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FB Roundup: Harvey Weinstein, Warren Buffett, and Tata Sons

Harvey Weinstein’s brother tasked with taking over; Warren Buffett bets against autonomous trucking future;Tata Sons consolidates to cut losses.

Weinstein’s brother tasked with taking over

Bob Weinstein is to take over the film company he founded with his brother, Harvey, after the high-level sexual harassment scandal which has seen the family business’s reputation severely damaged.

The Wall Street Journal reported the brothers had been feuding for a number of years, fuelling widespread speculation that Bob tipped off The New York Times about his brother’s alleged sexual abuse and harassment of dozens of women over the last 20 years—Hollywood’s so-called “open secret”.

In a column for Bloomberg, Christopher Palmeri and Anousha Sakoui said the formerly "second banana" Bob Weinstein would now face a number of difficult decisions, including how to distance himself from his brother and whether to change the name of the Weinstein Company.

"It will fall on Bob Weinstein’s shoulders to save the family business and steer it into a new era, one less reliant on the art-house films his brother was known for cultivating," they wrote.

The Weinsteins sold their first company, Miramax, named after their parents, to Walt Disney before heading off on their own in 2005.

 

Buffett bets against autonomous trucking future

A move to make devices which track truckies’ driving hours compulsory may have fuelled Warren Buffett’s multi-billion investment in North America’s largest truck stop chain, Pilot Flying J.

Electronic Logging Devices will be industry-standard from 18 December, ensuring drivers adhere to restrictions on the number of hours they can drive consecutively. This means more driver stops, and potentially, more revenue for truck stops.

Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway will this year acquire a 38.6% equity stake in Pilot Flying J, and another 41.4% by 2023. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but is estimated to be in the billions, with the 750-strong chain turning over more than $20 billion annually.

Forbes columnist Steve Banker said the purchase was essentially a bet by Buffett against autonomous trucks becoming a reality any time soon, as driverless trucks would not need food and other goods from truck stops.

Berkshire Hathaway, which Buffett’s son Howard helps run, is the biggest conglomerate in the world, turning over more than $210 billion annually.

Tata Sons consolidates to cut losses

India’s biggest conglomerate, Tata Sons, is looking to consolidate its portfolio as a way to increase accountability and reduce losses in some parts of the business.

“In passenger cars, our cost structures are out of whack. Every single car and model is losing money,” chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran told India’s Economic Times in a frank interview.

Chandrasekaran, who took over from Cyrus Mistry in February, said the $100-billion-a-year group would create new business “clusters” around defence, infrastructure, consumer, retail, financial services, hotels and airlines while supporting the growth of the three largest companies, Tata Consultancy, Tata Steel and Tata Motors.

Underperforming sectors could be sold or shut down as part of Chandrasekaran’s efforts to streamline the business.

“I will be the first to admit that we are very complex, we need to be simplified,” he told the ET.

Tata Sons is controlled by the Mistry family, and founding Tata family.


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