Photographer: Power Sport Images/Getty Images
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Just in time for her big speech in Florence, Theresa May won the support of her cabinet for a softened Brexit tone. The British prime minister is expected to touch on trade and Britain’s financial settlement with the EU. With the rest of the bloc united on the need for Britain to pay up, she’s likely to say contributions will continue until 2020. May’s negotiating position has evolved considerably since she declared “Brexit means Brexit” at Lancaster House 15 months ago. — Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha
Off the field. Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is promoting one of the world’s riskiest derivatives to his 59 million Twitter followers. Ronaldo has partnered with Cyprus-based online brokerage Exness Group, which offers complex derivatives called CFDs that offer leverage of as much as 500 times traders’ deposits. European regulators are seeking to curb CFDs because of the risks they pose to retail investors.
War of words. Norwegian Air “is not long for this world,” snips Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair. “That’s just nonsense,” snaps Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos. Despite only a modest overlap of routes and facing their own unique challenges, the two CEOs are now engaged in a very public spat. The bad blood comes after Ryanair and Norwegian ended talks on a deal to transfer passengers on connecting flights, and as Norwegian has begun aggressively recruiting pilots from Ryanair.
A weak showing. French unions were hoping to get a good turnout for protests on Thursday, the day before President Emmanuel Macron’s changes to labor law are expected to become official. But the crowds were disappointing. Police estimated that 16,000 people showed up; unions estimated 55,000, according to Agence France-Presse. That's down a few thousand from another smallish rally on Sept. 12. In June 2016, police estimated that 70,000 people showed up for a demonstration, while the union figure was 200,000.
Money for nothing. Nestlé has been bottling water since 1843, and the world’s largest food and beverage company has also grown into the largest seller of bottled water. But as the company’s operation in Michigan reveals, Nestlé has come to dominate in the industry in part by going into economically depressed areas with lax water laws. It makes billions selling a product for which it pays close to nothing.
An heiress dies. Liliane Bettencourt, the world’s wealthiest woman, has died at age 94. Bettencourt the only child of L’Oreal SA founder Eugene Schueller and owned about one-third of the company’s shares and had a net worth of $42.5 billion. During her lifetime, the Paris-based company grew from a small hair-dye supplier into the largest maker of beauty products.
Standing out. How can an automaker late to a booming market get heard above the crowd? Sweden’s Volvo has a radical offer for its first compact SUV, the XC40: A flat fee of €699 ($840) per month for two years pays for the vehicle plus taxes, insurance, basic maintenance, and even a concierge service to handle tasks like fueling and cleaning. The car can easily be shared among friends—a nod to changing ownership models, especially in urban areas.
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha