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Breakfast Briefing: Uber Crash Halts Tests & Facebook Falls Further

Uber Crash Sparks Fears

Uber has halted self-driving tests after a vehicle killed a pedestrian near Phoenix.

Editor’s Remarks: The incident occurred on Sunday evening and has prompted companies engaged in developing self-driving to pause for a moment. The US Centre for Auto Safety has said that the crash will set back consumer confidence in the emergent technology “back years if not decades”. The deadly crash is the first involving an autonomous test vehicle and has come after the auto industry has invested billions in self-driving technology. Alphabet, in particular, has for years said that a crash caused by one of its rivals might cause the entire industry to slow down. Ironically, Uber said just weeks before the crash that self-driving technology should only be for “professionals” like them.

Read more on Carmakers:

Bigbasket Valued at $950m

The Indian e-commerce startup is challenging Amazon, Flipkart and local physical stores.

Editor’s Remarks: Unlike many of its fellow startups, Bigbasket was founded by a team that is largely over the age of 50 and were active founders during the dot-com bubble at the turn of the millennium. The company, based in Bangalore, closed a $300m funding round last month led by Alibaba that valued it at $950m – just south of unicorn territory. The company delivers groceries and other home essentials to its 8 million customers in 25 Indian cities. Bigbasket is hoping to corner India’s grocery market, which itself is roughly half of the country’s $1trn retail industry.

Read more on India:

Watchdog Searches Cambridge Analytica

The UK privacy watchdog hopes to raid Cambridge Analytica’s offices.

Editor’s Remarks: The fallout against the marketing analytics firm that allegedly breached Facebook’s data rules in order to help politicians win elections continues. The UK privacy watchdog has ordered that Facebook’s own investigators must vacate Cambridge Analytica’s offices to preserve the “integrity” of its planned raid. Facebook, which has been deeply criticised for failing to protect user data, has so far seen its share price slide nearly 10% on the news. Cambridge Analytica, meanwhile, has said it deleted the data once it realised it had breached Facebook’s policies and denied that it was used by the Trump campaign.

Read more on Facebook:

Alwaleed to Split Company

Prince Alwaleed is looking to split his $13bn Kingdom Holding Company.

Editor’s Remarks: The Saudi investor has suggested he is “likely to split” his investment company in the aftermath of his country’s corruption purge. Speaking to Bloomberg, Alwaleed said that he would first spin off domestic real assets into a new vehicle such as a real estate investment trust. He was also quick to shoot down speculation that he no longer controlled the Kingdom Holding Company after the corruption crackdown, and insisted he still retains a 95% stake in it. Regardless, many foreign investors maintain their reservations and are wary that the company might be brought under state control.

Read more on Saudi Arabia:

Sarkozy in Custody

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is in custody over Libyan campaign funds.

Editor’s Remarks: Sarkozy was arrested yesterday in connection with an investigation into whether Libyan funds were used to finance his 2007 presidential campaign. The allegations involve a sum of €50m being donated by the then Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which would have constituted illegal funding. This is not the first time a French politician has been accused of corruption: in 2011, former president Jacques Chirac was given a two-year suspended sentence for misusing public money. Under French law, Sarkozy can be detained for up to 48 hours, after which he will be under formal investigation.

Read more on France:

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