Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Exxon’s Russia risk, China terror attack, AT&T eyes DirecTV, hacking oil rigs

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What to watch for today

ExxonMobile reveals its Russian risk. Analysts expect the energy giant to report an 11% drop in earnings per share due to lower oil prices earlier in the quarter. Investors will want to hear whether Exxon’s holdings in Russia could be hurt by sanctions.

May Day clashes in Turkey. Workers will descend on Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest the government’s attempted ban on doing just that. The public labor day celebration was banned between 1977 and 2010 after dozens were killed by unidentified gunmen.

Fat Face looks to get fatter. The UK clothing retailer will announce its intention to IPO and will name three new board members, including Darren Shapland, the former boss of Carpetright and ex-finance director of Sainsbury.

Details about Malaysia’s missing airplane. Following criticisms about its lack of transparency, Malaysia is set to publish a report about the disappearance of flight MH370.

While you were sleeping

China’s manufacturing sector missed the mark. The official purchasing managers’ index grew slightly to 50.4 in April but fell short of analysts’ expectations, signaling weak economic growth and a continuing slowdown.

Terrorists hit China’s Xinjiang province. Attackers with explosives and knives killed three and injured dozens at a train station, shortly after president Xi Jinpiang visited the region to address security concerns in the restive region.

AT&T is interested in buying DirecTV… The telecom giant has approached the satellite TV firm about a possible acquisition, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The combined company could be a counterweight to Comcast-Time Warner Cable, and offer a bundle of pay-TV and telecom services.

…And Sprint’s efforts to acquire T-Mobile advanced. Bloomberg reported that Softbank-owned Sprint could make a formal offer this summer and choose the fourth-placed-US carrier’s unconventional CEO to run the combined telecom.

Alibaba may reacquire Alipay. The Chinese internet giant is in talks to retake a stake in its spinoff Alipay, which acts much like PayPal and is crucial to Alibaba’s operations.

The US economy took a winter vacation with its slowest GDP growth since 2012, expanding just 0.1% in the first quarter due to a particularly brutal winter—a far cry from the 2.6% growth at the close of 2013. The Federal Reserve still decided to knock a further $10 billion off its monthly bond purchases.

Mining firms fought over Africa. Rio Tinto launched legal proceedings against Vale and BSG Resources, alleging that they cheated it out of its rights to a major iron ore deposit in Guinea. Rio Tinto claims it lost billions of dollars in assets.

Toronto’s mayor entered rehab for crack cocaine use. A second video surfaced of Rob Ford smoking crack, prompting him to take a leave of absence for substance abuse treatment.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on how the biggest money at technology companies is often made by their chief finance honchos. “Coding whizzes may be the rockstars of the tech world, but accountants are often more consistent earners. This is particularly true for companies looking to go public, of which there are many at the moment. Founders of fast-growing firms typically come from a technology or marketing background, and hire dedicated finance staff only after their companies reach a certain size. This is sometimes done grudgingly, as there can be resistance to the structure and discipline imposed by finance managers on a freewheeling startup.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Twitter’s glory days are over. The social media platform has begun an inexorable decline, and its most faithful users are the first to notice.

Facebook’s new features should scare the pants off Google. The social networking company is quickly becoming to the mobile internet what Google is to the web.

Women have a long way to go in the executive suite. In 25 years, women will still account for just one-third of new CEO appointments.

Silicon Valley has a stake in India’s elections. Many campaigners and voters are using what they learned while working in the US.

Even sustainable energy has an environmental cost. Solar plants are killing birds—some say at a rate of one every two minutes.

Surprising discoveries

The maritime industry is increasingly vulnerable to hacking. One recent attack shut down a floating oil rig.

Someone is leaking pro wrestling scripts. The fact that bouts are scripted isn’t surprising—but the scripts are.

Chase doesn’t like porn. It is canceling the bank accounts of adult video performers.

Using the word “congratulations” will boost your Facebook post. The company tweaked its algorithm after the birth of Mark Zuckerberg’s niece got buried in his feed.

Drug prices defy gravity. Expiring patents and the threat of generic competitors can actually boost prices in the short term.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pro wrestling scripts, and Twitter eulogies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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