This week’s news includes; Google sued over data collection, Bank of England Stress test, JustEat joins the FTSE 100,
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. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.
Opinion articles of the week;
- City A.M asks America will ensure London won’t lose its financial crown after Brexit
- Bloomberg looks at Goldman Sachs’ & Barclay’s claim that 2018 growth will be ‘as good as it gets.’
- Investopedia explores at why Apple faces Trouble Ahead
- City A.M talks to Bird & Bird and asks What will innovation look like in 2018?
1. GOOGLE SUED OVER DATA COLLECTION
Google has been sued, accused of unlawfully gathering personal data of millions of iPhone users. Google bypassed security settings on users’ phones and collected personal information.
It is believed that 5.4 million UK iPhone users were affected. The case is being brought forward by Google You Owe Us. All those affected will be contacted in due course and could be owed hundreds of pounds each.
This is the first mass legal action case in the UK. Law firm Mischon De Reya will be supporting Google You Us in bringing the case forward. Google faced legal action in the US over the same issue in 2012 and settled with the Federal Trade Commission for $22.5 million.
BBC News looks closer at the lawsuit.
2. BANK STRESS TEST
All the UK’s major banks have passed the Bank of England’s stress test. The purpose of this test is to determine whether our major banks are sturdy enough to sustain another financial crisis. The tests were introduced after the 2008 crash. This is the first time that all banks have passed the test.
The emphasis of this test was to determine how banks would cope with a worst case scenario Brexit. In the event of a no –deal-Brexit the Bank of England predicts a 33% drop in a house prices and a doubling of the unemployment rate. The banks are however, equipped to sustainably lend money even in this instance. While all banks did pass the test, RBS and Barclays emerged as the weakest. Check out BBC News’ analysis for more on the stress test.
3. RBS TO CLOSE BRANCHES
The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it would be closing 259 branches nationwide. The decision will see 680 jobs losses.The move comes as growth in online services has led to a serious decline in footfall in its branches. RBS now has 5 million mobile up users and transactions have risen by 70% over the past 3 years. Bloomberg’s report looks closer at the decision.
This is part of an industry wide shift away from brick & mortar banking in favour of online and digital services. Only last week, Lloyds revealed they would be shutting 49 branches across the UK.
4. JUSTEAT JOINS THE FTSE 100
Online food delivery service, JustEat, has joined the 100 most valuable public companies in the UK. JustEat launched its IPO in 2014 and has grown remarkably quickly. Its share price has risen by 43% in 2017 alone and is now worth roughly £5.5 billion. JustEat also recently acquired its smaller rival HungryHouse for £240 million. It is now more valuable than some household names like Marks & Spencer’s and Sainsbury’s. JustEat will displace Merlin, the owner of Madame Tussauds as well as engineering firm Babcock.
BBC News analyses the recent rise of Just Eat.
5. WHOLESALER P&H COLLAPSES
Wholesale retailer P&H has gone into administration. Over 2500 jobs were lost instantly as this news emerged, with more jobs still at risk. Talks to rescue to the firm through a takeover collapsed and the company’s administrators, PwC, announced that the firm would be going into administration.
The company blames tough trading conditions and unsuccessful business restructuring. P&H is the UK’s largest tobacco wholesale supplier, supplying over 90,000 stores nationwide. The firm is also the fifth largest privately owned company, further highlighting the significance of this collapse.
Check out BBC News’ report for more on the collapse.
6. SOFTBANK BIDS TO BUY UBER STAKE
SoftBank has put forward a bid to acquire a stake in Uber. SoftBank and a consortium of buyers are seeking to buy a $6 billion stake but this figure has raised some eyebrows. This offer is significantly lower than the market value for this stake. The purchase would value Uber at $48 billion, 30% less than the recent valuation of $69 billion. Neither party has commented on these reports. Bloomberg looks further at the potential deal.
Uber has been inundated with problems worldwide. The firm is entangled in legal disputes across the world and now faces an even larger issue. This comes in the form of its 2016 cyber hack which it concealed. It has now been revealed the data breach affected 2.7 million UK customers and drivers. To learn more about the breach read Sky News’ report.
7. BITCOIN PRICE SURGES (AGAIN)
Bitcoin smashed through the $10,000 mark last week. The remarkable growth of cryptocurrency has truly entered mainstream but it has also raised concerns. It has risen by more than 800%
The latest hike comes as US regulators approved CME’s plan to offer a Bitcoin futures contract. More leaders in the financial world have however, come out to criticise Bitcoin. CEO’s of both JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have claimed Bitcoin will collapse and people will get
Business Insider explores the future of Bitcoin.
Read our article Bitcoin: What You Need To Know for an introduction to Bitcoin.
For a more in-depth analysis read When Will The Bitcoin Bubble Burst?
8. UK GOVERNMENT WARNS NOT TO USE RUSSIAN CYBER SECURITY FIRM
The National Cyber Security Centre has warned government departments to not use Kaspersky Labs software. Kaspersky Labs is a Russian cyber security firm which develops anti-virus software. The decision was taken because anti-virus software gains access to all files and this could be exploited by the Russian government through Kaspersky. The government has only extended this warning to government bodies who have data relating to national security. The warning has not been issued to the wider public.
There has not been any evidence of espionage. This warning was a pre-emptive measure expressing concerns raised about the security of confidential information. Kaspersky labs has already been accused of this in the US. Kaspersky has over 400 million users worldwide. Kaspersky Labs denies all allegations and refutes that the Russian government has access to the company’s data.
Check out BBC News’ report for more on the warning.
9. OXFORD UNIVERSITY ISSUES 100 YEAR BOND
Oxford University has announced that it will be issuing a 100 year bond to raise funds. It aims to raise over £250 million from the bond issue. The bond has been given an AAA rating from Moody’s due to the strength of Oxford’s position in the university market
Cardiff University also sold a 39 year bond in 2016, raising £300 million.
City A.M looks closer at how universities are turning to debt markets to raise funds.
10. JOHN LEWIS BLACK FRIDAY SALES
John Lewis broke its trading record with huge black Friday sales. They saw total sales of £214.3 million and sold as much as 705 items per minute. This came as welcome news as a challenging retail environment has hit sales throughout the year. Earlier in the year, it posted a 53% decline in half year profits. This was partially due to increased prices resulting from the fall in the value of pound.
BBC News looks at Black Friday sales.