Dec 11, 2017

Uber settles defamation lawsuit filed by Indian rape victim

Uber has agreed to settle a US civil lawsuit with a woman who accused its executives of improperly obtaining her medical records after she was raped by a driver in India. The Uber driver was sentenced to life in prison for the rape in 2015. The lawsuit, which was settled in San Francisco where Uber has its headquarters, also said the company had kept a copy of the woman's medical records. "Uber executives duplicitously and publicly decried the rape, expressing sympathy for the plaintiff, and...

Dec 11, 2017

US lifts threat of prosecution against HSBC

The US Department of Justice has given HSBC a significant boost by dismissing the deferred criminal charges that have been hanging over the bank since it was fined for money laundering and sanctions breaches five years ago. HSBC said the DoJ would file a motion with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York seeking the dismissal of the charges deferred by the agreement it reached as part of a settlement with the bank in December 2012. The deferred prosecution agreement meant...

Dec 11, 2017

HSBC prosecution threat in US lifted

HSBC is no longer under threat of prosecution in the US over allegations of money laundering in Mexico. It signed a deferred prosecution agreement - a form of probation - with the US Department of Justice in 2012 to avoid facing criminal charges for allegedly laundering hundreds of millions for Mexican drug barons. Money laundering is the process of disguising the proceeds of crime so that the money cannot be linked to the wrongdoing. Following the US probe, HSBC admitted having poor money...

Dec 11, 2017

HP laptops found to have hidden keylogger

Hidden software that can record every letter typed on a computer keyboard has been discovered pre-installed on hundreds of HP laptop models. Security researcher Michael Myng found the keylogging code in software drivers preinstalled on HP laptops to make the keyboard work. Mr Myng discovered the keylogger while inspecting Synaptics Touchpad software, to figure out how to control the keyboard backlight on an HP laptop. In May, a similar keylogger was discovered in the audio drivers...

Dec 11, 2017

Facebook: Jokes 'no excuse' for harassment

Facebook has published its internal workplace harassment policy in part to help other companies, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has said. The policy's definitions of harassment include unwelcome sexual advances, threats, insensitive jokes and innuendo. "We need systemic, lasting changes that deter bad behaviour and protect everyone," Ms Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post. She added Facebook did not necessarily believe the policy was "Perfect". "The more organisations are open about...

Dec 11, 2017

FCA’s Bailey and Barclays’ Staley square up for heavyweight bout

Jes Staley, the Boston-born chief executive of Barclays, is not literally going into hand-to-hand combat with Andrew Bailey, who heads the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Allegations in the letters related to Tim Main, a senior Barclays executive hired by Mr Staley. Mr Staley has already been penalised by the Barclays board via a "Very significant" pay cut. Troels Oerting, Barclay's head of information security to whom Mr Staley turned to for help in his mission, has been on a leave of...

Dec 11, 2017

Apple Shazam: Why is the US company buying the music app?

Why has Apple confirmed it is "Combining" its business with that of the smaller London company? With growing competition between Apple Music and Spotify - which also ties into Shazam - Apple may have felt the need to secure the service rather than risk its Swedish rival or some other company buying it first. Apple has said that Shazam is a "Natural fit" for its streaming music platform. Apple has long portrayed itself as a company that goes the extra mile to protect its users' privacy, so it...

Dec 11, 2017

Apple confirms plans to buy music recognition app Shazam

Apple on Monday confirmed its plan to buy Shazam, the UK-based music recognition app, in its biggest acquisition since the iPhone maker's $3bn deal to buy Beats Electronics in 2014. A $400m price ranks Shazam alongside some of its largest deals in the past 20 years, including 2012's purchase of security company AuthenTec, which went on to power the iPhone's Touch ID system; PrimeSense, the Israeli maker of 3D scanning technology that helped to create the iPhone X's face-tracking and matching...

Dec 10, 2017

Apple 'to buy Shazam for $400m'

Apple is close to buying the music recognition app Shazam for about $400m, media reports say. Shazam, a UK company founded in 1999, allows people to use their smartphone or computer to identify and buy music through a snippet of sound. Neither Apple nor Shazam have commented on the reports on the TechCrunch site. The influential Music Business Worldwide site points out that the reported price is significantly lower than the $1bn valuation placed on Shazam during its last funding round in...

Dec 10, 2017

BT appoints new general counsel

BT has appointed Sabine Chalmers, a former Anheuser-Busch InBev executive, its new general counsel in the latest shake-up at the telecoms company. Ms Chalmers, named in the Financial Times Global General Counsel 20 list for 2017, left her role at AB InBev in September after 13 years with the drinks company behind brands including Budweiser and Stella Artois. New faces include Jan du Plessis, who took over as chairman in November from miner Rio Tinto, and Cathryn Ross, the former chief...

Dec 9, 2017

Apollo partners with ADM in new bid for Unilever spreads unit

Apollo Global Management has partnered with Archer Daniels Midland, the US agricultural trader, and a veteran British turnround executive, as it prepares to submit a fresh bid in the $7bn auction for Unilever's spreads business. Apollo has also tapped David Haines, former chief executive of Germany's Grohe, to become executive chairman involved in running the unit, which includes Flora margarine and the spread until recently known as I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, should it win the bid...

Dec 8, 2017

Primark and Sports Direct named for underpaying staff

Primark and Sports Direct have had to pay thousands of pounds back to staff for paying them below the minimum wage. The retailers had to repay the most of 260 firms named on the government's list for paying their staff below the legal minimum. Sports Direct, and two staff agencies it used, had to pay back a total of £1.1m to their workers. Sports Direct - together with the two agencies, Transline and Best Connection which it used to supply its staff - underpaid more than 4,000 staff in total....

Dec 8, 2017

How the Model T Ford became a million dollar idea

At the start of the 20th Century, cars were for the rich, but Henry Ford had a dream of making a car for everybody. It was the Model T, and it dominated world car sales right up until the late 1920s. Ford also helped create something much less appealing - the tedium of working on an assembly line.

Dec 8, 2017

Lego wins first copyright case against China copies

Lego says it has won a landmark copyright case in China against rival products almost identical to its famous coloured toy bricks. It is the first time the Danish toymaker has won a competition case against Chinese copycats. The victory follows an earlier ruling that Lego's name and logo are well-known trademarks in China. Firms making copycat versions have been a big problem for Lego as some of them are so convincing even Lego's China boss could not tell them apart when tested by the BBC...

Dec 8, 2017

Manufacturing sector expands for sixth month in October

UK manufacturing output expanded for the sixth consecutive month in October, helped by record car production. Manufacturing output increased by 0.1% in October compared with the previous month, in line with expectations. Despite a relatively subdued October, Kate Davies of the Office for National Statistics said "The longer-term picture is one of strong growth". Annual growth in factory output hit 3.9% in October - the biggest increase since December 2016. Separate ONS figures released on...

Dec 8, 2017

Apple HomeKit flaw left smart gadgets vulnerable

Apple has fixed a security flaw in its HomeKit system that could have let unauthorised people control smart home gadgets such as door locks and lights. Apple said it had now disabled remote HomeKit access for shared users, as a temporary solution to the problem. The company's HomeKit framework lets iOS devices control internet-connected gadgets made by a variety of manufacturers. Some HomeKit functionality will be temporarily unavailable. "Apple said in a statement:"The issue affecting...

Dec 8, 2017

Dialog looks to avoid peril of over-reliance on Apple

Last week Apple allowed Dialog Semiconductor, the Anglo-German company that makes chips that help manage the power usage in iPhones, iPads and the watches, to talk about their relationship. Charles Lepetitpas, an analyst with Natixis, says the market has priced in an armageddon scenario for the possibility of Dialog losing all of its Apple revenue. "It is important to stress that Dialog manages the design of around 12 different chips," he says, adding that while Apple may have about 80-100...

Dec 7, 2017

Ladbrokes Coral in talks over takeover by GVC

Gambling giant Ladbrokes Coral is in "Detailed" talks over a takeover by online rival GVC over a deal which could value the group at up to £3.9bn. Under the proposals, GVC - which owns the Bwin and Sporting Bet brands - would hold 53.5% of the combined group. Ladbrokes Coral was formed last year following the merger of Ladbrokes and Coral. The maximum price GVC will pay will depend on the outcome of the government's review of gaming machines. GVC and Ladbrokes Coral said that the review could...

Dec 7, 2017

Ladbrokes and GVC announce ‘detailed’ merger talks

Bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral is in merger talks with gambling group GVC, months after similar discussions broke down over the summer for the second time. In a joint statement, Ladbrokes said that it had received a proposal from GVC that would give the bookmaker a total equity value of up to £3.9bn. The two sides have agreed that Kenneth Alexander of GVC would be the CEO of the combined group. The Boards believe that a transaction has the potential to create material shareholder value and that...

Dec 7, 2017

Ladbrokes Coral and GVC in renewed merger talks

Online gambling group GVC and UK bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral are in talks over a £5.7bn merger to create one of the world's largest betting groups, in a move expected to kick off a new round of dealmaking across the industry. The groups said on Thursday they were in "Detailed discussions" over a combination, after Isle of Man-based GVC made an offer that values Ladbrokes Coral at up to £3.9bn. It is the third time in a year that the internet gaming group has held talks with Ladbrokes Coral,...

Dec 7, 2017

Opening Quote: GVC’s festive offer to Ladbrokes; Boxing day for DS Smith

Under the terms of the proposed deal, GVC would acquire the entire share capital of Ladbrokes Coral for 160.9p per share, plus an extra element of up to 42.8p per share conditional on the FOBT decision. Ladbrokes Coral shareholders would then hold c.46.5 per cent of the newly combined company, and GVC shareholders would hold c.53.5 per cent. No matter, DS Smith's half-year results bring tidings of great joy: revenues were up 19 per cent to £2.8bn - thanks to both organic growth and continued...

Dec 7, 2017

Primark removes 'dangerous' Christmas candle from sale

A picture of a Primark candle bursting into flames has gone viral, after a mother-of-three took to Facebook to raise awareness of the potential hazard. Jenny Ferneyhough purchased the £5 candle - which she said developed into "Massive flames" after an hour of burning - in Manchester on Saturday. Mrs Ferneyhough, a Manchester City Council benefits officer, said she lit the candle - in the shape of a Christmas tree - after putting her three children to bed. She said the flame had spread from...

Dec 7, 2017

Two former executives opt not to testify in Tesco trial

Two former Tesco executives accused of misleading the market about the company's profits in 2014 have opted not to give evidence in their trial. The trial has heard that Amit Soni, a Tesco accountant who the prosecution has called a whistleblower, prepared a report that claimed that for part of 2014, Tesco had been incorrectly pulling forward future income to flatter the bottom line. Mr Gildersleeve, a former Tesco executive and a deputy chairman of TalkTalk, told the trial that he recruited...

Dec 7, 2017

GVC/Ladbrokes Coral: cap it off

Online gaming group GVC only needed to wait another month or so for the results of a British government review into ultra-addictive betting machines that scuppered its previous takeover talks with Ladbrokes Coral. The best case, at least for Ladbrokes shareholders, is that the cap is £50 and the bid is worth 204p per share. A conservative view of the possible cost savings justifies a premium of up to 79p. If GVC has under-estimated the government's resolve, it makes sense for Ladbrokes...

Dec 7, 2017

Priyanka Chopra sparks Twitter search for most unread emails

How many unread emails have you got piling up in your inbox? 50? 100? Over 1,000? A photo showing Chopra's 257,623 unread emails on her phone was shared by American actor Alan Powell, who is due to star alongside Chopra in the third season of US action-thriller Quantico. The grand prize goes to Piyush Raka, who dethroned Chopra's record with what would appear to be 381,753 unread emails, a number so high it immediately drew questions of digital trickery from other people on Twitter. A few...

Dec 7, 2017

GVC looks to clear final Ladbrokes Coral hurdles

The chief executive of GVC, the online betting company, has led two previous approaches for Ladbrokes Coral, the UK bookmaker, over the past year. The previous attempts to bring together GVC and Ladbrokes stumbled because of uncertainty around the government's review on fixed-odds betting terminals - in-store machines that have been dubbed by critics as the "Crack cocaine" of gambling but are the largest source of revenues for some bookmakers, including Ladbrokes Coral. To deal with the...

Dec 6, 2017

Will tech firms challenge China's 'open' internet?

China has been smart and ruthless in its control of the internet within its borders. China is ramping up its investment in how the web works; artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing. Which is why the social network is pushing very hard to try to get into China, legally. It's made him China's best known businessman, and he has a very direct message for the foreign firms who want in. As Tim Cook from Apple proved, when he appeared here in person, to praise China's vision of online...

Dec 6, 2017

Two Singapore 'Airbnb hosts' charged for illegal home stays

Two men have been charged in Singapore for illegally renting out their homes for short-term stays via Airbnb, according to local media. It is the first known case of its kind since new laws against home sharing came into effect in June. While home owners can seek the URA's approval for shorter term stays, the regulations effectively render most Airbnb rentals illegal. Airbnb would not comment on the case but said it remained committed to "Working alongside the government to find a way forward...

Dec 6, 2017

Poundland owner Steinhoff sees its shares crash by 63%

Poundland owner Steinhoff International has seen its shares fall 60% after it said it would launch a probe into accounting irregularities. Its South African shares hit a seven-year low of 17.56 rand on the Johannesburg securities exchange. Steinhoff derives about 60% of its earnings in Europe and 34% in Africa. Who are Steinhoff International?Headquartered in South Africa from German origins. "The supervisory board of Steinhoff wishes to advise shareholders that new information has come to...

Dec 6, 2017

Military wives 'missing out' on up to £30,000 of pension

Wives or partners of those who have served abroad in the armed forces may be missing out on pension payments worth thousands of pounds. Last year the government launched a scheme to offer National Insurance Credits to 20,000 military spouses. "This is a very good scheme to recognise the service of military wives over the years, but the take-up so far has been very poor," said Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London. Spouses are not granted the National Insurance Credits automatically....