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Transactions that match buyers with retailers on the Chinese group’s website grew 220 pct in the fourth quarter, far outstripping growth in direct sales. Acting as a middleman, like larger rival Alibaba, may offer better margins. Earnings are still absent, but look less elusive.

Trust Citi to win from losing most profitable unit

The U.S. mega-bank has at last offloaded OneMain to rival Springleaf for $4.25 bln. The subprime unit’s 6.7 pct return on assets far exceeds anything else at Citi. And yet the deal provides a one-off income boost, frees up capital, accesses tax breaks and removes a distraction.

Rob Cox: Silicon Valley's boom-boom room moment

These days the talk of the geek enclave isn’t the latest Mary Meeker report or mega-IPO but complex legal complaints alleging naughty behavior by leading venture capitalists. The lawsuits are the latest reminder that the tech industry’s moral exceptionalism is undeserved.

Barclays' trading woes offset pay restraint

The UK bank has cut investment bank bonuses by a quarter, atoning for a PR gaffe last year when pay rose despite a drop in profit. But 2014 results show returns in the unit are also lower. To maintain its turnaround, Barclays may have to shrink the misfiring division further

Alibaba's split nationalities invite trouble

Taiwan wants to boot the e-commerce group out for not declaring itself Chinese. Yet Alibaba’s home changes depending on who asks. China’s taxman sees Hong Kong, licensing bodies see China, and investors see the Cayman Islands. The confusion may encourage regulatory meddling.

Tech drive strips old-school carmakers of clout

Apple is the latest to take an interest. From Tesla to Google, the shift to connected, self-driving vehicles may take a while, but it could shake up everything from systems to materials to car usage. The winners may be able to rev up returns far higher than current performance.

French telco buyout shows dealmaker in a hurry

Vivendi is selling its residual 20 pct in Numericable-SFR to the mobile operator itself and parent Altice for 3.9 bln euros. This helps Altice’s billionaire boss Patrick Drahi prepare for a follow-on deal with Bouygues. It’s harder to see why Vivendi would accept a big markdown.