UK media and telecoms correspondent
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Nov 20, 2014

UK retail sales rebound, set to counter growth slowdown

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) – British retail sales jumped in
October, suggesting that shoppers will take the edge off an
end-of-year economic slowdown as Europe’s weak growth takes its
toll on Britain’s factories.

Sales volumes rose by a much stronger-than-expected 0.8
percent on the month, helped by purchases of furniture after the
housing market surged earlier this year and by falling prices,
data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Thursday.

Nov 18, 2014

Britain to investigate Premier League rights auction

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is investigating whether the way Premier League football match rights are sold is anti-competitive, alarmed by the runaway costs broadcasters have to pay to show the top games in the country’s national sport.

Media regulator Ofcom’s move poses a threat to the business model of the league, which bankrolls the salaries of some of the world’s best players with TV revenues, and to broadcasters Sky (SKYB.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and BT (BT.L: Quote, Profile, Research) who attract subscribers with exclusive matches.

Nov 18, 2014

Britain to investigate Premier League soccer rights auction

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is investigating whether the way Premier League soccer match rights are sold is anti-competitive, alarmed by the runaway costs broadcasters have to pay to show the top games in the country’s national sport.

Media regulator Ofcom’s move poses a threat to the business model of the league, which bankrolls the salaries of some of the world’s best players with TV revenues, and to broadcasters Sky and BT who attract subscribers with exclusive matches.

Nov 13, 2014

Flush from Columbus win, C&W says set to take battle to Caribbean rival

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Cable & Wireless Communications
Plc believes its expensive victory in the battle to buy
broadband and TV provider Columbus will give it the heft it
needs to take on fierce rival Digicel in the Caribbean.

C&W, which has sold operations from Macau to Monaco, agreed
to buy Columbus last week for $1.85 billion plus $1.17 billion
in debt, after fending off competition for the firm backed by
pay-TV mogul John Malone, chairman of Liberty Global Plc
.

Nov 12, 2014

Sainsbury’s cuts back spending to fund lower prices

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Sainsbury’s threw down
the gauntlet to larger rival Tesco on Wednesday, taking
a hit on profits and the dividend to fund lower prices for
customers in the latest escalation of the British supermarket
battle.

Sainsbury’s, which had outperformed the sector for years
until a recent slowdown, plans to cut spending hard, rein in its
property expansion and find more efficiencies in the business to
pay for lower prices.

Nov 11, 2014

Vodafone lifts outlook as new offerings boost demand

LONDON (Reuters) – Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s second-biggest mobile operator, nudged its full-year earnings forecast higher on Tuesday as improving demand in its big European markets and an investment push into new products helped reduce a drop in revenues.

Faced with increased competition from entertainment groups and fixed-line providers, Vodafone also said it plans to launch a broadband and TV service in its home market to compete with rivals who offer a wider range of products.

Nov 10, 2014

Serco seeks cash injection after writing off $2.5 billion

LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Serco turned to its
investors for emergency cash on Monday after writing off 1.5
billion pounds ($2.5 billion) and slashing profit forecasts,
sending shares plummeting by a third.

The announcement deepened the sense of turmoil at the
British outsourcer which has reported a string of profit
downgrades, contract problems and scandals since 2013.

Nov 10, 2014

Serco plans rights issue after huge impairment charge

LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Britain’s Serco announced
a rights issue of up to 550 million pounds ($874.5 million)
after cutting its profit forecast and taking a 1.5-billion-pound
impairment charge, wiping a third off its share price.

The unscheduled announcement, which also included a plan to
cancel the dividend, sent the shares down as much as 35 percent.

Nov 4, 2014

Rolls-Royce to cut 2,600 staff, appoints new finance chief

LONDON (Reuters) – British engineer Rolls-Royce (RR.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plans to cut 2,600 jobs to save money and has replaced its finance director, aiming to restore confidence following two profit warnings in eight months.

The world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines said the job cuts, which will mostly come in the Aerospace division and will take 18 months to complete, were designed to save around 80 million pounds ($128 million) a year once the redundancy program was complete.

Oct 31, 2014

Without a plan, junk status looms for Britain’s Tesco: Moody’s

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) could see its debt downgraded to “junk” status unless it outlines plans to cut borrowing and improve trading, rating agency Moody’s said, raising the prospect of higher financing costs for Britain’s biggest grocer.

Tesco, already facing a severe slowdown in sales in its stores, said last month it had uncovered what has become a 263 million pound ($420 million) accounting hole, resulting in the suspension of eight senior members of staff and a Serious Fraud Office investigation.

    • About Kate

      "I am based in London and cover the UK media and telecoms sectors including BSkyB, Vodafone and WPP. I have previously covered UK general news and sports including major events such as the Olympics and football World Cups."
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