The week’s news included; Temu faces Dr Martens trademark lawsuit, Tesla cuts 10k jobs as board seeks to pay Musk $56bn, Apple dethroned as largest smartphone maker, Kaplan students wrongly told 175 students they failed SQE1.

Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page, Facebook page and Instagram 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: 

  • Sky News – Why an interest rate cut may not come as soon as you think
  • City A.M. – Let’s be honest, Tesco making big profits is a good thing
  • BBC News – Can TikTok’s owner afford to lose its killer app?

1. TEMU FACES DR MARTENS TRADEMARK LAWSUIT

Temu has been hit by a trademark infringement lawsuit from footwear company Dr Martens. Dr Martens claims Temu offers copycat products and even pays Google to bring Temu’s knock-off boots ahead of Dr Martens in search results. Key words such as “Dr Martens” and “Airwalker” are reportedly used by Temu in its Google promotions to gain prominence on search results. Google’s ads policy allows advertisers to use trademarked terms in their keyword selection. It does, however, ban advertisements that infringe on intellectual property rights. Temu has spent roughly $1 billion on advertising outside of Asia in the last year. It is hoped that this will cement its market position.

Like its fellow Chinese competitor Shein, Temu is facing a number of intellectual property disputes. Despite this, it has been growing exponentially. Revenue at Temu’s parent company, PDD Holdings, doubled in 2023 to 247 billion yuan (£27bn). PDD Holdings is currently worth over £100 billion.

2. TESLA

Tesla is slashing over 10,000 jobs as it seeks to streamline the business. Astonishingly, last week Tesla’s board also revealed they sought to award Musk a $56 billion pay packet. Musk’s $56 billion pay deal agreed in 2018 was blocked by the courts as the judge said it was unfathomable and unfair to shareholders. Now, Tesla are attempting to award the same payment deal just without salary or bonuses. They are also seeking to appeal the judgement. At the same time, around 10% of Tesla’s 140,000 strong global workforce will lose their jobs. Elon Musk said this was necessary to be “lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle.”

Musk’s $56 billion payment award reflected achieved targets of increasing Tesla stock to certain thresholds within 10 years. Shareholders are now being asked to approve this pay packet. The board highlighted the fact that Elon Musk had not been paid by Tesla in the last six years. Musk is worth up to $187 billion as of 2024.

The news comes against a backdrop of falling sales figures amid growing competition from China. Chinese firms like BYD are bringing affordable electric vehicles to the market and are eating away at Tesla’s market share. Tesla already cut prices in China to stay competitive but without a genuine entry level electric vehicle it may find it difficult to retain a strong market position.  

3. COVENTRY BUILDING SOCIETY BUYS CO-OP BANK FOR £780M

Coventry Building Society has agreed to buy Co-op Bank for £780 million. The deal will create the UK’s third largest building society. Co-op Bank would be remutualised and the new organisation would have £89 billion in assets. The integration would take place over a number of years. Co-Op Bank was bailed out in 2013 and rescued again in 2017 but has now returned to profitability under private equity ownership. Co-Op Bank posted £71.4 million in profit in 2023. 

This deal forms part of wider consolidation in the banking sector. Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society, recently bought Virgin Money for £2.9 billion. Nationwide and Virgin Money are however, facing opposition to the deal from members and shareholders. The 220p per share offer from Nationwide is considered too low for Virgin Money shareholders so this may have to be revised. Some Nationwide members also want a say on the deal and are petitioning for this. 

4. TIKTOK STRIKES AXS DEAL

TikTok has struck a deal with ticketing company AXS. The deal will allow users to find and buy AXS event tickets within the TikTok app. TikTok certified artists can also promote their AXS live event dates on TikTok via links on their TikTok videos. This feature is currently active in the US, UK, Sweden and Canada.

TikTok has a similar partnership with the largest ticketing site, Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster, owned by Live Nation, currently allows users to buy event tickets within the TikTok app. Innovative partnerships like these are part of the reason TikTok has risen to such prominence. The social media giant is however, still unable to host music from Universal Music Group due to their dispute over royalties (see previous top 10). 

5. APPLE DETHRONED AS LARGEST SMARTPHONE MAKER

Apple has lost its place as the world’s largest smartphone maker. Samsung has usurped Apple, securing a 20.8% global market share. Apple saw its share decrease to 17.3% as global shipments sank by 10% in Q1 of 2024. Samsung on the other hand saw shipments of its new models increase notably compared to last quarter.

This comes as Apple faces an antitrust case in the US which alleges it operates a monopoly (see previous top 10). Apple holds over 70% of the US market. It enjoys less success in markets like China where domestic brands are more dominant. For example, Xiaomi is now the third largest smartphone maker with 14.1% of the market. 

6. TRUMP MEDIA STOCK TUMBLES

Donald Trump’s Trump Media has seen its share price tumble just weeks after its IPO. Trump Media is trading at roughly $36 per share, nearly 50% lower than its $70 price achieved on its IPO. Trump Media revealed plans to issue additional new shares to raise more cash. This spurred a sell-off and the company’s share price fell under $28 per share. Trump Media has also warned the Nasdaq stock exchange that it may be the victim of market manipulation through “naked” short selling. Short selling is a transaction where traders bet on a share price falling. This involves borrowing stock to sell it immediately and aiming to later buy the same stock back at a cheaper price. Naked short selling is where the sale is made without having borrowed the stocks first. This is an unlawful practice and Trump Media says this is affecting the share price. Former US President Donald Trump owns 60% of Trump Media stock. He cannot, however, sell any of his stake for at least six months following the IPO. 

7. STUDENTS WRONGLY TOLD THEY FAILED SQE1

Kaplan law school incorrectly told 175 students that they had failed their Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) exams. These students received the results in March but after a student appealed, Kaplan identified the error. All 6,626 students who took the SQE1 exam in January were affected by the error. 175 of these were marked as having failed despite having passed. Kaplan apologised and reissued the correct results but the 175 candidates should also receive a £250 goodwill payment from Kaplan. Some students however, may have seen their training contract offers revoked on the basis of these results despite having actually passed. Kaplan said they would compensate students adequately if there are such cases, according to Legal Cheek

8. ADIDAS HAS POSITIVE OUTLOOK AFTER YEEZY DEBACLE

Adidas now has a positive outlook and expects profits of €700 million for 2024. This comes after a €58 million loss in 2023 due to its debacle with Kanye West. Adidas cut ties with West in 2022 following antisemitic rants made by the rapper and entrepreneur. Adidas was left with millions in Yeezy stock. It ultimately sold off most of the stock, donating some proceeds to charity and profiting. Around €200 million of the stock remains which will largely be sold at cost price. Adidas’ expected profits were €200 million higher than anticipated. This comes as Adidas attempts to replace Puma as the kit supplier for the Jamaica Athletics team. 

9. UK INFLATION SLOWS AGAIN 

Inflation in the UK has fallen yet again as pressure on household costs eases. Average prices increased by 3.2% in the year to March. Meat prices fell by 0.5% and overall food prices increased at a very low rate. The Bank of England’s target inflation is 2% so the UK could see interest rates also fall soon. Inflation peaked at 11.1% in 2022. This was largely caused by spiking energy prices due to the war in Ukraine. Food prices were also impacted and saw steep increases. Prices are beginning to stabilise and inflation has been on the decline. It must be noted, prices are still rising, just at a slower rate. 

10. ASOS POSTS £120M LOSS

Asos has posted a huge £120 million loss as its sales sank. Total group sales also plunged 18% in its latest half year results. Asos is undergoing a turnaround plan to stem the losses and improve sales. The retailer has also undergone a stock reduction plan to ensure its leaner and not overburdened with old stock. 83% of Asos’ autumn’ stock has been sold.  Asos management expects the company to reach profitability in 2025 and achieve sustainable growth.