UK media and telecoms correspondent
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Jan 31, 2014

UK’s Sellafield plant detects elevated levels of radioactivity

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest nuclear reprocessing plant said on Friday it had detected raised levels of radioactivity and ordered all non-essential staff to stay at home.

Sellafield, on the coast of the Irish sea in northwest England, said the levels of radioactivity detected were above naturally occurring radiation, though there was no risk to the public or the workforce and the facilities were operating normally.

Jan 28, 2014

Vodafone, Verizon investors back $130 billion Verizon Wireless deal

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Shareholders of both Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) approved Verizon’s $130 billion takeover of their Verizon Wireless venture on Tuesday, paving the way for the third biggest deal in corporate history.

Vodafone shareholders voted for one of the biggest payouts ever as 71 percent of the deal’s net proceeds – or $84 billion including stock – will be returned to Vodafone shareholders from the sale of Vodafone’s 45 percent interest in Verizon Wireless to majority owner Verizon.

Jan 28, 2014

Cameron’s ex-media chief knew of phone-hacking, court hears

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-media chief Andy Coulson listened to a hacked voicemail that revealed two leading actors were having an affair when he was editor of the News of the World, a London court heard on Tuesday.

Dan Evans, a former reporter and self-confessed prolific phone hacker on the Rupert Murdoch tabloid, said Coulson was one of 10 senior figures on the paper who knew how he intercepted voicemails to generate front page stories.

Jan 28, 2014

British PM Cameron’s ex-media chief knew of phone-hacking, court hears

LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David
Cameron’s ex-media chief Andy Coulson listened to a hacked
voicemail that revealed two leading actors were having an affair
when he was editor of the News of the World, a London court
heard on Tuesday.

Dan Evans, a former reporter and self-confessed prolific
phone hacker on the Rupert Murdoch tabloid, said Coulson was one
of 10 senior figures on the paper who knew how he intercepted
voicemails to generate front page stories.

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.

    • 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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