Top 10 Stories of Last Week! 22/01/2018

This weeks new includes; ECJ rejects class action against Facebook , Netflix hits $100 billion, Amazon launch futuristic supermarket Arsenal FC sign crypto deal.

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;

  • The Guardian looks at the Davos report which claims technology will widen the pay gap and hit women hardest.
  • Business Insider claims that FinTech could be bigger than ATM’s, PayPal and Bitcoin combined.
  • City A.M looks at claims by billionaire George Soros claims at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. He criticised tech giants for “deliberately engineering addiction”. See what he had to say here.

 1. ECJ REJECTS FACEBOOK CLASS ACTION

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has blocked a filing for litigation by 25,000 people against Facebook. The failed lawsuit alleges that Facebook breached EU privacy law by tracking users unlawfully. The case was led by Max Schrems and sought to recover 500 euros per person. The court followed precedence that Mr Schrems could not bring a “class action” to ECJ courts in Vienna on behalf of other consumers. 

Despite the failure of the class action, the ECJ accepted Mr Schrems individual claim against the tech giant. With Facebook already in hot water over its user of person data this could be another costly blow for the firm. Last September, it was fined 1.2 million euros by Spain’s data privacy regulator for failing to obtain consent before collection users’ personal data.

The Telegraph looks closer at reactions to the case.

2. CMA PUTS BRAKES ON FOX- SKY DEAL

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said the Fox-Sky merger is not in the public interest. The competition watchdog released its initial report which said that the deal in its current form raises serious concerns of media plurality.

Fox agreed an £18.5 billion deal to acquire Sky in December which would see it take full ownership of the satellite broadcaster.

The CMA says this would give the Murdoch Family Trust too much control over UK media platforms and therefore, undue control over public opinion.  The CMA has now provided a number of solutions to address this issue, primarily involving the sale of assets. The final report will be released in May and both companies have agreed to work with the CMA to address the concerns.

City A.M looks closer at the reactions to the decision.

3. STERLING RALLIES

The Pound Sterling has recovered almost all the ground lost in the wake of the Brexit vote. Sterling reached $1.42 last week, a price not seen since the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Signals of a soft Brexit are largely thought to have buoyed sterling. The UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis has clarified that the UK will remain closely aligned to EU regulations post-Brexit. (Bloomberg) The UK posted strong employment figures last week, boosting investor confidence in the economy. Employment in the UK reached a record high of 75.3%.

The dollar has also been falling as the White House stated that they believe “in free-floating currency.” This essentially means that there is no preference of a strong or weak dollar for the White House. If there is a preference, it is not known. This ambiguous statement has left a lot of uncertainty amongst analysts and sent the dollar falling. (CNBC)

City A.M asks as the Pound surges, is the glass half empty or half full?

4. NETFLIX HITS $100 BILLLION

Netflix has just hit a $100 billion market capitalisation. The online streaming service has been growing rapidly and it becomes ever more dominant. It gained 2 million new subscribers in the last quarter of 2017, creating a total of nearly 118 million subscribers.

This growth has been attributed to its huge investment in content. The company will spend $8 billion on TV shows and movies in 2018. 2017 was Netflix’s first full year of global profits and this looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. For more on the growth of Netflix and its future plans, read Reuters report.

The competition began heating up further as Sky announced the introduction of a streaming service. Sky will now offer a low-cost plug-in stick which will give users access to films, series and live sports. The smart stick hardware package will cost £14.99 and users can buy Now-TV passes for the content. Now-TV only offer day or week passes, signalling Sky’s shift away from the monthly contract. The Guardian looks closer at Sky’s entry to streaming & download services.

5. KIMBERLY-CLARK CUT JOBS

The maker of Kleenex products is struggling and has announced cuts of at least 5000 jobs globally. Kimberly-Clark will now enter a restructuring plan, where it will shed 12% of its workforce in an attempt make $2 billion in savings over the next 3 years

Sales have been stagnant and the firm has slashed prices due to steep competition. Kimberly-Clark also produces Andrex and Huggies but falling birth rates leading to a sales decline of its baby products. Chief Executive Thomas Falk said “You can’t encourage moms to use more diapers… when the babies aren’t being born,”

BBC News explores Kimberly-Clark’s plans in more detail.

6. AMAZON LAUNCH SUPERMARKET OF THE FUTURE

Amazon Go, the checkout free supermarket, opened its first outlet last Monday. The store opened in Seattle and allows customers to pick up items and simply walk out. Cameras and sensors note what customers take from shelves and then customers are billed after leaving the store. The store was only opened to Amazon employees in December but now is open to the general public.

The technology is still in its infancy and has many issues to resolve. The system struggles where items are not placed back into their correct spaces or when recognising people with similar builds. This could however, completely revolutionise the supermarket industry in years to come.

Find out what it’s like to shop inside the store with Business Insider’s report.

7. ARSENAL SIGN CRYPTO PROMOTION DEAL

Arsenal football club has signed a deal to promote a crypto-currency. CashBet Coin will now be advertised at Arsenal’s home games. This makes Arsenal the first major football club to promote cryptocurrency.

CashBet is planning to launch its own coin and is planning an initial coin offering. This is where investors receive coins in return for funding. CashBet Coins will soon be available to use on CashBet online games or sold on third-party exchanges. ICO’s are considered high risk because they are unregulated and provide investors no stake in the company. For many however, the rapid potential gains from cryptocurrencies make it worth the risk for investors.

BBC News looks closer at the reactions.

8. BACARDI TO ACQUIRE PATRON

Bacardi have announced that they will acquire Patron Spirits in a $5.1 billion deal. The spirit producer previously bought a stake in 2008 but will now own 100% of the premium tequila producers. Financial Buzz reports that “U.S. tequila sales are growing quicker than the overall alcoholic drinks market as high end brands help tequila move away from the party drink image.” Details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Bacardi is the world’s largest private spirit producer and employs over 5,500 worldwide.

9. ASOS EMERGE AS CHRISTMAS WINNER AS PROFITS SURGE

Asos has bucked the negative retail trend, posting exceptionally strong Christmas sales figures. In the last third of 2017, UK sales rose by 23%, while globally sales were up by an impressive 30%.

No other major fashion retailers saw sales growth of this magnitude. Primark posted no growth at all over the same period, while Marks & Spencer saw a 2.8% decline in its clothing and homeware department. 

Asos has been clawing at the market share of these larger retailers through its flexibility. Asos now offer same day delivery and exceptionally cheap next day delivery. The company target a younger demographic, largely through a strong social media presence and this is working to great effect.

Sky News looks closer at the figures

10. IPHONE BATTERY SLOWDOWN TO BECOME OPTIONAL

Apple has announced that the slowing down of older iPhones will become an optional feature. A new software update will allow users to turn off “battery saver”. It was revealed last month that Apple deliberately slowed down to older models. The tech firm claimed that this was to prolong the life of phones. Many consumers argue that this was a dishonest means of getting consumers to buy newer models.

This feature will now be introduce to models from iPhone 6 onwards. After the news broke, Apple slashed the price of battery replacements (out of warranty) from £79 to £25. Some analysts believe that this saga could lead consumers to avoid buying newer models and simply replace batteries. Estimates claim that this could cost Apple as much as $10 billion in lost revenues.  (BBC News)

Check out our insight article exploring the business behind the smartphone market. 

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