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Mexican brands dominate the Brand Finance ranking of the most valuable in Latin America in 2020

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Corona tops the list with a value of $ 8 billion.

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October 14, 2020 2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

  • Mexico and Brazil are the countries with the most brands on the list.
  • Corona tops the list with a value of $ 8 billion.

Brand Finance , a consultancy specializing in brand valuation and strategy, announced the most valuable brands in Latin America in 2020 and Mexican brands dominated the list occupying 37 positions and representing 42% of the total value of the list. Also, five of them are in the top 10.

Brazil was placed as the second country with the most brands in the ranking with a total of 33 that represent 38% of the value of the list. According to Brand Finance, the combined value of the companies in the index is $ 143 billion.

Corona took the position of the most valuable brand in the region, which tops the list with a value of 8 billion dollars. On the other hand, there are 12 Chilean, 8 Colombian and 5 Argentine brands.

Within the top 10 of the 100 most valuable brands in Latin America are:

  1. Corona (Mexico) with 8.065 million dollars.

  2. Pemex (Mexico) with 6,892 million dollars.

  3. Itaú (Brazil) with 6,832 million dollars.

  4. Bradesco (Brazil) with 6.688 million dollars.

  5. Claro (Mexico) with 6.145 million dollars.

  6. Caixa (Brazil) with 4.838 million dollars.

  7. Victoria (Mexico) with 4.622 million dollars.

  8. Banco Do Brasil (Brazil) 4,554 million dollars.

  9. Modelo (Mexico) with 3,754 million dollars.

  10. Petrobas (Brazil) with 3,719 million dollars.

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Help! My Travel Agency Shut Down and I’m Out $2,000

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Earlier this year, I used STA Travel to book a British Airways flight from Tucson, Ariz., to South Africa, scheduled to depart in March. Then the pandemic hit, one of the flight legs was canceled and I canceled my trip. After some back and forth, STA secured a refund from British Airways. I was told by an STA representative that my airfare — $2,059.36 — would be credited back to my credit card account within 60 days. Two months came and went. Then I learned that STA had gone out of business. Kaitlin

When I first read your email, I was hit with an inkling of hope that your credit card company could rush in and save the day. Still, I set off to learn more about the laws and policies at play, so I did usually do when I start a Tripped Up column: I emailed some industry sources and started a Google Doc to organize my thoughts.

The notes became a rabbit hole, expanding with news coverage of STA’s collapse, a list of potential interview subjects, email addresses for international press offices and lengthy financial documents. From the chicken scratch, one truth emerged: Anyone attempting to recoup funds from an out-of-business company will likely confront uphill battles, tall orders and every other cliché in the book.

“In general, when a company goes into bankruptcy, basically it’s the vultures picking over the bones,” said Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. “The last people who will get a piece of those bones are going to be the unsecured creditors: the consumers.”

Formerly a major travel agency for youth and student trips, STA Travel filed for bankruptcy in August after a crippling flurry of pandemic-related cancellations; it was the first major travel agency to fall because of the pandemic. Although STA’s Instagram account has been dormant for more than two months, the comments live on as a record of unanswered questions and in-limbo refunds: “I have a student that is needing an update on her refund status and there is literally no way to reach anyone,” wrote one user. “I wonder how many people got robbed of their hard-saved holiday money,” lamented another.

From the start, your case felt like a maze of sharp corners and dead ends. First I visited the STA Travel website: shut down. Then I emailed the customer service agent you had corresponded with: bounceback. When I reached out to the press office of Diethelm Keller Group, STA’s former parent company that is based in Switzerland, and I got the following statement back: “As STA Travel Holding AG is in insolvency proceedings, Diethelm Keller Group is not in a position to provide further support or information.”

I contacted the Arizona Attorney General’s office after discovering one address for STA in Arizona — possibly a franchise — but was told by a spokeswoman that all consumer complaints are confidential.

I considered calling British Airways, but decided against it; after all, the airline had already canceled your tickets and refunded your money (to STA). Customers hoping to cancel active reservations might have luck by appealing directly to the travel company in question, but anyone waiting for an in-process refund from an intermediary like STA probably would not.

I also thought about what would happen if you were to file a complaint with the Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection, but decided that the particulars of your situation would almost certainly translate into more wasted time. There are simply too many layers of gray areas: Only one of your flight legs was canceled by the airline, you purchased tickets from a third-party seller and your refund had already ostensibly been approved.

Travel insurance wouldn’t have necessarily been a magic bullet, either, said Jennifer Fitzgerald, the co-founder and chief executive of Policygenius, an online insurance marketplace. Even when policies do cover the financial default of a travel supplier, they come with loads of caveats, restrictions and conditions.

“Not every travel insurance policy includes financial default protection, and not every provider will be covered,” said Ms. Fitzgerald. “For example, third-party sellers, like travel agencies, will tend not to qualify as travel suppliers, so travel insurance financial default protection won’t cover them.”

I got about 10 pages into a 90-page bankruptcy document outlining the liquidity ratio of STA’s New Zealand arm before (to use another cliché) going back to square one: the credit card company.

Some credit cards include financial insolvency protection (designed to help cardholders when a travel merchant goes bankrupt) in trip cancellation insurance. Others, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve card you used, exclude financial insolvency protection from insurance, handling it through standard disputes channels instead.

In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase said, “A cardmember can submit a dispute as a result of merchant financial insolvency, which we review on a case-by-case basis.”

The Fair Credit Billing Act, a federal law enacted to protect consumers from unfair credit billing practices, doesn’t have a specific carve-out for a merchant’s financial insolvency, but it does consider “charges for goods and services you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed” one of several types of billing errors that consumers have the right to dispute. And although every credit card dispute hinges on the particulars, this is the easiest, most actionable move for lone consumers battling a company that has all but evaporated.

You might wonder, as I did, whether things are more complicated because you’re an American citizen trying to get a refund from an insolvent Swiss company for a canceled British flight. But so long as the consumer’s account with the credit card issuer (a bank, most likely) is based in the United States, and credit is issued to a United States resident, the transaction is covered by the billing error rules of the F.C.B.A.

To protect your rights under the F.C.B.A. in the Before Times, you would have had 60 days from the statement with the billing error to dispute the charge. But these times are hardly normal. That’s why a representative at JPMorgan Chase — citing “your atypical situation with this merchant” — issued you a full refund.

My quest unearthed other tips: Even if you’re filing a dispute through a credit card’s online channels, be sure to also submit the dispute in writing, via snail-mail, to the address the card issuer specifies for billing errors (a condition of the F.C.B.A.). The Federal Trade Commission has a good sample letter online. If you’re not making headway, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has jurisdiction over the country’s largest banks.

One final word of advice — and one final cliché — from Mr. Rheingold: “It’s about the squeaky wheel, right? Putting something out on social media: ‘Can you believe what this company did to me?’ Or saying, ‘I’ve been a cardmember for the last 20 years and I’m getting rid of it from now.’ That’s not legal advice — that’s just practical. That’s when you get your money back.”

Sarah Firshein is a Brooklyn-based writer. If you need advice about a best-laid travel plan that went awry, send an email to travel@nytimes.com.


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Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ Editor Starts Her Own Publishing Firm

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Two years ago, at what seemed to be the pinnacle of her 25 years in publishing, Molly Stern’s career came to an abrupt halt.

As publisher of Crown, Ms. Stern had released 2018’s biggest blockbuster — Michelle Obama’s memoir, “Becoming,” which sold more than two million copies in its first two weeks. Less than a month later, Ms. Stern left the company in a shake-up, after Penguin Random House merged the Crown and Random House publishing divisions.

Her departure baffled many in the industry because of Ms. Stern’s track record for spotting both commercial and literary hits. A natural next move would have been to set up shop with her own imprint at a rival publishing house, but as she surveyed the landscape, she decided she wanted to build something from scratch.

“What I really wanted to do was tend to my own obsessions and figure out how to do it independently,” she said in an interview this week. “The opportunity to do something new was just too exciting.”

Ms. Stern is starting a new publishing company, Zando, with an unusual marketing and publicity model. Rather than relying chiefly on bookstores, retailers, advertising and other traditional channels to promote authors, she plans to team up with high-profile individuals, companies and brands, who will act as publishing partners and promote books to their fans and customers.

Zando is in advanced negotiations with several potential partners, Ms. Stern said, though the company was not prepared to name them or announce projects. Zando’s partners will get a cut of the royalties; Ms. Stern declined to provide specific breakdowns.

Launching a new publishing venture in an oversaturated media ecosystem — not to mention during a pandemic and economic crisis — may seem like a risky undertaking. But Ms. Stern has aligned herself with deep-pocketed backers.

This summer, she received a significant start-up investment from Sister, an independent global studio that was founded in 2019 by the media executive Elisabeth Murdoch, the film industry executive Stacey Snider and the producer Jane Featherstone. Ms. Stern, Ms. Murdoch and Ms. Snider will sit on Zando’s board of directors, along with Matthew Lieber, co-founder of the podcasting company Gimlet, and David Benioff, one of the producers of “Game of Thrones.”

Ms. Murdoch said in an interview that she wanted to invest in Ms. Stern’s publishing company because it aligned with Sister’s goal of producing high-quality entertainment from emerging writers. The team behind Sister produced the HBO series “Chernobyl” and the British thriller “Broadchurch.”

“When you have a world of massive consolidation and homogeneity, Molly and Sister have a huge passion for new voices,” Ms. Murdoch, the daughter of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, said.

With her industry experience, Ms. Stern may also have an advantage when it comes to signing authors. During her tenure at Crown, the company published blockbusters like Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One,” Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” and Andy Weir’s “The Martian,” as well as breakout works of translation like Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian,” which won the Booker International Prize. At Crown, Ms. Stern helped the actress Sarah Jessica Parker start her own literary fiction imprint, an experience she drew on in creating the business model for Zando.

“That’s an advantage she has from being in the business for as long as she has,” said the literary agent David Kuhn. “There will be authors who have worked with Molly in the past who will be much more open to trying something different.”

By aligning authors with cultural ambassadors of sorts, Zando aims to deploy star power to keep its books from drowning in a sea of online content.

“Discoverability is a real crisis,” Ms. Stern said. At Crown, when she was publishing books by lesser-known authors, the lack of broad support was constantly frustrating, even when authors got positive reviews and retail promotion.

“You felt that you were publishing into a vacuum,” she said. “To find an audience is increasingly complicated.”

Several celebrities and public figures, including Jenna Bush Hager, Emma Watson and Reese Witherspoon, have started book clubs and emerged as literary influencers. Ms. Witherspoon’s endorsements helped turn novels like “Little Fires Everywhere” and “Where the Crawdads Sing” into hits, and she has made her media company, Hello Sunshine, into a book-to-screen factory.

As an independent publishing company, Zando can also experiment with distribution in ways that might be challenging for legacy publishers. Ms. Stern said she would rely on traditional distribution networks to get print copies to bookstores but also plans to experiment with alternative distribution channels such as direct-to-consumer sales. She also plans to make audio a centerpiece of the company’s content; after leaving Crown, she has advised Spotify on how to build its audiobook business.

Zando expects to publish its first books in the fall of 2021. Ms. Stern, who will take on the role of chief executive, initially plans to hire eight staff members and later to grow to a staff of 20. She came up with the name as a nod to the first letters of her sons’ names, Zach and Owen.

Follow New York Times Books on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar. And listen to us on the Book Review podcast.

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Forget Antitrust Laws. To Limit Tech, Some Say a New Regulator Is Needed.

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For decades, America’s antitrust laws — originally designed to curb the power of 19th-century corporate giants in railroads, oil and steel — have been hailed as “the Magna Carta of free enterprise” and have proved remarkably durable and adaptable.

But even as the Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against Google on Tuesday for unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in search and search advertising, a growing number of legal experts and economists have started questioning whether traditional antitrust is up to the task of addressing the competitive concerns raised by today’s digital behemoths. Further help, they said, is needed.

Antitrust cases typically proceed at the stately pace of the courts, with trials and appeals that can drag on for years. Those delays, the legal experts and economists said, would give Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple a free hand to become even more entrenched in the markets they dominate.

A more rapid-response approach is required, they said. One solution: a specialist regulator that would focus on the major tech companies. It would establish and enforce a set of basic rules of conduct, which would include not allowing the companies to favor their own services, exclude competitors or acquire emerging rivals and require them to permit competitors access to their platforms and data on reasonable terms.

The British government has already said it would create a digital markets unit, with calls for a Big Tech regulator to also be introduced in the European Union and in Australia. In the United States, recommendations for a digital markets regulator have also been made in expert reports and in congressional testimony. It could be a separate agency or perhaps a digital division inside the Federal Trade Commission.

Significantly, the leading proponents of this path in the United States are mainstream antitrust experts and economists rather than break-’em-up firebrands. Jason Furman, a professor at Harvard University and chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration, led an advisory group to the British government that recommended the creation of a digital markets unit in 2019.

Image“I’m a small ‘c’ conservative, and I’m not a fan of regulation generally,” said Jason Furman, a Harvard University professor. “But it’s needed in this space.”
Credit…Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Breaking up the big tech companies, Mr. Furman said, is a bad idea because that would risk losing some of the consumer benefits these digital utilities undeniably deliver. A regulator is necessary to police digital markets and the behavior of the tech giants, he said.

“I’m a small ‘c’ conservative, and I’m not a fan of regulation generally,” Mr. Furman said. “But it’s needed in this space.”

Regulators that focus on specific sectors of the economy are common in the United States. For financial markets, there is the Securities and Exchange Commission; for airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration; for pharmaceuticals, the Food and Drug Administration; for telecommunications, the Federal Communications Commission; and so on.

There is also precedent for picking out a handful of big companies for special treatment. In banking, the biggest banks with the most customers and loans are classified as “systemically important financial institutions” and subject to more stringent scrutiny.

Several supporters of a new tech regulator were officials in the Obama administration, which was known for being friendly to Silicon Valley. But the advocates said that experience — as well as the conservative, pro-big business drift of court rulings in recent years — left them frustrated with antitrust law as the only way to restrain the growing market power and conduct of the big tech companies.

“The mechanism of antitrust is not working to protect competition,” said Fiona Scott Morton, an official in the Justice Department’s antitrust division in the Obama administration, who is an economist at the Yale University School of Management. “So let’s do something else — use a different tool.”

Ms. Scott Morton led an expert panel on antitrust in a report last year on digital platforms by the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. The report recommended the creation of a regulatory authority. (Ms. Scott Morton has been a forceful critic of Google, but also a consultant to Apple and Amazon.)

Such a regulatory approach carries the risk of government’s meddling in a fast-moving industry that could hobble innovation, some antitrust experts warned. While antitrust law reacts to alleged anticompetitive behavior and can thus be slow, that shortcoming is preferable to prescriptive government rules and regulations, they said.

“I’m very uncomfortable with the regulatory path, especially if it means things like getting government approval for product changes,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. “The history of regulation shows that it is an innovation killer.”

A. Douglas Melamed, a former general counsel of Intel and a former antitrust official in the Justice Department, shared that concern. But Mr. Melamed, a member of the expert panel for the Stigler Center report, said the tech giants did pose a competition problem.

“I think regulation might make sense if it is narrowly focused, not running the industry,” said Mr. Melamed, who is a professor at Stanford Law School.

The last major antitrust action against a big technology company was the landmark Microsoft case in the 1990s. The case began with a suit filed in 1994 by the Federal Trade Commission and a simultaneous consent decree.

The Justice Department and several states later picked up the pursuit, investigated anew, filed suit and conducted an exhaustive trial. Microsoft was found to have repeatedly violated the nation’s antitrust laws, and the company then reached a settlement with the government, which a federal court approved in 2002.

In the Microsoft case, the antitrust legal process worked, in its way. Yet its impact is still debated. Without the suit and years of scrutiny, some observers said, Microsoft could have throttled the rise of Google.

Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

But others said the technological shift toward the internet and away from the personal computer meant that Microsoft had lost the gatekeeper power it once held. Technology, not antitrust, they insisted, opened the door to competition.

Triumph or not, the Microsoft case was two decades ago. Proponents of a new regulator said antitrust law was ill suited by itself to restraining today’s faster-moving digital giants. In the internet economy, they said, the forces that reinforce and expand the power of a market leader — called network effects — are stronger and more rapid than in the personal computer era.

“Antitrust is not a fully adequate tool to deal with the companies that dominate these markets,” said Gene Kimmelman, who was on the Stigler Center panel and a co-author of a recent report by the Shorenstein Center at Harvard that called for the creation of a “digital platform agency” in America.

Another argument for the regulatory option is that competition concerns now span four companies, not just one. Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google are in different markets, including search, online advertising, e-commerce and social networks. Bringing separate antitrust cases against them would most likely be beyond the resources of the government.

“When the competition issues are larger than a single firm, regulation might be the better tool to use,” said Andrew I. Gavil, a law professor at Howard University.

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