Jul 19, 2019

BBC and ITV strike deal to launch streaming service BritBox in UK

ITV and the BBC said on Friday they reached an agreement to launch their joint streaming service in the UK, as Britain's biggest broadcasters join forces to fend off mounting competition from online rivals like Netflix. Carolyn McCall, ITV's chief executive, called the deal a "Milestone moment." Under the agreement, ITV and the BBC will make their content archives available for BritBox viewers. BBC and ITV also plan on commissioning original content from British studios meant specifically for...

Jul 18, 2019

Regulator calls for £50 cut to water bills in 2020-2025

Water bills in England and Wales are set to fall by an average of £50 between 2020 and 2025, under plans published by the industry regulator. It comes after only three out of 17 water firms in England and Wales passed the last review by Ofwat, published in January. All firms submitted plans to cut bills for millions of consumers over the 2020-25 period, while reducing leaks and helping vulnerable customers. Reducing the number of customers with low water pressure. Water companies will be able...

Jul 18, 2019

Asos shares slump as it warns on profits

Shares in Asos have sunk after the online fashion giant said that this year's profits are likely to be much lower than expectations. "Embedding the change from the major overhaul of infrastructure and technology in our US and European warehouses has taken longer than we had anticipated, impacting our stock availability, sales and cost base in these regions," said Asos chief executive Nick Beighton. Total sales across the group rose by 12% in the four months to 30 June, Asos said, and in the...

Jul 18, 2019

No-deal Brexit could cause £30bn economic hit, watchdog says

The UK will fall into recession next year if there is a no-deal Brexit, the country's fiscal watchdog has said. It said this would push up public sector borrowing by £30bn. Fears of a no-deal outcome have risen recently, after both Tory leadership contenders said they would be willing to leave the EU without a deal. The UK is set to leave the European Union on 31 October. In its first assessment of the economic impact of a no-deal scenario, the OBR said the UK economy would contract in 2020...

Jul 18, 2019

'My $19 Uber ride cost 100 times that'

Uber passengers in the US have complained on Twitter after a "Glitch" meant they were charged 100 times more than advertised fares. Uber said the issue had been fixed quickly but declined to say how many of its passengers had been overcharged. One Uber user said the high cost of a short journey, $1,905 instead of $19.05, had led to her husband's card hitting its balance limit on his birthday. Many others reported the same issue with their fares and complained there was no direct way to report...

Jul 18, 2019

Asos shares plummet on third profit warning in 7 months

Online fashion retailer Asos warned profits would be more than a third lower than expected this year due to a botched warehouse upgrade that limited the availability of stock to shoppers in the US and Europe. The downgrade is the latest blow to Asos, which has now issued three profit warnings in seven months, including one just before Christmas that knocked 40 per cent off its value. Sales in the UK and Ireland remained strong in the four months to the end of June, with Asos reporting 16 per...

Jul 18, 2019

EasyJet hires Ryanair executive as chief operating officer

EasyJet has hired rival Ryanair's operations chief Peter Bellew, a 30-year industry veteran, as it navigates intense competition in the European short-haul market. The airline announced Mr Bellew's appointment as chief operating officer alongside a trading update that revealed an 11 per cent rise in revenue for the latest quarter. Mr Bellew spent nine years at Ryanair, where he held a number of roles, including director of flight operations, before he left for Malaysia Airlines, where he was...

Jul 18, 2019

Asos profit warnings come as fast as its fashions

As Shore Capital complained: "Initially sales guidance was for [about] 25 per cent growth in FY2019 - that has now been halved in the space of six months." Nor is the "Newness" of Asos's excuses proving a good look: it has now added third-party operational failings to the pricing and marketing challenges it admitted to late last year. Shore Capital called Asos's warehouse problems "Self-inflicted". This year's lower profit will come after £47m of transition costs - moving US fulfilment from...

Jul 17, 2019

Disability emojis: Guide dog and wheelchair user revealed

Apple has announced some new emojis - including a wheelchair user, people with walking sticks and a hearing aid. "These new options help fill a significant gap in the emoji keyboard." Apple has had proposals for the new emojis accepted by the Unicode Consortium, who are in charge of approving new emoji characters. At the time the tech giant said it wanted to commission the new emojis to "Speak to the life experiences of those with disabilities". Apple has been keen to point out the new emojis...

Jul 17, 2019

'Cordless' Dyson fan advert falls foul of watchdog

An advert for one of Dyson's £400 fans has been labelled misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority. The video, for the company's Pure Hot and Cool Fan, suggests the fan is cordless when it actually needs to be plugged in, it said. Dyson told the ASA it did not think there was "Any reasonable prospect" of consumers thinking a tower fan or purifier could be cordless. Dyson had argued that its fans had been on the market for more than a decade. It told Dyson in future not to imply that...

Jul 17, 2019

GVC’s online gambling bet pays off as retail business suffers

GVC, the owner of betting shop chain Ladbrokes Coral, reported double digit online growth as it seeks to offset a sharp fall in revenue from its UK retail arm. Revenues from its UK betting shops dropped 10 per cent in the same period following a cut to the maximum stake permitted on fixed odd betting terminals, a kind of electronic slot machine, that has hit all retail bookmakers. To counter the effects of the stake cut and greater regulation of gambling in the UK market, gambling groups have...

Jul 17, 2019

Amazon Marketplace to be investigated by the EU

EU anti-trust regulators have opened an investigation into Amazon after allegations that it misuses "Sensitive data" from independent retailers who sell on the online giant's website. The European Commission said it would examine Amazon's standard contracts with marketplace sellers. The Commission said Amazon continuously collected data about the activity on its platform. "Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information - about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on...

Jul 17, 2019

Govia Thameslink fined £1m over Gatwick Express window death

A rail firm has been fined £1m after a man died leaning out of a train window. In May, Govia Thameslink Railway admitted a health and safety breach because a sign saying not to lean out was not displayed clearly enough. The rail regulator has written to firms demanding "Immediate action" over trains with these types of windows. The regulator said the "Droplight" windows were mostly confined to old InterCity trains and "Charter" rolling stock, and in most cases there were four windows per...

Jul 17, 2019

BT agrees £210m sale of historic London headquarters

BT has agreed to sell its historic London headquarters site to a real estate private equity firm as part of a large-scale overhaul of its business. The telecoms group said on Wednesday it had agreed to sell the building near St Paul's Cathedral in London for £209.6m to a fund run by London-based private equity investors Orion Capital Managers. James Beckham, head of London investment properties at agents CBRE, said the BT HQ was "a prime opportunity in a constrained market". The BT building...

Jul 17, 2019

Netflix shares sink 10% as subscriber take-up slows

Netflix added fewer paid subscribers than expected in the last three months, with the streaming service blaming price rises. Shares in the company sank 10% after Netflix added 2.7 million new customers worldwide in the April-June period, well below expectations. Netflix will be losing some of its hit shows such as Friends to rival platforms being launched in the coming months, but argued that it will make up for that with original content. "Much of our domestic, and eventually global, Disney...

Jul 16, 2019

Facebook scam-busting service goes live

Scammers are being targeted by a new tool for UK Facebook users that allows the reporting of fake adverts. The feature came about after Martin Lewis, founder of the MoneySavingExpert website, sued over his name and photo being used on fake Facebook adverts. On top of the usual ones, there will now be the option to "Send a detailed scam report" after choosing to "Report ad" and selecting "Misleading or scam ad" as the reason. "Millions of people know a scam when they see it, and millions of...

Jul 16, 2019

Uber ties some executive pay to diversity goals

Uber has said it will link pay for some senior executives to progress made toward improving diversity. Diversity will be used as one "Key metric" to assess performance and determine executive compensation for senior leaders, the firm said. Other tech firms including Microsoft have also tied some executive pay to improving diversity. "From our corporate offices to our driver-partners across the globe, diversity is one of our greatest assets," Uber said in its 2019 diversity report. In addition...

Jul 16, 2019

Ryanair to cut flights after 737 Max delays

Ryanair has said it will be forced to cut the number of summer flights it operates next year as it predicted further delays before the Boeing 737 Max is allowed to fly again. Ryanair is awaiting the delivery of 58 planes, but it only expects to receive just over half of those before summer. The airline said it was in talks with airports about which of its loss-making and underperforming bases could suffer cuts or closures. Ryanair added that it would also talk to its people and unions about...

Jul 16, 2019

British Museum trustee resigns over BP sponsorship and repatriation

An Egyptian writer has resigned from the British Museum's board of trustees, claiming it is "Immovable" on its sponsorship deal with oil company BP. Ahdaf Soueif also cited the museum's positions on worker relations and the repatriation of cultural artefacts as reasons for her departure. In a blog post she called on the museum "To take a clear ethical position... on issues of critical concern". BP's sponsorship of the British Museum and other cultural institutions, including the Tate and the...

Jul 16, 2019

Storm Area 51: US Air Force warns over Facebook event

It started as a bit of a joke, but now the US Air Force has told people not to go near Area 51. "[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces," the spokeswoman said. Theories about the base started in 1989 when a man named Bob Lazar claimed in an interview on US TV that he was a physicist who had worked in Area 51. As Thomas Bullard, author of The Myth and Mystery of UFOs says:...

Jul 16, 2019

US property group Vornado challenges Arcadia CVA

Philip Green's Arcadia Group promised to fight a legal challenge from US property firm Vornado that threatens to derail its crucial debt restructuring process. The company said on Tuesday that it had received applications to challenge two of the seven elements of the CVA from entities of Vornado. Its latest challenge is the second Vornado has mounted against Arcadia. Ed Cooke, chief executive of the retail property organisation Revo, called on the UK government to legislate against misuse of...

Jul 15, 2019

Sports Direct delays results as House of Fraser trading 'uncertain'

Mike Ashley's Sport Direct has delayed its results, citing uncertainty about the trading performance of the House of Fraser chain it bought last year. The company, whose results were due on Thursday, added its auditor, Grant Thornton, was facing increased scrutiny of its work for Sports Direct. Sports Direct also indicated that it may not be able to achieve the goals it had set out in December. Other companies' audits were also taking longer, Sports Direct said. In December, when it published...

Jul 15, 2019

Queries by Sports Direct auditor delay results

Sports Direct has delayed publishing its annual results and warned its previous earnings guidance may have been too optimistic, as it counts the cost of an aggressive acquisition spree by billionaire chief executive Mike Ashley. Its shares fell by 12 per cent at the start of London trade on Monday to 231p. Sports Direct had been expected to report a hit to profits of around 20 per cent for the year to April. When Sports Direct announced interim results, it revealed House of Fraser lost £31.5m...

Jul 15, 2019

Sports Direct delays results

Sports Direct has announced on Monday that it is going to delay the publication of its annual results, blaming "Current uncertainty" over the future financial performance of House of Fraser for the hold up. Sports Direct pointed to "Increased regulatory scrutiny of auditors and audits," as a contributing factor to the delay. Sports Direct bought HoF out of insolvency proceedings almost a year ago following a controversial deal that saw the 169-year-old company's stores, brand and stock...

Jul 15, 2019

Virgin Media probes why it blocked giant Gif site Imgur

Virgin Media is investigating why it mistakenly blocked customers from visiting Imgur, a platform used to share humorous photos and Gifs. Virgin has a policy of banning suspect web pages but said it would not normally ban a service outright. "Virgin Media will only block URLs if compelled to do so through a court order or through the IWF.". "As matter of course, Virgin Media does not carry out domain-level blocking on sites reported to us by the IWF.". Imgur is one of the UK's top 25 most...

Jul 15, 2019

Amazon workers launch protests on Prime Day

Thousands of workers in Amazon sites around the world are staging protests about pay and conditions as the online retailer begins its annual sale. On Monday, Amazon starts offering discounts to its Prime service members. William Stolz, a picker at a warehouse in the Shakopee warehouse in Minnesota, told the BBC that workers wanted "Safe, reliable jobs" from Amazon. "While Amazon fuels bargain hunting on Prime Day with hefty discounts, employees are being deprived of a living wage," said Orhan...

Jul 15, 2019

Boeing ditches 737 Max name on new Ryanair plane

A Boeing 737 Max due to be delivered to Ryanair has had the model's name changed on the nose of the aircraft, it has emerged. Photos shared on Twitter show a plane in Ryanair colours outside Boeing's manufacturing base, with the name 737 Max replaced by 737-8200. The images show the Ryanair plane, a larger version of the Max 8, at Boeing's Renton plant in Washington state. Boeing itself has not ruled out rebranding the 737 Max in future, while others have already taken to referring to it by...

Jul 14, 2019

GSK to appoint Jonathan Symonds as chairman

GlaxoSmithKline is to hire Jonathan Symonds, a former finance director at rival drugmakers AstraZeneca and Novartis, as its new chairman to oversee a break-up of the UK pharmaceuticals group. The appointment of Mr Symonds, who is currently deputy group chairman of HSBC, will end a six-month search for a replacement for Sir Philip Hampton, who has been non-executive chairman of GSK since 2015. During his tenure at AstraZeneca, Mr Symonds was involved in its acquisition of MedIummune, the...

Jul 13, 2019

Facebook 'to be fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal'

US regulators have approved a record $5bn fine on Facebook to settle an investigation into data privacy violations, reports in US media say. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users. The FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018, following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users. Cambridge Analytica was a...

Jul 12, 2019

Warning over Whirlpool danger dryers being sold online

LFB A charity has warned that fire-prone tumble dryers, which are now being recalled, are being sold by third-party vendors on online marketplaces. Electrical Safety First is alerting consumers to the risk of buying these products and urging websites to do more to prevent them being listed. Although there have been some reports of modified dryers catching fire, these are not being recalled. "Basic measures such as model numbers and serial numbers being made mandatory would allow marketplaces...