A Strange Voice on the Phone

Angela Merkel’s party comes up short in Germany. In yesterday’s election, the center-left Social Democratic Party led by Olaf Scholz won 1.6 percentage points more of the vote than Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party. But with only around 26 percent of the vote, the Social Democrats will have to form a coalition to govern, which could get messy.

Britain struggles with fuel shortages and other supply disruptions. Panic buying led to long lines at gas stations over the weekend, with many saying that they are now out of fuel. An acute shortage of truck drivers is behind fuel and food shortages, leading Prime Minister Boris Johnson to issue thousands of special visas for foreign drivers and to suspend some competition rules.

Google takes on the E.U. in court. A five-day hearing starts today in which the tech giant is challenging a 2018 antitrust fine of more than $5 billion. The European Union said that Google had abused its power in the smartphone market; the penalty was the first in a number of rulings targeting U.S. tech giants in Europe.

Huawei’s long-running sanctions case is resolved. Meng Wanzhou, the Chinese company’s finance chief who had been detained in Canada since 2018, reached a deal with the U.S. Justice Department, allowing her to return to China in exchange for admitting wrongdoing in a fraud case that became symbolic of China and America’s fraying relationship. In return, two Canadians who had been imprisoned in China since Meng’s detention were freed.

Polestar, the Swedish high-end electric vehicle company, has signed a deal to go public at a $20 billion valuation, via a merger with a SPAC backed by the Gores Group and Guggenheim Capital. Polestar is owned by Volvo Cars and Volvo’s Chinese parent, Geely, with other investors including Leonardo DiCaprio. Polestar’s equity owners will roll over all of their interest in the deal and ultimately retain a 94 percent stake in the company.

Polestar has two models on the road, and it wants to launch three more by 2024. It delivered approximately 10,000 vehicles in 2020, but lags far behind the market leader, Tesla. “Compared to us, Tesla is a very old company,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar’s C.E.O. Rather than spend capital building out electric-charging infrastructure, as Tesla did, Polestar can take advantage of existing infrastructure, he said. (In the U.S., that may still not be enough.)


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