Aug 20, 2017

Law firm quit as Barclays adviser over Qatar loan fears

Linklaters, the big British law firm, resigned from advising Barclays over a controversial loan to Qatar at the heart of a $1bn lawsuit over fears it would be illegal, court documents have claimed. Barclays instructed the law firm to advise it on the $3bn loan it made at the height of the financial crisis, just as the Gulf state was investing in the bank as part of an £7.3bn emergency cash call to avoid a state bailout. PCP claims Barclays paid Qatar £2.4bn in secret side arrangements and...

Aug 18, 2017

Kit Kat accused of copying Atari game Breakout

Kit Kat's maker Nestle has been accused of copying Breakout, the 1970s computer game, in its latest marketing. Atari, the company behind some of the most popular early video games, has filed a suit alleging Nestle knowingly exploited the game's look and feel. The advert shows a game similar to Breakout but where the bricks are replaced with single Kit Kat bars. In the advert, which is titled "Kit Kat: Breakout", a row of people, of varying ages and appearance, share a sofa and play a video...

Aug 18, 2017

Northern, Southern and Merseyrail strikes set for September

Further rail strikes have been set for next month to coincide with schools going back in the row over driver-only-operated trains. Arriva Rail North, Merseyrail and Southern RMT staff will walk out from Friday 1 September with the last strike on Monday 4 September. Arriva Rail North - which operates under the brand Northern - and Southern workers will walk out on Friday, 1 September and Monday, 4 September. Staff at Merseyrail will be on strike on 1 September, 3 September and 4 September. RMT...

Aug 18, 2017

Ackman’s Pershing Square suffers hit as Herbalife rallies

In its first set of financial results since it floated on the London Stock Exchange in May, the investor's US-focused fund, Pershing Square Holdings, reported that it had lost 1.7 per cent in the year-to-date. The value of Pershing Square's position in Herbalife fell by 2.9 per cent, making the business the fund's worst-performing holding. In the year to August 15, the value of Pershing Square's position in ADP rose by 1.4 per cent. A long position in global food giant Mondelez International...

Aug 17, 2017

Apple boss Tim Cook joins Donald Trump condemnation

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has become the latest boss to criticise President Donald Trump over his response to the white nationalist rallies in Virginia. Mr Trump has disbanded two business councils after top bosses resigned. On Wednesday, Mr Trump has said he was scrapping two business councils after more bosses quit over his handling of the violent clashes in Virginia. Mr Trump said: "Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy...

Aug 17, 2017

Hyundai vows to produce longer-range electric car

Korean carmaker Hyundai is wading further into the electric vehicle market, promising a car that can go 500km on each charge. Hyundai already has an electric model on the market, but its range lags behind its competitors' models. The company also has plans to develop its first dedicated facility for pure electric vehicles, which will allow it to produce a variety of cars with longer driving ranges. Hyundai's latest push into the electric market comes amid growing global competition for...

Aug 17, 2017

Topshop bosses out of fashion in Arcadia shake-up

In the latest shake-up at Sir Philip's parent company Arcadia, Topshop's creative boss Kate Phelan is leaving, as is Topman's Gordon Richardson. It signals a new era for Topshop, once the go-to destination for young shoppers keen to snap up the very latest fashion trends on the High Street. Ms Phelan moved to Topshop from fashion magazine Vogue in 2011, and Mr Richardson has been at Topman for 17 years. "In Arcadia's statement, Sir Philip said:"The appointment of David Hagglund, in the newly...

Aug 17, 2017

DIY firms Homebase and B&Q suffer sales slump

The UK's two biggest DIY chains, B&Q and Homebase, have both reported a slide in sales this summer. Homebase reported a similar drop in quarterly sales under its new Australian owner. "George Salmon, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said:"It looks like Kingfisher isn't alone in having difficulties in the UK. "The group's flagship B&Q chain saw like-for-like sales fall 4.7%, which is similar to the 4.3% fall at Bunnings UK, the new owner of Homebase." As well as the Bunnings DIY chain,...

Aug 16, 2017

Uber official apologises for 'misunderstanding' in Philippines

A top Uber official has apologised to the Philippines' transport regulator and vowed to respect its authority following a temporary ban on its services in the country. Uber briefly ignored the suspension and moved to appeal the decision. Uber said on Tuesday that it would appeal the order, and briefly resumed services in defiance of the ban. After initially rejecting its authority, Uber has adopted a more conciliatory tone with the transport regulator. In a video posted on Philippines...

Aug 16, 2017

Uber agrees to 20 years of privacy audits to settle FTC charges

Uber has been ordered to introduce tougher measures to protect the privacy of its drivers and their customers, to settle charges brought by a regulator. "We have significantly strengthened our privacy and data security practices since then and will continue to invest heavily in these programmes," an Uber representative said. Comparitech security researcher Lee Munson said: "While such an agreement with the FTC may sound incredibly arduous, Uber will probably benefit from a necessary change in...

Aug 16, 2017

Royal Mail union extends deadline to settle pension dispute

Royal Mail has been set a September deadline by a trade union to resolve a simmering dispute over pension reform - or face industrial action. "We have designed a timetable to give Royal Mail Group a further chance to move things forward sufficiently that we don't have to give notice for industrial action. That of course is our key objective - to reach an agreement here," said Terry Pullinger, CWU deputy general secretary, in a video posted on the union's Facebook page. Royal Mail wants to...

Aug 16, 2017

Ryanair accuses Lufthansa of Air Berlin 'conspiracy'

Ryanair has accused Lufthansa and the German government of conspiring to carve up collapsed airline Air Berlin. Ryanair said there was an "Obvious conspiracy" between Germany, Lufthansa and Air Berlin to carve up the assets. "Ryanair said:"This manufactured insolvency is clearly being set up to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free Air Berlin which will be in breach of all known German and EU competition rules. "Now even the German government is supporting this Lufthansa-led monopoly with...

Aug 16, 2017

Amazon to open new Severn Beach warehouse in 2018

Online retail giant Amazon is to open a new warehouse near Bristol in 2018 which it says will create 1,000 jobs. Amazon's Stefano Perago said: "Bristol offers fantastic infrastructure and talented local people who we look forward to joining the Amazon team." The new warehouse will open at Severn Beach adding to its 13 sites in the UK. The firm was exposed in a BBC documentary for its treatment of its delivery drivers on long hours, low pay and driving longer than legal limits. The decision to...

Aug 16, 2017

Amazon launches Instant Pickup service targeting students

Amazon has launched a service in the US offering daily "Essentials" for collection within two minutes of ordering. The items available in Instant Pickup include snacks, cold drinks, smartphone chargers and Amazon devices. The new service will enable Prime and Prime Student members to use the Amazon app to order items they need urgently from a curated collection of popular products. Amazon employees at the pickup points then process the order, and it will be available to collect from a...

Aug 16, 2017

Nokia 8 smartphone takes 'bothie' videos

The latest Nokia smartphone aims to popularise the idea of filming "Bothies". The device can capture video from both its front and rear-facing cameras at the same time, and broadcast the images side-by-side to YouTube and other livestreaming services. The aluminium-shelled Nokia 8 costs about 600 euros. The BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones asked whether it is distinctive enough to stand out from other high-end rivals.

Aug 16, 2017

National Minimum Wage: Workers win £2m compensation

Workers whose bosses failed to pay the National Minimum Wage are to be refunded a record £2m, the government has revealed. About 50 employers in the hospitality sector - including two fish and chip shops - were fined for not paying the minimum wage, or the National Living Wage for those aged over 25.Argos. "TUC research suggests there are at least a quarter of a million workers being cheated out of the minimum wage." The current rate for the National Living Wage is £7.50 per hour. The adult...

Aug 15, 2017

Bill Gates reduces Microsoft stake with $4.6bn donation

Bill Gates has given away $4.6bn to charity in his largest donation since 2000. Mr Gates' share in Microsoft is now just 1.3%. Prior to this, Mr Gates gave away $16bn in Microsoft shares in 1999 and $5.1bn in 2000. The majority of all previous donations have been made to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is primarily focused on reducing world poverty, combating infectious diseases and providing universal access to computers. In 2010, the Mr and Mrs Gates and Microsoft co-founder...

Aug 15, 2017

Strike will severely hit Argos customers, union warns

A strike at Argos' distribution centres will "Severely hit" the retailer's customers, a union has said. Unite members have begun a strike over what the union says is Argos' failure to negotiate a national deal covering redundancy and severance packages. "But an Argos spokesperson said:"Customers will not be impacted and should be reassured that full contingency plans are in place. Workers voted to strike after Argos, now owned by supermarket giant Sainsbury's, transferred 500 workers from...

Aug 15, 2017

BT to scrap half of the UK's remaining telephone boxes

BT is to scrap half of the UK's remaining 40,000 telephone boxes and focus on the ones in locations where people are more likely to use them. In 1992 at its peak before mobile phones became popular, there were 92,000 phone boxes in the UK. Telephone boxes still handle 33,000 calls a day, but one third of kiosks are never used to make a call. "BT is committed to providing a public payphone service, but with usage declining by over 90% in the last decade, we continue to review and remove...

Aug 14, 2017

Breast cancer helpline founder paid herself £31k

A national breast cancer charity is being investigated after its founder paid herself £31,000 in breach of charity law. Trustees cannot be paid without permission from the Charity Commission, which regulates registered charities in England and Wales. Since 2012, the charity's accounts also show that as little as 2.8% of annual donations has been spent on "Charitable activities", such as running the helpline. Gina Miller, founder of the True and Fair Foundation, wants to set a minimum...

Aug 14, 2017

Uber allows in-app tips for UK drivers

Ride-sharing company Uber is to allow its drivers in the UK to receive tips from passengers via its app. The change follows criticism that Uber was making it unnecessarily difficult for its drivers to improve their earnings. A spokesman confirmed to the BBC that 100% of tips received via the app would go to drivers, without Uber taking a cut. Uber drivers have long called for better tipping options as a way of mitigating falling fares. Drivers at first seemed happy with the earnings offered...

Aug 14, 2017

Facebook launches China-only version of Moments photo app

Facebook has quietly launched a photo-editing app exclusively for China. The app, called Colourful Balloons, was launched in May and is almost identical to the Facebook Moments app. The BBC understands that part of the reason the app was not branded as Facebook was to study how apps organically gain users in China. The app works with WeChat, a leading messaging app by Chinese social media giant Tencent. Facebook was blocked in 2009, while its photo-sharing app Instagram was banned in 2014 and...

Aug 14, 2017

Primark sets the record straight on pronunciation

How to pronounce the budget retailer's name has caused a basket-load of debate. The word is made up of the initials of the founder's name and the village he grew up in. Chairman Philip Knight confirmed the pronunciation in 2014 was in fact Ni-key, after the Greek goddess of victory. Named after its founder Adi Dassler, it's A-di-das not a-DEE-das. Luxury car brand Porsche also takes it name from its founder, Ferdinand Porsche.

Aug 13, 2017

Clarks in sexism row over Dolly Babe girls' shoe

Clarks has been accused of "Everyday sexism" for a range of girls' school shoes called "Dolly Babe", while the boys' equivalent is called "Leader". The shoe manufacturer has removed the Dolly Babe range from its website following "Customer feedback". Clarks said it was removing the Dolly Babe name from stocks in stores, but warned the process would take "Time to complete". The row follows another claim of sexism levelled against Clarks earlier this month by Jemma Moonie-Dalton, who wrote a...

Aug 13, 2017

Sky broadband numbers fall in final months of financial year

Sky lost customers in the broadband market in the final quarter of its financial year, according to industry data, ending a growth run dating back more than a decade. The UK pay-TV company reported results for the year to June last month but for the first time refused to provide numbers for its performance in the broadband market. The company added 124,000 broadband customers in the first half of the year, taking its customer base to 6.1m. Sky was thought by analysts to have achieved a flat...

Aug 11, 2017

How long could my summer holiday flight be delayed?

Air passengers leaving Gatwick have suffered the longest average delays during summer getaways from major UK airports, BBC analysis reveals. Average delay for each flight, ordered by total delay. EasyJet has the longest average delay at 24 minutes when taking all summer flights into consideration, whether delayed or not, for the busiest airlines in June to August for the last two years. While Gatwick had the longest average delay per outbound flight, the data reveals that travellers were less...

Aug 11, 2017

Sport remains key to Sky as tech rivals plot pitch invasion

The questions have become all the more pressing for Sky after Amazon emerged as a serious bidder for a new five-year UK deal with the ATP to show the best male tennis players in the world on its Prime video platform. As part of its current three-year deal with the Premier League, Sky is paying £1.4bn a season. For Sky, sport is now far less integral than it was when Rupert Murdoch was attempting to save BSkyB from bankruptcy in the early 1990s. With average viewing numbers for Premier League...

Aug 11, 2017

Scottish comic book king achieves superhero status with Netflix deal

Mild-mannered university dropout from deprived Scottish town conquers America - add the ability to fly and some theatrical violence and it would make one of the superhero stories that are comic book writer Mark Millar's stock-in-trade. The teacher says that even when Mr Millar borrowed a story from classic British comic 2000AD for a piece of homework writing, he did so with "His own take on it". John McShane, a Glasgow comic book editor and historian who published one of Mr Millar's early...

Aug 10, 2017

21st Century Fox 'expects Sky approval in 2018'

Approval of 21st Century Fox's proposed takeover of Sky is likely to come in the first half of 2018, the company said on Wednesday, in a sign it is gearing up for wider review of the merger. Fox is seeking to buy the 61% of Sky it doesn't own. Fox told investors on Wednesday that setting aside money for the deal remains a priority, noting that the company has already received necessary approvals in Europe. "We remain confident our transaction will be approved, but more likely in the first...