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The spirits business: Cheers to Uncle Sam

One for the capitalist-roaders? THERE was much self-congratulation among Diageo’s bosses in July last year when the British firm, the world’s biggest maker of spirits, completed its acquisition of Shui Jing Fang, a maker of baijiu, a liquor generally made of rice.

Estate agents: At home with technology

...and not by agent STEP into an estate agency in small-town America and it is as if the internet had never been invented.

Electricity firms in Japan: Solar shambles

EIGHTY miles north-west of Fukushima’s hulking nuclear corpse, Yauemon Sato, a small businessman, has charged into the solar-power business.

Pharmaceuticals: The price of failure

IN THE pharmaceuticals business there are few issues more loaded than the cost of developing a new drug.

Budget carriers in India: In short-haul for the long run

“I AM running a marathon,” says Jeh Wadia, the founder of GoAir, a low-cost Indian airline. “I am not increasing my pace.” In India’s competitive air-travel business, slow-and-steady wins the race, reckons Mr Wadia.

Schumpeter: Making a success of succession

ON NOVEMBER 24th Louis Chenevert, the chairman and chief executive of United Technologies, resigned abruptly without explanation.

Low-cost airlines: Making Laker’s dream come true

SIR FREDDIE LAKER, the pioneer of cheap “no frills” transatlantic flights in the 1970s (pictured), could not make his ventures succeed.

Oilfield-service firms: Knowing the drill

OIL companies rarely soil their hands with the business of extracting the hydrocarbons that are their lifeblood.

Companies in Poland: Growing the Polish Apple

NOWY STYL, a Polish company that is Europe’s fourth-largest maker of office furniture, recently bought two small German rivals.

Canada’s natural-resources companies: Reputation management

...but not in Canadian miners FEW governments have aligned their interests so closely to those of their country’s energy and mining firms as Canada’s Conservative administration.

Mobile telecoms: The endangered SIM card

APPLE revolutionised online music with the iPod and iTunes. It may be about to transform the payments business, given the successful launch last month of Apple Pay.

Video games: Console-ation prize

The releases last November of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One were seen as the last hurrah of high-end home games consoles.

Vietnam’s state firms: Excess baggage 

Not such a smooth take-off WHEN the government launched an initial public offering of shares in Vietnam Airlines on November 14th, it was hoping that the flotation of one of few companies widely known outside the country would help it speed up a plan to “equitise” hundreds of state firms.

The taxi-app market: Uber-competitive

DESPITE its tender age of only five years, Uber, an American firm that links taxi passengers to drivers through a smartphone app, already has several records to its name.

Executive compensation: If you hire them, pay will come

WARREN BUFFETT once noted that if you want independent advice, don’t ask a barber whether you need a haircut.

Schumpeter: The tyranny of the long term

THE sheep in “Animal Farm” repeat the slogan, “Four legs good, two legs bad”. In the management world these days, the chant is “Long-termism good, short-termism bad”.

Government-controlled firms: State capitalism in the dock

ON NOVEMBER 14th Brazilian police raided the offices of Petrobras, a vast state-controlled oil firm at the centre of a corruption scandal.

Pharmaceutical M&A: Invent it, swap it or buy it

FEW industries have been shaped more by mergers and takeovers than pharmaceuticals. This is because developing drugs is such a high-risk business.

Mergers and acquisitions: The new rules of attraction

The deal of the century, just not in a good way BRUCE WASSERSTEIN was probably the most famous mergers and acquisitions (M&A) banker on Wall Street in the 1980s and 1990s.

Government outsourcing: Nobody said it was easy

We do deliveries, too “THIS has been an absolute earthquake and a disaster for Serco,” Rupert Soames, the boss of Britain’s biggest provider of outsourced government services, told Parliament in September.