Fiat-Renault, Mexico Tariffs, World Cup: Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning,

We’re covering the French government’s role in the crumbling of the Fiat-Renault merger, progress on a deal between the U.S. and Mexico, and two teenagers who are running a presidential campaign.

It was supposed to be a transformative merger in an industry facing intractable challenges.

In the end, the French government infuriated both Fiat and Renault executives, who wanted to create a competitive new industrial giant free of state influence, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

What happened: The merger appeared to be sealed after more than four hours of negotiations on Wednesday night in Paris. Then France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, stunned those present with a request to delay the vote for five days to consult with his Japanese counterpart.

Soon after, the chief executive of Fiat Chrysler quit the talks.

Points of tension: The government insisted on a number of concessions, including job guarantees, a seat on the new company’s board as well as veto power over appointments of a future chief executive.

Reminder: Renault is often described as a crown jewel of French industry. The government is under political pressure to save well-paying jobs, and national pride was at stake as it considered a tie-up with an Italian-American organization.

We’re not talking gothic architecture (think Notre-Dame) or gothic literature (think “Wuthering Heights”) or even, really, the Teutonic tribes of the third century.

These goths hark back to the youth subculture that branched out of early 1980s punk music, particularly two bands: The Cure and Bauhaus.

This year’s festival has more than 200 artists performing over four days, in addition to Renaissance fairs, Viking shops, film premieres and literary readings.

Goth is as much a fashion aesthetic as a musical one, and Leipzig will be awash in heavily made-up vampires, pagans, Victorians and pretty much anything to do with horror, decadence and the dark side.

Germany is “almost single-handedly keeping goth alive,” Alice Pattillo wrote last month in “20 Reasons Why Goth Will Never Die.”

Yesterday, our “What we’re reading” incorrectly identified David Young as a talent agency head. He is the head of the union representing Hollywood writers.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank you
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Kenneth R. Rosen for the break from the news. Victoria Shannon, on the briefings team, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is Part 1 of a two-part series about a genetic database that is transforming law enforcement and testing the limits of privacy.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: What the Spanish “me gusta” means (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times pop music critic Jon Caramanica hosts a weekly podcast, “Popcast,” which discusses the latest in music, from conversations about the biggest albums and songs to breaking news analysis.

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