needs to urbanize its rural citizens without letting its cities seep into surrounding agricultural space.
In Silicon Valley, failure is a badge of honor. The death of a start-up is not the death of a career.
Turkey’s Twitter ban isn’t about blocking criticism of Erdogan. It’s part of a bigger strategy to demonize social media.
Larry Page should donate his billions to Elon Musk. Companies can be more effective than charities at changing the world for the better.
Don’t buy into the hype of the ”flat” company. Hierarchies still have staying power, because they serve all sorts of useful purposes.
Bulgarians are some of Europe’s laziest people. A staggering 78% claim that they never exercise.
Gérard Depardieu is heading a “Proud to be Russian” campaign… The French actor has launched a line of Cvstos watches.
… while Ukrainian women declared a sex strike against Russian men. Hey, it worked in Lysistrata.
Steepling your fingers isn’t a sign of evil. Studies show the favored gesture of Bond villains merely denotes confidence.
Your position on the ballot paper matters. Voters—especially lefties—tend to favor the candidate on the left. Being listed first also helps.
China is leading the global movie market. Box-office sales in China surged by 27% last year, boosting worldwide revenues by 4%.
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