September 1, 2016 Last Updated 8:21 am

This is what I said, this is what I heard; Twitter sale talk again

Morning Brief: Spanish political turmoil continues as ruling party Partido Popular again fails to win the cooperation of enough members of parliament to form a working government

This was all very predictable: Donald Trump would go to Mexico, say the wanted a wall, be too afraid to mention the crazy idea that Mexico would pay for it, leave, and then give a statement at odds with the statement from the Mexican president.

“Today was the first part of the discussion and a relationship builder between Mr. Trump and President Peña Nieto,” said Jason Miller, Senior Communications Advisor, in a statement. “It was not a negotiation, and that would have been inappropriate. It is unsurprising that they hold two different views on this issue, and we look forward to continuing the conversation.”

Trump said he didn’t bring up who would pay, but Mexico’s president immediate following the meeting made clear he told Trump that his country would not.

No, it was not negotiations, because if it was the result was a disaster. It was meeting with two politicians with bad polling numbers, trying desperately to turn the situation around.

Twitter co-founder Ev Williams gave an interview with Bloomberg TV where he said, rather reluctantly, that the company would consider a sale.

Twitter-logo-300“We’re in a strong position now, and as a board member we have to consider the right options,” said Williams, who remains on the company’s board.

The talk boosted Twitter’s stock a bit yesterday and in after-hours trading, but the stock is still down over 30 percent for the year.

A sale certainly makes sense, especially if Twitter is bought by a company like Google or Facebook who are already advertising giants. Another company some would consider a logical buyer would be Verizon, which now owns AOL.

Spain continues to struggle to get a stable government. Following another round of voting which resulted in the conservative Partido Popular (PP) with the most votes, its leader Mariano Rajoy cannot get the opposition parties to cooperate to form a majority coalition. Yesterday the Socialist party (PSOE) voted against PP in the first round of voting in Spain’s lower house of Parliament.

Rajoy secured 170 votes, six short of the majority needed, receiving only the votes from his own party, the votes from center-right party Ciudadanos, and one from another center-right party Coalición Canaria.

There will be another vote on Friday with the results likely to be the same. Then clock begins ticking down to an end of October deadline to form a working government. If Rajoy fails then it is back to the ballot box where voters are likely to vote the same way again. Rinse and repeat. Such is the fate of nations that treasure obstinance over compromise.

Sounds like the US, no?

Meanwhile, Catalonia continues to press for independence.

“Anyone aspiring to become Spanish president should recognise the reality in Catalonia”, Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, said on Thursday.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook continues to insist that there is no ‘special deal’ between his company and Ireland which allows the tech giant to skirt taxes.

But, of course, whether there is a special deal or not is not the issue at hand, it is the policy which allows Apple to avoid taxes and gives Ireland an advantage over other EU countries.

Apple, which has been in Ireland since 1980, said it would appeal the ruling that it must pay €13 billion plus interest, but its partner in all this is in a bind. Apple is important, but remaining in the EU is a far more important priority.

The issue of taxes is something Apple would certainly wish would go away, or at least stay out of the headlines. Its position, that US corporate taxes are too high in relation to other nations has merit and the need for taxes reform is widely understood. But the idea that the US will simply have another tax holiday is unpopular, as unpopular as corporations or individuals who are seen to be avoiding paying taxes.

That is why Cook continues to hint that soon the company will repatriate billions of dollars of global profits to the United States very soon.

“We paid $400 million to Ireland, we paid $400 (million) to the US and we provisioned several billion dollars for the US for payment as soon as we repatriate it and right now I forecast that repatriation to occur next year,” Cook told Irish television.

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