Having become used to A grades being handed out liberally in New York schools, I was taken aback to find a report card with an overall grade of D+. That is the current assessment of US infrastructure by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The ASCE has a stake in persuading the US public to invest in infrastructure. Still, it is hard to contest the view that one of the weaknesses of the country’s economy is the poor state of its roads, railways, airports and other transport infrastructure. Read more
Royal Mail and Chrysler are both businesses with a proud industrial legacy that suffered in recent decades and each has embarked on an initial public offering. The outcomes are quite different.
Shares in Royal Mail soared on their stock market debut today, raising questions about whether the UK government and its advisers underpriced the deal. The heavy demand for shares, despite trenchant opposition from the Royal Mail’s trade unions, recalls the days of Margaret Thatcher’s privatisations. Read more
With its sale of composite, fuel-efficient A350 jets to Japan Airlines this week, Airbus entered a market that Boeing has, until now, controlled. It also proved Boeing’s point. The era of the grand aviation project, symbolised by Airbus’s decision more than a decade ago to build the A380 as a superjumbo rival to the Boeing 747, is over.
If you think lawyers are boring, I advise you to read James Stewart’s fascinating account in the New Yorker magazine of the rise and fall of Dewey & LeBoeuf, the US law firm that collapsed spectacularly last year, amid partner disharmony and financial chaos.
It has appearances from, among others, Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, the acting head of the Bonnano crime family, and some breathtaking compensation practices. Stewart reports that Morton Pierce, then co-chairman of Dewey Ballantine, was guaranteed compensation of $35m over five years in the merger with LeBoeuf in 2007. Read more
Is Twitter showing its principles, or its lack of principals?
One striking thing about the Twitter S-1 filing for its initial public offering was that it will have a single class of shares, with equal voting rights. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn and other recent Silicon Valley entrants to the public markets, it is trusting in shareholder democracy. Read more
Score one for the Louisiana legal system. BP has gained a notable, and rather unexpected, victory in the US appeals court in New Orleans over Patrick Juneau, the administrator of claims for damages relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
BP went to court over the way Mr Juneau interpreted its settlement with businesses claiming compensation. It argued that he was allowing loose claims by businesses that happened to suffer a dip in revenues after the spill simply because of cashflow anomalies. Read more
There is more than one way to lead in the smartphone industry, and China is at work on all of them.
No longer content to copy foreign products. China is developing brands to compete with Apple and Samsung. Xiaomi is known as its answer to Apple, and Huawei and ZTE, the equipment companies, have moved into handsets. Read more