This weeks news include; Worldpay acquired for £9.3 billion, Bitcoin price reaches new highs, Amazon tax bill falls by 50%, Snap losses widen.
Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page and Facebook page for regular posts of important headlines. Click on the links for full stories. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.
Opinion articles of the week:
- Investopedia looks at Goldman Sachs’ claim that “Tech stocks are now safe havens”.
- City A.M claims that Bad Cop regulation will be the death of many a fintech firm.
- Investopedia looks at how Amazon and Facebook may crush the TV networks
- The Economist asks where might the next crisis come from?
1. VANTIV TO ACQUIRE WORLDPAY FOR £9.3 BILLION
US Payment processing firm is acquiring its UK rival Worldpay for £9.3 billion. The deal went under substantial government scrutiny amid concerns the fall in sterling is leading to a flurry of foreign takeovers of British companies.
The deal was initially announced in July and details have finally been agreed. The deal is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. Worldpay employs 5,000 UK staff and processes 40% of card payments at tills in the UK. Business is booming as new data shows that the growth in card payments is at its fastest rates since 2008. (Sky News)
The concerns about the loss of British ownership of big business are growing. Arm Holdings was bought for £24 billion by Japan’s SoftBank last year and SNC-Lavalin acquired engineering group WS Atkins in April this year. The government has expressed its worries about this and in future could seek to introduce measures to taper the floodgates of acquisitions.
The Guardian’s report looks further at the deal.
2. BITCOIN PRICE REACHES RECORD HIGH
Cryptocurrency Bitcoin has reached a record high of over $4,000. The value of Bitcoin has risen 40% in August alone and reached $4189.45 on the 12 August. This is despite the fact the Bitcoin community split in two, creating the emergence of the Bitcoin cash cryptocurrency. (City A.M)
The Bitcoin market is worth roughly $60 billion and is growing every day. The growth in Bitcoin’s price has been exponential. If you had bought $70 worth of Bitcoin in 2010 your Bitcoins would now be worth a staggering $4,000,000. It is unclear if or when Bitcoin’s soaring price will slow down. For more on what Bitcoin is and how it could change the banking sector read our insight article.
Some analysts believe however, that this growth is merely a bubble that will soon burst. (Reuters)
3. AMAZONS REVENUE RISES BUT UK TAX BILL FALLS BY 50%
Amazon posted a 54% increase in revenue last year but at the same time paid 50% less in UK corporation tax primarily due to a fall in profits. Amazon’s profits fell by 50% from £48 million to £24 million and this largely due to its employee payment system.
Amazon UK services 16,000 employees receive a minimum of £1,000 worth of shares every year that can only be cashed within 12 and 36 months. Amazon’s share price has risen by 100% over the past 2 years so as a result staff compensation costs rise and these are business expenses for the company that are not taxable.
Furthermore, HMRC rules stipulate that UK employees may receive £3600 worth of tax-free shares from employers every year and most of Amazon’s employees receive less than this. The principles allowing for this remuneration system are fundamental requirement of UK tax law so it is unlikely that those calling for this “loophole” to be shut down will be granted their wish.
BBC News explores this case further.
4. GUCCI LAUNCHES LAWSUIT AGAINST FOREVER 21
Luxury fashion retailer Gucci has filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 for allegedly infringing a trademark. Gucci claims that Forever 21 has copied its 3 stripe design on a number of products. Gucci has sent out warnings and cease-and-desist letters from December 2016 but Forever 21 failed to act.
Forever 21 is comparatively cheap and sells the products that look highly similar to Gucci products for 1/10th of the price. Forever 21 has been sued by a number of retailers for similar alleged infringements in past.
Complex News looks closer at the claim.
5. SNAP LOSSES INCREASE, SHARE PRICE FALLS
Snap, the owner of Snapchat, posted losses of $443 million in the last quarter as concerns about its profitability mount. This loss was four times as large as it was for the same period last year despite revenues doubling to $182m. Snapchats daily active users has grown from 166 million to 173 million over the last quarter by this is 2 million shy of analysts’ expectations. With growing competition from Facebook owned Instagram the major question hanging over Snap is; will it ever be a profitable company?
Shares in the company fell by 17% in response to the news falling to $12 a share. This is more than 50% lower than the $29 share price Snap’s stock traded at shortly after its IPO in March 2017.
Sky News looks further at the figures.
6. TOSHIBA POST $8.8bn LOSS
Electronics giant Toshiba posted a staggering $8.8 billion loss for the year to March after facing numerous and significant internal problems. The company is on a watch list to be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange after it overstated its profits to cover up losses is suffered in its nuclear business but many analysts think this is unlikely to happen.
In addition, it has been locked in a legal dispute with Western digital that is disrupting the $20 billion sale of its memory chip business. Toshiba has until March 2018 to complete the deal. All of these factors contributed to the poor figures but some analysts believe a turn-around is on the horizon.
Bloomberg looks closer at the figures.
7. TESLA SEEKS $1.5 BILLION TO PRODUCE NEW MODEL 3 CAR
Elon Musk’s Tesla has announced that it will raise $1.5 billion in order to produce its new affordable Model 3 car range. The model 3 will be priced from $35000 and over 500,000 orders have already been placed.
This is clear statement of intent from Tesla to move away from the luxury car market and truly bring electric cars to the masses. Tesla will sell bonds to raise the money to top up its $3 billion cash pile to ensure the production runs smoothly. The hype surrounding Tesla only continues to grow as it also produces solar panels, batteries and is even looking at commercial space travel.
Read BBC News’ analysis for more information.
8. TALKTALK FINED £100,000 BY THE ICO
TalkTalk has been fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to properly protect customers’ personal data. An ICO investigation found that an Indian IT firm, Wipro, who work with TalkTalk had unjustified access to the personal data of over 20,000 customers through an online portal. “Rogue” Wipro employees actually used the portal to access customer details. The investigation was launched after a number of TalkTalk customers lodged complaints about receiving “scam phone calls”. The ICO however found no link between the scam phone calls and this particular data protection oversight.
While this incident is unrelated to the cyber attack in 2015 which saw data of over 150,000 customers compromised, this clearly highlights the inadequacy of cyber security & data protection measures in place within the company.
The Guardian’s report looks closer at the issue.
In addition, new government proposals could see businesses being fined up to £17 million if they fail to implement effective cyber security measures. City A.M looks further at the proposals.
9. RETAILER WILKO BEGINS REDUANCY TALKS
Household goods retailer Wilko has begun redundancy talks with staff ahead of its reorganised after drastic falls in profits. Wilko posted a fall in pre-tax of 80% to £5.1 million last year. Wilko employs over 4000 staff and has over 400 stores in the UK. They plan to create a “significant amount” of customer service roles and over 900 senior supervisor roles.
The reorganisation is deemed necessary due to these poor results but it will be interesting to see if this business reorganisation will bring about the strong financial results that they so desperately need.
10. SAINSBURYS TO CUT 1000 JOBS
Sainsbury’s has announced a new efficiency drive that will see the loss of over 1000 jobs. Britain’s second largest supermarket chain is seeking to save £500 million over three years by cutting these jobs at its head office as they seek to fend off growing competition from budget retailers Aldi and Lidl.
In March, Sainsbury’s announced the hours of 4000 employees would change and 400 jobs would be cut. This is all part of its long-term goal to run its supermarkets more cheaply.
The Guardian’s report looks closer at the cuts.