This weeks news include; Uber selects a new CEO, 888 fined over £7 million by regulator, Slater and Gordon splits with UK arm, Bitcoin reaches new milestone high (again).
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:
- Bloomberg looks at why the Brexit talks are making little progress.
- BBC News asks Is Japan’s economy facing a change?
- City A.M claims that Brexit is a chance for the City to forge bold relationships with regulators
- The Guardian notes Assume self-driving cars are a hacker’s dream? Think again
1. UBER SELECTS A NEW CEO
Uber has chosen Dara Khosrowshahi as it is new Chief Executive Officer. He was the former CEO of travel company Expedia where he was in charge for 12 years. He replaces Travel Kalanick who resigned earlier this year amid a number of internal racism and sexism scandals.
The new CEO has made a very bold and immediate impact as he announced his plans to take Uber public within the next 18 to 36 months. Uber has been valued at £53 billion, making it the most valuable private company in the world.
Find out more about Khosrowshahi’s IPO plan in Business Insider’s report.
2. SIX BANKS PLAN TO CREATE BLOCKCHAIN-BASED CASH SYSTEM
Six international banks have announced they will be joining UBS to create a digital cash system that could revolutionise financial markets. The system is called the “utility settlement coin” and aims to allow markets to settle transactions more quickly.
The initiative is led by UBS but Barclays, Credit Suisse, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, HSBC, MUFG and State Street have all joined the development plan. The system will run on blockchain and therefore will automatically settle transactions using algorithms, removing the need for intermediaries and fundamentally reducing the possibility for error.
To find out more about the system read the Independent’s report.
3. 888 FINED £7.8m BY GAMBLING REGULATOR
Online gambling firm 888 has been fined £7.8 by the Gambling Commission for significant failures in its protection of customers.
There were a number of failures over an extended period of time. One of the largest failures was the where 888 did not challenge a customer who gambled over £1.3 million over 13 months. There were also technical failures allowed thousands of customers to access gambling platforms despite having chosen to exclude themselves.
Surprisingly, 888’s share price was 5% higher, investors unfazed by news of the fine.
For more information read Sky News’ report.
4. SLATER & GORDON SPLITS FROM UK BUSINESS
Slater and Gordon has revealed that it be separating from its UK arm after a steep fall in profits. Slater and Gordon is based in Austrailia and only entered the UK market in 2012 through its acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker.
Profits fell by over 46% across the firm however losses for the UK arm increased by 52.7% to £60.4 million. The separation of the business is hoped to give both branches the opportunity to “succeed in their own right”.
To find out more about the issue read the Lawyer’s report.
5. TOYOTA INVESTS IN UBER RIVAL
Toyota has revealed that it will be investing one of Uber’s main competitors, “Grab”. Grab is the market leader in Southeast Asia and Toyota plans to collaborate with them to provide services and further boost their R&D. Toyota will invest in Grab through the Next Technology Fund which also invests at a number of tech companies.
This is a clear sign of intent as the car manufacturer seeks to delve into the ride-sharing business. Toyota is not the only company involving itself as companies such as Volvo and Honda have has collaborated and invested in Uber and Grab respectively. There is a race to truly develop driverless cars and taxis on a commercially viable scale. Who will be the first to achieve this remains yet to be seen.
Read Bloomberg’s analysis of the market for more information.
6. ASTRAZENECA TO INVEST IN UK SITE
AstraZeneca has announced that it will invest millions of pounds in its Macclesfield site to improve the facility. This comes only a year after it announced a £150 million of investment in the site. The investment will help fund technical developments within the plant but it will not expand manufacturing. Further announcements on the investments are expected in the near future. AstraZeneca has however stated that until there is clarity about Brexit it cannot make further commitments regarding manufacturing.
The UK’s life science industry is worth £60 billion. AstraZeneca is Britain’s second largest drugmaker, behind GlaxoSmithKline. It currently employs over 1800 people at the Macclesfield site.
7. BITCOIN REACHES $5000
The surge in the price of Bitcoin is relentless as it hit a new high of over $5000. Only two weeks ago we saw Bitcoin pass the $4000 mark for the first time but the price keeps soaring. Bitcoin was trading at $5013.91 on Saturday morning UK. The price did fall back down to $4750 shortly afterwards.
Analysts’ estimates that Bitcoin could reach $20000 within 3 years do not seem particularly farfetched. Bitcoin’s price has double in the last 3 months and it is unclear if this surge is only a bubble that will soon burst.
8. CO-OP BIDS TO ACQUIRE NISA LOCAL
It has been announced that Co-Op is considering a £140 million bid to takeover Nisa convenience stores. They are now engage in exclusive talks as Co-Op attempts to boost its position in the market through this acquistion.
With increased competition from Lidl and Aldi, supermarkets have been looking to boost efficiency to keep up. Tesco launched its bid to acquire wholesaler Booker for £3.7 billion but has faced significant scrutiny from competition regulators and the investigation is still on-going.
Sainsbury’s recently pulled out of its bid for Nisa after concerns about competition law leaving the door open for Co-Op to explore a potential deal.
9. IRELANDS PTSB FINED £2.3M BY EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK
Ireland’s Permanent TSB (PTSB) has been fined by the ECB for failing to meet liquidity requirements. The ECB requires all banks to have enough liquid assets (assets that can be quickly bought and sold) to cover the difference between any expected cash outflows & inflows over 30 day period. PTSB allegedly breached this requirement over a 6 month period between 2015 and 2016. These breaches have however been remedied within the bank.
This is the first fine imposed by the ECB since it took over banking supervision in 2014. (BBC News)
10. UK MEDICINE RESEARCH INVESTMENT
The British government has announced that it will be investing £1 billion into science and technology over the next four years. The government confirmed that £146 million of this sum will be invested directly into manufacturing centres aiming to discover and develop new medicines.
An additional £14 million will be invested in 11 medical and development centres. To find out more about the government’s investment into science and technology read BBC News’ report.