UK media and telecoms correspondent
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Jan 27, 2014

AT&T rules out Vodafone bid for now

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. mobile group AT&T has ruled out a bid for Britain’s Vodafone for now, with banking sources saying a U.S. spying scandal and a surge in European telecom shares may have disrupted a deal that many think could still happen.

AT&T, the second-largest U.S. mobile operator, sparked speculation it could be interested in a potentially 70 billion pound-plus ($115 billion) deal for Vodafone after its chief executive said in October there was a “huge opportunity” in Europe to invest in mobile broadband.

Jan 23, 2014

Pearson shares drop after warning of earnings shortfall

LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – British publisher Pearson Plc
warned its 2013 earnings would be lower than expected
due to higher restructuring costs and poor demand for its North
America education business in its key selling quarter, sending
its shares down over 8 percent.

Pearson, the 170-year-old education and media group which is
in the middle of a transformation under new leadership, said on
Thursday U.S. state budget pressures, fewer enrolments and
higher investment needs had hit its margins in the fourth
quarter.

Jan 17, 2014

Shell warns of “significant” profit miss

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) issued a “significant” profit warning on Friday, detailing across-the-board problems and the extent of the challenges facing the oil major’s new boss Ben van Beurden, who took over two weeks ago.

The warning comes nearly 10 years to the day after Shell, the western world’s No. 3 oil company, revealed the so-called reserves accounting scandal, when the group dramatically downgraded its reserves estimates.

Jan 10, 2014

Heathrow says new price cap threatens growth

LONDON (Reuters) – London’s Heathrow warned it could struggle to grow its business after accusing the industry regulator of imposing a “draconian” cap on the prices Britain’s biggest airport can charge airlines.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Friday it would insist that Heathrow set its prices at 1.5 percent below inflation from April 2014 after finding that the airport – Europe’s busiest – had too much market power.

Jan 9, 2014

Turnarounds elusive at Tesco, M&S and Morrisons

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Tesco, Marks & Spencer and
Morrisons, three of the biggest names in British retailing,
posted heavy falls in Christmas sales, showing few signs that
their costly turnaround plans are working, and raising the
pressure on their leaders.

Despite signs the British economy is improving, household
incomes remain stagnant as inflation outstrips slim pay rises,
and Christmas has so far been mixed for the store groups.

Jan 6, 2014

British CFOs say appetite for risk is returning

LONDON (Reuters) – The finance chiefs of Britain’s biggest companies say their appetite for risk has returned, with a poll showing they believe access to bank lending will ease in 2014, enabling them to expand and hire more staff.

Britain’s economy reported some of the fastest growth of any major industrialised economy in the first nine months of 2013. But the improvement was largely driven by consumers and the Bank of England has warned that exports and business investment need to strengthen if growth is to be sustained.

Jan 6, 2014

British CFOs say appetite for risk is returning – survey

LONDON (Reuters) – The finance chiefs of Britain’s biggest companies say their appetite for risk has returned, with a poll showing they believe access to bank lending will ease in 2014, enabling them to expand and hire more staff.

Britain’s economy reported some of the fastest growth of any major industrialized economy in the first nine months of 2013. But the improvement was largely driven by consumers and the Bank of England has warned that exports and business investment need to strengthen if growth is to be sustained.

Jan 2, 2014

Debenhams finance chief quits as rivals triumph in Christmas battle

LONDON, Jan 2 (Reuters) – The finance chief of Debenhams Plc
quit on Thursday after trading updates showed just how
far the 200-year-old British retailer had fallen behind rivals
John Lewis and House of Fraser over the crucial
Christmas period.

The departure of Simon Herrick from Britain’s second-largest
department stores group follows a profit warning on Tuesday, its
second in less than a year, after the company admitted its
margins had been squeezed by heavy discounts that nonetheless
failed to spark a late surge in festive shopping.

Dec 31, 2013

UK’s Debenhams warns on profit after poor Christmas

LONDON, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Debenhams warned of a
sharp fall in profit on Tuesday after big discounts failed to
spur a surge in last-minute Christmas shopping, sending a shiver
through weaker British retailers.

In an ominous sign for rival Marks & Spencer,
Britain’s second-largest department store group said it would
now miss analysts’ first-half profit forecasts and would have to
cut prices even further to clear stock.

Dec 12, 2013

UK’s Co-op appoints Myners on 1 pound salary to lead review

LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Britain’s troubled Co-operative
Group named ex-Treasury minister Paul Myners to its
board on Thursday on a token salary of just one pound ($1.6) to
help review the running of the customer-owned retail-to-funerals
operator.

The appointment takes effect immediately, with Myners saying
the group was at a crucial point in its development and facing
serious challenges in terms of business performance.

    • 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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