For those taking a break this month, choosing a holiday may never have been easier. Increasing numbers of Europe's holidaymakers are opting to build their holidays on the Web: online travel spending in the U.K. rose by 159% in the first quarter of this year. Not surprisingly, traditional operators are feeling the pinch. Shares in Germany's TUI, Europe's largest, have slid by almost 30% since January. And debt-laden British package operator MyTravel recently announced it would cut its aircraft fleet to slash costs, with rival Thomas Cook dropping winter package prices to try to cut losses.
But travel sites aren't necessarily thriving. U.K.-based lastminute.com last week announced
Hallyday In The Sun
It's his biggest hit ever: Johnny Hallyday, France's most popular rock star, last week secured ownership of his personal catalog of some 3,500 songs spanning 43 years from his longtime record label, Universal Music. A Paris court sided with the 61-year-old rocker's claims that the company cheated him by offering a series of favorable loans, and then held debts over his head as a bargaining tool. Hallyday could receive 350 million in damages, though Universal is appealing. "It's like if Elvis Presley decided to sue his producer when he was alive," says Jacques Verrecchia, Hallyday's lawyer. As the first decision of its kind in France, the case could inspire spin-offs. "The consequences could be absolutely catastrophic for the recorded-music business," Universal's lawyer said. Not everyone agrees, but it's likely that other disgruntled artists (are you listening, Prince?) will try to follow Hallyday's lead. By Lee Hudson Teslik
California's Nanosys, a bellwether of the infant nanotechnology sector, called off its initial public offering, citing "adverse market conditions." Despite not having any marketable products, the firm had hoped to raise more than $100 million. And ahead of its own IPO, Google admitted it may have breached U.S. securities laws after failing to register shares and stock options granted to staff between 2001 and 2004. Meanwhile, difficulties registering investors may delay the offering.
|The Bottom Line|
|Please, government, leave my pig alone
|CEDRIC SCHRAPPE, a 4-year-old German, protesting Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's plans to slash unemployment benefits for families whose children have more than €750 in piggy-bank savings|