UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – April 10

Facebook to buy instagram for $1 billion
Facebook is paying $1 billion to buy Instagram, a fast-growing online photo-sharing site, in its largest acquisition to date.   (FT)

Spectrum sale in UK fans 4G hopes
Everything Everywhere, the UK’s largest mobile operator by customer numbers, has appointed Morgan Stanley to sell spectrum that could be used to roll out 4G mobile broadband services in the UK ahead of other operators. (FT)

Fitness first owners put jobs on the line
The new owners of gym chain Fitness First are considering plans to place part of the UK estate into a company voluntary arrangement, potentially putting many hundreds of jobs at risk. (Telegraph)

UK banks and insurers blacklist cluster bomb manufacturers
Four of Britain’s biggest banks and insurance companies, Lloyds Banking Group, Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, the Co-op and RBS have blacklisted a dozen companies that manufacture cluster bombs and landmines, including two of the world’s largest defence firms. (Guardian)

Press Round-up – April 5

Rothschild eye cross-channel unity
The Rothschild family plans to secure “long-term control” over its international banking empire by merging its French and British assets into a single entity and implementing a new form of governance that provides immunity from hostile takeover. (FT)

Amazon probed over corporation tax payment, Britain’s biggest online retailer, generated sales of more than 3.3 billion pounds in the country last year but paid no corporation tax on any of the profits from that income – and is under investigation by the UK tax authorities. (Guardian)

Press Round-up – April 4

BTG Pactual IPO to value bank at $15 billion
BTG Pactual is set to float later this month in a deal that will value the rapidly growing Brazilian investment bank’s equity at up to $15 billion and the shareholdings of a swathe of executives at more than $150 million each.   (FT)

Dutch bicycle group in talks to buy Raleigh
Raleigh Cycle, maker of the bicycles in Britain, could be sold to Accell, a Dutch bicycle-making company. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – April 3

Investors hit back at Trinity Mirror
Big investors in Trinity Mirror have hit back at proposed changes to the pay scheme for Sly Bailey, its chief executive, saying that cuts to directors’ remuneration packages do not go far enough.   (FT)

UK explorers struggle to strike Falklands oil
Desire Petroleum and Borders & Southern Petroleum, two of five London-listed exploration businesses with interests in the Falklands Islands, announced annual pre-tax losses of $42.5 million and $1.74 million on Monday. (Guardian)

Press Round-up – April 2

European rules alarm fund managers
Some fund managers’ worst fears over pan-European regulation have re-emerged, prompting the hedge fund and private equity industries to hit back at technical standards proposed by Brussels that they say will damage business and shut out the U.S. and Asia.  (FT)

International businesses attack retrospective Indian tax law
The international business community has launched a blistering attack on the Indian government for a retrospective tax grab against multinational companies. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – March 30

Treasury urged to halt brain drain
Treasury bosses will need to stem a flood of staff departures and beef up pay if the department is to be effective in dealing with future financial crises, according to an internal report. (Times)

BOE faces calls for full review of handling of financial crisis
The Bank of England is facing calls to publish a full account of how it handled the financial crisis after the Treasury admitted it had made mistakes when the UK’s banking system was on the brink of collapse. (Guardian)

Press Round-up – March 29

Nokia stepping up SIM battle with Apple
The battle between Nokia and Apple over the design of future miniature Sim cards for mobile phones has escalated, with the Finnish group threatening to withhold essential technology for Apple’s template, impeding the rival proposal. (FT)

Cattles chiefs banned for deception
Three former senior managers at Cattles have been fined 700,000 pounds and banned from working in financial services for misleading investors about the extent of bad loans at the failed doorstep lender. (Times)

from The Great Debate:

Britain’s austerity experiment is faltering

It was the Welsh sage Alan Watkins who remarked that a budget that looked good the day it was delivered to the British Parliament was sure to look terrible a week later, and vice versa. The avalanche of new information dumped by the Treasury is simply too much to grasp at a single sitting, and governments tend to bury bad news in a welter of statistics. And so it proved with finance minister George Osborne’s budget served up last week.

The immediate headlines stressed that rich Brits would pay less income tax – down from 50 percent to 45 percent – but it only took a day before even traditional Conservative cheerleaders like the Daily Mail were condemning Osborne for funding tax breaks for bankers and billionaires by stealing from those living in retirement. The paper’s cover screamed: “Osborne picks the pockets of pensioners.”

Press Round-up – March 28

Victims of RBS swap scandal call for inquiry
Calls for an inquiry into the interest rate swap mis-selling scandal intensified on Tuesday after Royal Bank of Scotland was accused of forcing one of the UK’s largest business park owners into administration. (Telegraph)

Gazprom deal highlights Kremlin business links
The family of Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s first deputy prime minister, bought nearly $18 million in Gazprom shares through an offshore company as the government prepared to liberalise share trading, a reform which greatly increased their market value, documents show.  (FT)

Probe launched into insurance sales claim

The Ministry of Justice has launched an investigation into claims management companies following a glut of invalid compensation claims filed on behalf of consumers allegedly mis-sold personal protection insurance (PPI). (FT)

Press Round-up – March 27

Ailing Astra pays boss £9.1 million last year
The chief executive of AstraZeneca enjoyed a pay package worth 9.1 million pounds last year, despite a groundswell of concern in the London’s financial district about the embattled drugs company’s spluttering medical research pipeline. (Times)

Goldman eyes electronic bond trading
Goldman Sachs is considering how to roll out electronic trading technology to its fixed income business – one of its biggest revenue generators – as it prepares for new regulation.   (FT)