Europe Daily Briefing: EU's Google probe, Easyjet adds flights, Allianz profits drop 29%

5 August: Your round-up of the issues leading today's agenda

5 August: Your round-up of the issues leading today's agenda


  • The European Commission has opened an in-depth probe into Google’s $2.1 billion takeover of Fitbit Inc. -- an investigation that focuses on the potentially huge value of its trove of customer data, Bloomberg reports. The EU authority will investigate how Google could bolster its “data advantage” in online advertising with information it collects from Fitbit fitness. The probe, which has an initial Dec. 9 deadline, raises the risk of a potential veto. The commission “seems to be finally seizing a unique opportunity to stand up to digital dominance that seeks to exploit our most intimate data for profit,” said Ioannis Kouvakas of Privacy International, which lobbied for a longer EU probe.

     
  • German logistics group Deutsche Post AG reported a bigger rise in second-quarter operating profit on Wednesday than when it originally published preliminary figures last month as it benefits from a big rise in ecommerce during the pandemic, says Reuters. Deutsche Post DHL, one of the world’s biggest post andfreight companies, said operating profit rose 19% to 912 million euros (823.10 million pounds) on revenue up 3% to 16 billion euros, both ahead of average analyst forecasts. Deutsche Post last month said it expected quarterly operating profit came in around 890 million euros. On Wednesday, it reiterated the guidance it gave last month for 2020 and its medium-term outlook.

     
  • German insurer Allianz on Wednesday posted a 29% fall in net profit in the second quarter from a year earlier, as the coronavirus pandemic slows business, CNBC reports. Net profit attributable to shareholders of €1.53 billion ($1.81 billion) compares with €2.14 billion euros a year earlier. It was higher than a €1.48 billion consensus forecast.

     
  • EasyJet is adding more flights to cope with increasing demand from holidaymakers, the BBC reports. The airline had expected to operate at just 30% of its normal capacity, but is expanding its schedule to 40% as more people look to escape lockdown. It restarted flying in June and carried over two million passengers in July. "Returning to the skies again allows us to do what we do best and take our customers on much-needed holidays," said boss Johan Lundgren.

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