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On the second day of the French presidential runoff campaign, candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen diverged. He laid low ahead of a rally on Wednesday, while she visited a Paris meat market and tried to paint her rival as an out-of-touch elitist. If that sounds reminiscent of the U.S. election, here’s another chilling similarity: Security consultant Trend Micro says the Macron campaign has been the target of repeated cyber-attacks potentially linked to Russian intelligence services. — Andy Reinhardt
Europe’s richest just got $27.5 billion richer, thanks to Macron’s emergence as the front-runner in the French election. Spanish retail mogul Amancio Ortega added $2.7 billion to his fortune as markets surged, again unseating Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the second-richest person in the world.
Realpolitik. In one of the stranger moments of a very strange epoch, U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka shared the stage today at a conference in Berlin about women’s empowerment with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF chief Christine Lagarde. Trump was humble about her new position as a White House adviser. Merkel is said to see the younger Trump as a tempering influence in the administration and potential back-channel conduit to her father. Ivanka drew groans when she defended his attitudes toward women.
A luxury empire grows bigger. French billionaire Bernard Arnault’s LVMH is buying Christian Dior in a $13 billion deal. Purchasing the iconic French fashion house, whose designers have ranged from Pierre Cardin to John Galliano, crowns Arnault’s career as the biggest consolidator in the business. LVMH, 47% controlled by Arnault’s family, already bought Dior perfumes and beauty in the 1960s.
Good news and bad. European investors who shunned London’s commercial property in the run-up to the Brexit referendum are flocking back. The weaker pound and political uncertainty on the continent have attracted buyers for offices, shops and warehouses at more than twice the rate of a year earlier. On the other hand, the number of unsold London homes under construction rose to a record in the first quarter as higher taxes, affordability issues and economic doubts dampen demand for high-end properties.
Kafka goes to Athens. There’s an absurdity to the latest twist in the Greek debt crisis. The indebted nation needs €7 billion ($7.6 billion) of bailout money to repay lenders in a few months, but European nations like Germany refuse to put up more cash until the IMF comes on board. The IMF won’t lend until Germany and others ease Greece’s debt burden. Here’s our attempt to explain.
It’s a fast-food world. Burger giant McDonald’s bucked the restaurant slump and its own recent difficulties to report surprisingly strong same-store gains last quarter, driven in part by a revamped Big Mac. International markets provide about two-thirds of the company’s revenue, and sales in the U.K. and Canada grew far faster than in the U.S.
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha