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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

What we’re tracking on 05 June 2018

It’s a relatively quiet morning in Egypt and and around the world. The four global business most relevant to your day include:

#1 — Cerberus Capital Management is offering USD 125 mn for Abraaj’s private equity business, the Wall Street Journal reports. The firm’s execs reportedly hope the bid “brings stability while [Abraaj] works out financial obligations with creditors,” the newspaper reports. Abraaj held a meeting in Dubai yesterday with creditors, investors and others, saying in a news release (not available on its website as of this morning) that a sale was discussed, but stopping short of mentioning New York-based Cerberus. Cerberus has “gained the edge over Colony NorthStar, which had earlier held talks with Abraaj about buying its fund management business,” the Journal adds. (You can check out Cerberus’ Bloomberg page here; its website was down at dispatch time.)

#2 — Apple announced a pile of new software features for Mac and iOS yesterday, but no new hardware and (as expected) no ‘tentpole’ features for iOS as it focuses on stability, speed, parental controls and smartphone addiction. Mac lovers, in particular, will be waking to a smile this morning. We like FaceTime conferences with up to 32 people for iOS and the very cool dark mode and ‘quick look’ features for macOS. The betas are out for developers now; normals will get access when the new software rolls out this fall, along with new versions of watchOS and tvOS. Last night’s event in California is front-page news across the global business press:

True iSheep can explore all the new features or watch the keynote video (runtime: 2:16:10) on Apple’s WWDC homepage here.

#3 — Starbucks boss Howard Schultz is stepping down amid speculation he is mulling a bid for the White House in 2020. The chain expanded from 11 stores in 1987 to more than 28k outlets in 77 countries under his leadership. “For some time now, I have been deeply concerned about our country — the growing division at home and our standing in the world,” he told the New York Times in an interview yesterday. The story is front-page news globally, with Politico, the FT and the WSJ all giving it prominent play. (Trigger warning for the politically sane among us: You can expect our local tin-foil-hat brigade will link arms with its international compatriots and focus on Schultz’s dastardly (and long-debunked) love of our neighbors to the east.)

#4 — Microsoft has indeed bought coding platform Github in a USD 7.5 bn transaction that has spawned all manner of bad headlines (“Microsoft Gits Github”) and that leaves Github’s founders with more Microsoft shares than the company’s current CEO. The WSJ has more.

Closer to home: The second phase of official trade union elections gets underway today, Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan announced, Al Mal reports. The first phase of voting had kicked off last month, marking the first trade union elections in 12 years. The voting comes six months after the contentious Labor Unions Act — which has been widely criticized by international organizations — made its way through Parliament.

Jordanian PM resigns as austerity protests continue to escalate: Protests in Jordan against proposed tax increases and austerity measures culminated in the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Mulki yesterday, BBC reports. Jordan’s King Abdullah had demanded Mulki’s resignation yesterday and has reportedly tapped the country’s education minister to form a new government. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi spoke to King Abdullah on the phone yesterday to discuss unspecified issues of mutual interest, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

Saudi Arabia began issuing driver’s licenses to women yesterday, three weeks ahead of a scheduled plan to allow women to get behind the wheel of a car, Bloomberg reports. Ten women became the first in Saudi to receive licenses. The licenses were handed out with little fanfare, with very little media present. Bloomberg notes that several women activists who have called for the right to drive have been arrested in recent weeks on charges of being foreign collaborators.

Your Ramadan rundown for today:

Bank hours run 09:30 am to 01:30 pm for customers and from 09:00 am to 02:00 pm for employees.

The EGX is running shorter trading hours. The trading session kicks off at 10:00 am, but closes at 1:30 pm. Tap or click here for the full schedule.

So, when do we eat? For those of us observing, Maghrib is at 6:54 pm CLT today. You’ll have until 3:09 am tomorrow to finish your sohour.

The latest addition to our TBR pile is legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s memoir, Reporter, set to be released today. Hersh will be most familiar to the majority of our readers for breaking the news of the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq and the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. The New York Times had an interview with the grumpiest man in journalism yesterday to mark the publication of the book.

A story that will give every parent the chills: This profile of a school shooter in the Wall Street Journal, which looks at “what turns a teen into a killer.”

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