Top 10 Stories of Last Week! 07/05/18

This week’s news includes; Trump pulls out of Iran Nuclear deal, Nestle $7 billion Starbucks deal, BT job cuts, Broadcasters battle Netflix

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:

  • Legal Cheek explores the Oxbridge law degree. A ‘golden ticket’ to training contract glory, or losing its shine?
  • Sky News explains why banking’s smaller players are bulking up
  • Bloomberg talks about Don’t Skype Me: How Microsoft Turned Consumers Against a Beloved Brand

1. TRUMP PULLS OUT OF IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Donald Trump has withdrawn the US from the Iran Nuclear deal. The deal was introduced in 2015 under the Obama administration. The world would open trade with Iran if would begin dismantling their nuclear production program. This will reinstate the highest levels of sanctions on the Iranian state. Trump described the agreement as “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never ever been made”.

Sanctions will prevent trade with Iran and requires existing deals to be cancelled within a 90-180 days. Trump said the US is open to signing a new nuclear deal with better terms.

This has huge global implications, especially on companies. The lifting on sanctions was a watershed moment and introduced a huge amount of foreign investment. The EU exported nearly $13 billion worth of goods to Iran. EU leaders have urged Trump to reconsider this move. Theresa May,  Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron  have all affirmed their commitment to the nuclear deal and denounced Trump’s actions. Iran has stated that it would

CNN asks whether Europe can keep doing business with Iran.

Oil prices rose in response to the news. There is concern that Iran will be unable to sell their oil, reducing global supply. (City A.M)

2. WALMART FLIPKART TAKEOVER

Walmart has beat Amazon to acquire India’s Flipkart. Flipkart, founded in 2007, is India’s largest online retailer with over 100 million users. It is deemed India’s domestic answer to Amazon and turned over $3 billion last year. For the past few years it has been receiving takeover interest from Amazon. Walmart will pay $16 billion for a 77% stake in the business.

As with any deal of this scale, there are serious concerns about the impact of the deal on India’s smaller retailers. Online sales in India topped $21 billion last year. With the backing of Walmart, Flipkart is likely to gain a larger share of this. One of India’s biggest trading associations claims that this deal will “vitiate the e-commerce and retail market”.

BBC News analyses the deal in more detail. Forbes asks whether the acquisition is a good or bad for the Indian ecosystem.

3. NESTLE – STARBUCKS $7 BILLION RIGHTS DEAL

Nestle has agreed to pay Starbuck’s $7 billion for the rights to sell Starbuck’s coffee. Starbucks branded coffee turns over $2 billion per year so it will take some time before Nestle sees profit. The deal gives Nestle a “perpetual right” to market and sell Starbucks branded coffee. While there are no job losses expected, roughly 500 Starbucks employees will move to Nestle. Nestle currently owns Nescafe and Nespresso but only had 10% of the US coffee market. shares rose 1.5% in response to the news. Starbucks has also announced last week that it will open its first store in Italy.

4. BT JOB CUTS

BT has announced that it will be cutting 13,000 jobs over the next three years. This is part of a £1.5 billion cost saving plan. The majority of roles lost will be in middle management and back office. Over 60% of the jobs cut will be UK based.

BT has also announced that it will be moving out of its HQ in Central London.The telecoms giant will however, create 6000 new support roles.  BT’s finances aren’t in particularly poor shape although growth is sluggish. The company posted a 1% decline in annual revenue to £23.7 billion but an 11% rise in pre-tax profits. It does anticipate a 2% fall in revenue in the current year. (The Independent)

5. RBS SETTLES MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITY MIS-SELLING

RBS has reached a $4.9 billion settlement with regulators over the mortgage mis-selling, which led to the financial crisis. This settlement was expected by the bank and it had already set aside money to pay these liabilities. It will however, have to find an additional $1.44 billion to cover the full fie.

RBS appears to be turning a corner as it posted a profit in the first quarter of 2018. Barclays also paid a $2 billion settlement to the DOJ in March. RBS is still 71% owned by the UK taxpayer after a $45 billion bailout in 2009. (Sky News)

6. VIRGIN MONEY TAKEOVER

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group (CYBG) has made a £1.6 billion bid for Virgin Money. This move would give CYBG greater exposure to consumer lending markets. Virgin Money has strong credit card and mortgage units.  The combined banks would have assets of £80 billion with 6 million business and personal accounts.

Analysts expect many more mergers amongst smaller banks as economic uncertainty increases. If the deal goes through it could add even greater pressure to TSB who have been plagued with an IT crisis. Some Customers have had no access to their accounts for over 3 weeks. Portions of TSB’s 5 million customers will be ready for taking, especially if this deal goes ahead. Virgin Money shares rose by 9.8% in response to the news. Virgin Money, owned by Sir Richard Branson, tookover Northern Rock in 2011 after the financial crisis.

7. UK INTEREST RATES ON ICE

The bank of England has voted to keep interest rates at 0.5%. The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted 7-2 to leave the cost of borrowing unchanging. The bank increased interest rates from their record low of 0.25% in November.

Earlier in the year, the bank of England had largely been expected to further increase interest rates in May.  The fall of interest rates to 2.5% in March further embedded this expectation. The bank however, reconsidered increase rates after figures revealed sluggish 0.1% growth in GDP in the first quarter. The bank cited “temporary disruption” such as the “Beast from the East” snowstorm but aims to raise rates again before 2019.

The Independent looks closer at the Bank’s view of the UK economy.

8. BROADCASTERS BATTLE NETFLIX

BBC, ITV and channel 4 have engaged in talks to create a streaming service. Netflix is going from strength to strength and traditional broadcasters are concerned. Netflix users have grown by…. 16-24 year olds spend more time on Netflix per week, than they do on all BBC platforms.

It is hoped through these talks, which also involve US broadcaster NBC, they can rival Netflix and Amazon. While talks are in preliminary stages, this move clearly shows how the world of TV is changing. Broadcasters recognize that failure to adapt to the digital age of will seriously hurt their user growth and ultimately profits.

BBC, ITV and channel 4 have previously attempted to launch a joint streaming service but with no success. The trio launched “Kangaroo” In 2007 but regulators blocked it over competition concerns. Whether this next move will have a different fate remains to be seen. (The Guardian)

9. GOLDMAN SACHS AND APPLE CREDIT CARD

Goldman Sachs and Apple are to launch a joint credit card, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report shows that the card would feature the Apple Pay brand. It is expected the launch in 2019. Apple has been looking to make its business less reliant on iPhone sales. It has its services business has been growing rapidly, posting a $31 rise in revenue in the first quarter of 2018. (Reuters)

10. HOUSE OF FRASER’S HUGE LOSSES

House of Fraser posted heavy losses in the first quarter. For the year ending December 2017, the company posted a loss of £43 million. In the previous year, House of Fraser posted a profit of £1.5 million. Sales also crashed by 6%. The company blames falling consumer confidence.

C.Banner is looking to acquire House of Fraser on the condition that a CVA in undertaken. This process will almost certainly involve store closures and job losses. With financials as weak as they are now, accepting the takeover looks evn more likely. A decision to accept the deal with be taken in June.

House of Fraser currently employees 6,000 people at 59 stores with 11,000 concession staff. (The Telegraph)

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