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Business news and updates: Daily roundup (August 2, 2021)

Dynamic Business brings you a daily rundown of the most recent business news and developments from Australia and around the world. Here’s the roundup for August 2: 

Square to buy Afterpay in $29 billion deal

Square announced that it is acquiring Australian buy now, pay later giant Afterpay in a $29 billion all-stock deal. This is Australia’s largest corporate transaction.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, contingent upon certain closing conditions. It values Afterpay at more than a 30% premium to its latest closing price of A$96.66.

Australia’s iron ore price tanks

Iron ore prices have dropped under  US$200 a tonne for the first time since May as Australia’s biggest buyer China threatens to reduce its orders while diplomatic relations between the two countries remain frosty.

The price of Australia’s most valuable export commodity slumped by 3 per cent to US$195 a tonne, with concerns China is accelerating measures to reduce its dependence on Aussie iron ore.

Chinese policymakers have flagged a move to cut its steel outputs in the second half of this year, partly to reduce carbon emissions.

Sky News Australia suspended from YouTube

Sky News Australia said it has been temporarily suspended by the video-sharing site YouTube following the platform’s review of content for compliance with its COVID-19 policies.

The 24-hour cable and television channel, which claims to have 1.85 million YouTube subscribers, is operated by the Australian News Channel and is a subsidiary of News Corp Australia. YouTube confirmed the suspension.

Amazon hit by EU privacy fine

Amazon faces a record-breaking €746 million (about $887 million) fine after a European Union data privacy regulator said the e-commerce giant had violated the bloc’s signature privacy law in an advertising-related decision. 

The fine is the largest in the law’s three-year history, followed by Google’s 2019 fine of €50 million.

Regulators said Amazon’s processing of personal data didn’t comply with GDPR requirements, and the company acknowledged it has been ordered to change its business practices.

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi denies plans to go private

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi has denied a report that it was considering going private to appease Chinese authorities. 

Its shares had soared by almost 50% last week after the Wall Street Journal report. Since making its US market debut a month ago the company has been targeted by authorities in Beijing.

Meanwhile, some US senators have called on its financial markets regulator to investigate Chinese share listings.

Zoom reaches $85 million settlement over user privacy, ‘Zoombombing’

Zoom Video Communications agreed to pay $85 million and bolster its security practices to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated users’ privacy rights by sharing personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, and letting hackers disrupt Zoom meetings in a practice called Zoombombing.

Subscribers in the proposed class action would be eligible for 15% refunds on their core subscriptions or $25, whichever is larger, while others could receive up to $15.

Zoom agreed to security measures including alerting users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings and providing specialized training to employees on privacy and data handling.

China securities watchdog seeks closer cooperation with U.S.

China’s securities regulator said it will seek closer cooperation with its U.S. counterpart and will support overseas listings after U.S. regulators tightened disclosure for Chinese companies and voiced concern about Beijing’s regulatory actions.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a statement that it had taken note of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) new requirements for disclosure regarding Chinese companies’ listings and that the two sides should “uphold the spirit of mutual respect”. 

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