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Google Fined Big Time by EU Regarding Antitrust Violations

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The European Union (EU), through its competition commissioner, levied a €4.34 billion fine against Alphabet Inc., the owner of Google. The fine is over Google having “imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search,” according to the European Commission (EC).

The European Commission is requiring Alphabet to cease from its conduct that it is accused of within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said in a press release, “Today, mobile internet makes up more than half of global internet traffic. It has changed the lives of millions of Europeans. Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine. In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

The EC press release added, “In particular, Google: 1. has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store); 2. made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and 3. has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”).”

Funds and Ownership, KKR Partners with Shinhan Financial

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South Korean financial giant Shinhan Financial Group Co., Ltd. reached a preliminary agreement with KKR & Co. to form a series of global buyout funds that could raise up to 5 trillion KRW. KKR and Shinhan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Seoul in early October. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norwegian Government Recommends SWF Remains at Central Bank

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There was speculation that Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) could be managed outside of Norges Bank. The Norwegian government shot down this idea and recommended Norway’s GPFG remain in Norges Bank. This recommendation came in the form of a white paper submitted to the Norwegian Parliament, Stortinget.

Norway’s Minister of Finance Siv Jensen, commented in a press release, “The Government proposes a new and modernised governance structure for Norges Bank. Moving forward, this new structure lays the foundations for the sound management of the central bank and of the GPFG.”

Some Central Bank Recommendations

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Invesco Buys OppenheimerFunds for $5.7 Billion

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Invesco Ltd. signed a deal to acquire OppenheimerFunds, Inc. from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). In turn, MassMutual and the OppenheimerFunds employee shareholders will receive a combination of common and preferred equity consideration, and MassMutual will become a significant shareholder in Invesco, with an approximate 15.5% stake. This strategic transaction will bring Invesco’s total assets under management (AUM) to more than US$ 1.2 trillion. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019, pending necessary regulatory and other third-party approvals. The transaction gives Invesco access to more third-party distribution platforms.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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