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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”).”

Norway GPFG Would Prioritize Value in Tesla Stake

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Sovereign wealth fund giant Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is an investor in Tesla, holding a 0.48% stake at the end of 2017. GPFG owns roughly 1.4% of all globally listed company shares, minus stocks from its exclusion pool. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Anbang Insurance Set to Sell its US Luxury Portfolio

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Distressed Beijing-based holding company Anbang Insurance Group is set to sell its U.S. luxury hotel properties, which were purchased for US$ 5.5 billion from the Blackstone Group in 2016. This is a move to raise quick cash, following the firm’s seizure at the hands of the Chinese government six months ago. Bids had already been ongoing for selected properties, including the famed Essex House Hotel, overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park. The portfolio of hotels is strategically placed in geographically diverse regions, including Miami and Chicago. Anbang is looking to cash in on the properties quickly, as its properties in China are already being liquidated. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norway GPFG Returns 1.8% for Second Quarter of 2018

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Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) returned 1.8% for the second quarter of 2018. Listed equity investments generated a 2.7% return for the period, while fixed income returned 0%. Unlisted real estate investments posted a 1.9% return for the second quarter. In addition, the Norwegian krone depreciated against the U.S. dollar during the quarter. Furthermore, 2 billion NOK was withdrawn from the fund.

“North American and European stocks had a positive development in the quarter despite the prospect of increased trade barriers. This made a positive contribution to the fund’s return,” says Trond Grande, Deputy CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, according to the press release.

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