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Here’s this year’s lineup
This morning, we’re announcing some of the speakers for our seventh annual “Playing for the Long Term” conference, which will take place on Nov. 1 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. You can register to participate here.
Andrew will host a series of conversations with some of the biggest newsmakers at the intersection of business and policy. Among them:
• Sundar Pichai of Google
• Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs
• Lachlan Murdoch of Fox
• Ken Frazier of Merck
• Mary Barra of General Motors
• Peter Thiel of Palantir and Founders Fund (he’s also a director at Facebook)
• Evan Spiegel of Snap
• Larry Fink of BlackRock
• Steve Ballmer, of USAFacts and the L.A. Clippers
• Marc Raibert of Boston Dynamics (with a special guest: Spot the robot dog)
The conference will also feature a curated group of “Groundbreakers” who are changing the business world, as well as “Task Forces,” who will examine issues surrounding A.I. and environmental, social and corporate governance.
Among them are Audrey Gelman, founder of the women’s co-working space The Wing; John Hope Bryant, founder of the nonprofit Operation Hope; Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Microsoft; Steph Korey, co-founder of the travel start-up Away; Dov Seidman, founder of the advisory firm LRN; Steve Stoute, founder of the marketing agency Translation; Stephanie Cohen, chief strategy officer of Goldman Sachs; Edward Stack, C.E.O. of Dick’s Sporting Goods, and many others.
More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. Find out more about the conference.
EBay accuses Amazon of illegally trying to steal sellers
The online auction platform contends that Amazon employees used its internal messaging system to poach top sellers. More from Karen Weise of the NYT:
The e-commerce site said it was tipped off to the situation last month by an eBay seller who had been contacted by an Amazon representative. An early investigation by eBay found at least 50 Amazon representatives had sent hundreds of solicitation messages over the last several years.
Some messages appear to suggest the Amazon employees knew they were violating eBay’s terms of service. “EBay does scan for key terms and they don’t exactly like us poking around,” one message read. Other used terms like “a-m-a-z-o-n” or “A.M.Z.N.,” perhaps to evade detection.
EBay has issued a cease-and-desist letter, while Amazon says it is investigating the claims.
More Amazon news: As it raises its minimum wage, Amazon will scrap monthly bonuses and stock awards for hourly workers. David Leonhardt of the NYT asks whether the pay policy represents a turning point where corporate executives begin to reject pure greed.
How China is said to have spied on Amazon and Apple
A start-up called Elemental Technologies makes powerful video-processing hardware. Its devices — which are assembled by a company called Super Micro Computer and used by organizations including the Defense Department and the C.I.A. — caught the eye of Amazon, which considered buying the company. But during due diligence, reports Bloomberg Businessweek, Amazon discovered something startling:
Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community.
During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines. Multiple people familiar with the matter say investigators found that the chips had been inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China.
Carmakers gather at the Paris Motor Show. It’s a turbulent time: American automakers’ sales are stagnant, international manufacturers are confronting U.S. tariffs, and the rise of electric vehicles and autonomous driving loom over the industry.
The E.U.’s chief Brexit negotiator meets with Ireland’s leader. Topic A is finding a compromise on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, a major Brexit sticking point.
Costco reports fourth-quarter results. Analysts expect a rise in revenue and same-store sales, buoyed by accelerating membership growth and price cuts.
Carmakers forge new alliances to go driverless
Toyota and Honda have both announced partnerships on autonomous vehicles — showing how difficult the technology is to develop, even for the world’s biggest automakers.
Toyota is setting up a joint venture with SoftBank for driverless vehicle services, like meal delivery and hospital shuttles. And Honda agreed to invest $2.75 billion in G.M.’s Cruise unit, taking a 5.7 percent stake.
Driverless cars promise to redefine the multibillion-dollar auto industry, and the costs of bringing them to market are too big for almost any company to handle independently. “SoftBank alone and automakers alone can’t do everything,” Junichi Miyakawa, SoftBank’s chief technology officer, said.
The danger, as Anjani Trivedi of Bloomberg Opinion writes, is that the technology might never match its hype.
Bernie Sanders wants to break up banks
Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill yesterday to limit the size of American financial giants. (It was 10 years to the day since the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which saved banks after the 2008 crisis, was passed.)
The bill proposes breaking up financial institutions with exposure to more than 3 percent of America’s G.D.P. — equivalent to about $584 billion in assets. That covers:
• Banks: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley
• Insurers: Berkshire Hathaway, Prudential, MetLife and A.I.G.
They would have two years to sell assets. Then regulators would step in.
The bill is very unlikely to advance in the Senate. But it burnishes Mr. Sanders’s populist message for a probable 2020 presidential run.
Negotiating a new Nafta hurt the U.S.-Canada relationship
When President Trump announced the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaces Nafta, he suggested that would be an end to tensions from the trade talks.
High-profile Canadians don’t agree, Catherine Porter of the NYT found:
• Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the U.S., said that “the president insulted our country, our prime minister and even our chief negotiator.”
• Robert Bothwell, a professor of Canadian history at the University of Toronto, said, “There’s been disagreement, yes, but never public abuse like this.”
• Janice Stein, the founding director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, said Canada must now “invest more effort and resources in the rest of the G-7 — independent of what the United States says — in Germany and France and Japan.”
Canadian readers of the NYT appear to feel similarly.
Priyanka Chopra pivots to venture capital
She’s an actor who presented at the Emmys, sat in the front row at New York Fashion Week and flies to India for movie gigs. But add a new role to Ms. Chopra’s résumé: investing in start-ups like the Holberton School, a coding academy, and Bumble, the dating app.
She’s only the latest in a run of celebrities to turn venture capitalist, as Erin Griffith of the NYT notes:
So far, deals from male actors, athletes and musical artists have garnered much more attention than those from famous women. Ashton Kutcher is a regular at tech conferences; Carmelo Anthony and Nas have their own funds; Leonardo DiCaprio has been an adviser to at least three venture firms.
Tyra Banks, Beyoncé and Demi Lovato have participated in start-up deals. But few women have built robust portfolios.
Matt Rose, once considered a potential successor to Warren Buffett, will step down as executive chairman of the BNSF railroad.
James Marsden, Chipotle’s head of food safety, will retire next year.
Mitchell Theiss stepped down as Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s chairman of global industrials banking to join Rockefeller Capital Management.
Jefferies reportedly hired Jun Wu from JPMorgan Chase to lead its health care banking team in Asia.
The speed read
• Barnes & Noble will consider selling itself, again. (WSJ)
• Cloudera agreed to buy Hortonworks, a fellow software maker, in a $1.8 billion all-stock deal. (CNBC)
• The hedge fund Highfields Capital Management will return outside investors’ money and become a family office. (WSJ)
• A group led by KKR will take the guitar maker Gibson out of bankruptcy. (Bloomberg)
Politics and policy
• New York City wants to reclaim any unpaid taxes owed by the Trump family. (Bloomberg)
• The U.S. Senate passed a foreign aid bill to counter China’s foreign investment. (FT)
• Fighting the Affordable Care Act has weakened Republican candidates. (WaPo)
• Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain reportedly plans to rush a Brexit bill through Parliament. (Bloomberg)
• Many U.S. steelworkers don’t expect the Trump tariffs to help them. (WaPo)
• Japanese companies are moving out of Britain in droves as a no-deal Brexit looms. (Bloomberg)
• President Trump’s raising of the stakes on a China deal could turn compromise into a disaster. (WSJ op-ed)
• The director of the World Trade Organization doesn’t talk to President Trump. (Quartz)
• E.U. regulators have opened an investigation into Facebook’s latest data breach. (Reuters)
• Four broadband industry groups will join the Justice Department’s lawsuit against California’s net neutrality law. (Verge)
• To better understand crypto, the WSJ built its own digital currency. (WSJ)
Best of the rest
• Bond yields have surged — the 10-year U.S. Treasury note hit a seven-year high — suggesting that investors remain confident about growth. (FT)
• The case for government quotas for women on corporate boards. (NYT)
• How the Chinese government is pushing back against private businesses. (NYT)
• The Justice Department is investigating Danske’s money-laundering scandal. (FT)
• Tech leaders dominate Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list for 2018, though Robert Mueller is No. 1. (VF)
• Morgan Stanley is trying to force a racial discrimination lawsuit into arbitration. (Business Insider)
• How a $500 million central bank heist was foiled. (WSJ)
Thanks for reading! We’ll see you tomorrow.
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