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Japan’s SoftBank is set to sell a $8bn stake in Arm the UK chip designer, to the new Saudi-backed Vision Fund. SoftBank bought Arm only six months ago and the sale will place 25 per cent of the company in the $100bn fund. The SoftBank-led fund is trying to secure the backing of Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi state-backed investment group, which wants the fund to own a portion of Arm.

By selling a portion of Arm to the fund, Masayoshi Son is likely to invite closer scrutiny of his burgeoning role as a global dealmaker, especially now that his investments are made through a fund with a diverse array of investors. SoftBank has already promised a $50bn investment and creation of 50,000 jobs in the US and is looking for deals to bolster its US wireless carrier Sprint. It is one of three Asian tech titans targeting the US with jobs and investment. (FT)

In the news

Erdogan’s plans slammed Europe’s leading human rights watchdog has warned that Turkey risks sliding towards “an authoritarian and personal regime” under a constitutional overhaul proposed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president, in the wake of a failed military coup. The Council of Europe said proposed changes would reinforce Mr Erdogan’s grip on power and are a “dangerous step backwards” in Turkey’s democratic tradition. Mr Erdogan has been trying to garner support for his reforms among expat Turks in Germany, embroiling him in an acrimonious spat with Berlin. (FT, Politico)

WikiLeaks claims CIA hacks smartphones WikiLeaks released thousands of documents that it claimed expose the inner workings of the CIA’s cyber-espionage operations, detailing how the agency hacks our smartphones, internet-connected TVs and other everyday devices. But some observers argued that the documents did not prove that the CIA could hack into secured messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Signal, as the whistleblowing website claimed. If you are worried about the security of your device, here’s a useful explainer. (FT, BuzzFeed, NYT)

Nike launches a sport hijab The US-based company is the first large sportswear brand to manufacture a high-performance sports hijab. It is another step into the lucrative Islamic clothing market — expected to be worth more than $5tn by 2020. (Guardian)

Fillon’s woes deepen French presidential hopeful François Fillon has been accused of receiving an undeclared loan of €50,000 from a billionaire friend in 2013. The Republican party candidate has been battling to stay in the race after allegations that he paid €880,000 in state funds to family members for fictitious jobs. (FT)

Republican health plan on life support The healthcare plan pitched by Republican leaders in Congress and backed by Donald Trump has been slammed, with conservatives calling it Obamacare 2.0 and Democrats criticising how it would leave millions without coverage. Analyses said the plan would cost more and cover fewer people, while offering the rich a hefty tax break and slashing benefits for the poor. (FT, Vox, NYT)

It’s a big day for

Women Events are taking place around the world for International Women’s Day. There will be strikes, protests and activism globally. Keep up with this live blog. The FT’s Women in Business Special Report, features four practical ways for leaders to ensure women contribute fully in the workplace, a look at “ returnships” for women wanting to rejoin the workforce and the launch of a new ranking of leading champions for women in business. (Guardian, FT)

The UK It’s budget day in Britain. Here are six things to look out for, as well as a deeper look at why the UK’s economy has been so resilient since the vote to leave the EU last year. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

Food for thought

Pope Francis under siege Four years after Pope Francis was elected as a non-European Pope capable of breathing new life into Catholicism, he is arguably facing his sharpest backlash yet. Emboldened by the rise of rightwing populists across the west, including the presidency of Donald Trump in the US, critics are stepping up attacks on the Pope’s softer tones on social issues, as well as his openness towards Muslim refugees and support for action on climate change. (FT)

The trouble with Thaad Washington and Seoul’s deployment of a controversial US missile shield on South Korean soil — for protection against North Korea — has riled Beijing. Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, warned that the Thaad defence system “will bring about an arms race” in the region, including a nuclear build-up. In its first comments since the North Korean leader’s brother was assassinated in Malaysia last month, Beijing warned the Pyongyang and Washington against a “ head-on collision”. (FT, NYT)

Real deep states With populist movements seemingly in the ascendancy in the US and Europe, the so-called deep state is frequently invoked as all-pervasive shadow government dominating political life in the country. But in countries like Turkey and Egypt, the term refers to something more concrete. (WaPo)

EU’s far-right future The prospect of a unified Europe was once supported by the racist, far-right. Could this be the future for the European bloc? The French elections will be a deciding factor. (Foreign Policy)

Asia’s Netflix takes on the pirates Research has consistently shown that it is a desire for access, not just greed, that drives piracy. Singapore-based internet-TV start-up iflix, has developed a straightforward way to see what Asian consumers in Vietnam to Pakistan want to watch, but are not able to: just look at what they are stealing. (NAR)

Video of the day

Explaining the Standard Life-Aberdeen deal Madison Marriage of FTfm and Alan Livsey of Lex discuss how the merger is a defensive response to an industry-wide need for consolidation. (FT)

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