Jun 29, 2017

Decision on Fox's Sky takeover due today

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is to announce whether 21st Century Fox will be allowed to complete its takeover of Sky later today. Fox owns 39% of Sky, but wants to buy the rest, and assume total control of the broadcaster. Rupert Murdoch will control both 21st Century Fox and Sky while also owning The Times and The Sun newspapers. The UK has rules that ensure broadcasters must pay attention to 'due impartialty' so Sky would be prevented from taking a similar route to Fox. Fox first tried...

Jun 29, 2017

Ocadao supermarket trials driverless van deliveries

Internet-based grocer Ocado teams up with a robotics firm to test driverless deliveries in London.

Jun 29, 2017

Ocado trials driverless delivery van in London

Ocado has shown off a prototype driverless van designed to deliver goods at short distances. Chief executive Paul Clark said driverless delivery was "a natural stage in the progression of our transport technologies". While Amazon is developing a drone delivery service, Ocado had no immediate plans to follow suit, Mr Clark said. While politicians say the UK is at the forefront of driverless car technology - in its election manifesto the Conservative Party said the country was "Leading the...

Jun 28, 2017

Faecal bacteria 'in ice in Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero'

Ice from three of the UK's biggest coffee chains has been found to contain bacteria from faeces, according to a BBC investigation. Samples of iced drinks from Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero contained varying levels of the bacteria, the BBC's Watchdog found. Seven out of 10 samples of Costa ice were found to be contaminated with bacteria found in faeces. At both Starbucks and Caffe Nero, three out of 10 samples tested contained the bacteria known as faecal coliforms. A Caffe Nero...

Jun 28, 2017

Toshiba sues Western Digital over memory chip sale

Toshiba is suing Western Digital for 120bn yen, accusing it of interfering in the attempted sale of its flash memory business. Western Digital, a partner of Toshiba, objects to that proposed deal. Toshiba said Western had "Continually interfered with the bid process" and "Exaggerated" the amount of say it had in whether any sale went through. Earlier on Wednesday Toshiba said it had failed to complete a deal to sell the chip unit to a consortium of US, South Korean and state-backed Japanese...

Jun 28, 2017

Dixons Carphone reports record full-year profits

Dixons Carphone's annual profit has surpassed £500m for the first time, following a "Good year" for the Currys and PC World owner. The firm, formed through a merger of Dixons and Carphone Warehouse in 2014, said income rose by 10% to £501m. In the UK, Dixons Carphone said demand for electricals was "Solid", in particular computing and white goods. It helped offset a "More challenging" mobile market, affected by Samsung's exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. Commenting on its results for the...

Jun 28, 2017

Uber to appeal against English tests for drivers

The introduction of a written English language test for private hire drivers has been delayed after Uber won the right to appeal against the plans. Transport for London had wanted to revoke licences if drivers had not passed the test by 30 September. The Court of Appeal has said it would hear Uber's case after it argued 33,000 drivers out of 110,000 in London might not be able to renew licences. Uber's London general manager Tom Elvidge said the company was pleased to have "Secured this...

Jun 28, 2017

Arrests in UK over Microsoft scam calls

Four people have been arrested in the UK following an investigation into scams involving calls from fraudsters pretending to be IT support staff. There were 34,504 computer software service fraud reports made to the UK's national fraud and cyber-reporting centre, Action Fraud, over the past financial year. In addition to Microsoft, criminals have claimed to have worked for BT and TalkTalk among others. "These arrests are just the beginning of our work, making the best use of specialist skills...

Jun 28, 2017

Tesco to axe 1,200 head office jobs

The UK's biggest supermarket will cut a quarter of its workforce in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield.

Jun 28, 2017

Dixons Carphone shrugs off retail woe as profit jumps

Dixons Carphone has defied the gloom enveloping Britain's retail sector, reporting rising sales and a jump in pre-tax profit as it enticed customers away from rival sellers of consumer electronics and white goods. Mr James, who has led the electronics retailer since it was created by the 2014 merger of the Dixons appliance chain with communications specialist Carphone Warehouse, said the "UK consumer environment seems to be holding up for us". Eleanor Parr, retail analyst at GlobalData, said...

Jun 28, 2017

Tesco cuts 1,200 head office jobs

Tesco is cutting 1,200 jobs at its head office and support centres in the latest in a wave of mass job losses in the grocery sector as it attempts to counter rising costs. The news comes only a week after Tesco, which is the country's biggest supermarket chain, announced the closure of one of its call centres with the loss of up to 1,100 jobs. Last week Tesco revealed plans to increase wages for hourly-paid store staff by 10.5 per cent over two years, as the rising minimum wage prompted the...

Jun 28, 2017

Lombard: Dixons Carphone switches on to service

Nowadays visitors to the merged Dixons Carphone are more likely to be met by highly trained members of its Geek Squad and KnowHow teams, who can suggest more than "Have you tried turning it off and on again?". Dixons Carphone has tried to match these changes - in terms of what is being bought, and where. Both measures seemed to help Dixons Carphone buck the high street trend and allay concerns over falling sales of big-ticket items. With Britons apparently making an "Old sofa, new telly"...

Jun 27, 2017

Suntans on children 'are not healthy'

A few said they had allowed their children to use sun beds. Repeated sun exposure can lead to skin cancer in later life. "People who spend more than 15 minutes in the sun on any given day, should apply sun protection factor 15 or higher." "A suntan is your skin's way of trying to protect itself from too much sun. And a sunburn is a clear sign that your skin has been damaged." "While everyone needs a little bit of sun for vitamin D, most children and adults get enough from a short amount of...

Jun 27, 2017

Debenhams shares slip as sales dip

Shares in department store chain Debenhams slid 3.4% after it reported falling sales amid "Volatile trading". Like-for-like sales dropped 0.9% in the 15 weeks to 17 June, and it added that May was "a tough month for retailers". It said 2017 profits should be in the expected range, but added that if market volatility continued, profits could be at the lower end of forecasts. Its comments weighed on rival retail shares, with Marks and Spencer down 1.9%. Staying in the retail sector, Carpetright...

Jun 27, 2017

Western Digital resubmits Toshiba chip unit bid

Western Digital has resubmitted its bid for Toshiba's flagship flash memory unit amid a battle over the sale of the business. Toshiba needs to sell the unit after an accounting scandal and cost overruns at its Westinghouse nuclear unit. Western Digital has a 49% stake in the unit thanks to its joint venture with Toshiba, which has been in existence for 17 years. The BBC has seen a letter sent by Western Digital's board to Toshiba in which they warn they "Will not consent to a transaction with...

Jun 27, 2017

Debenhams warns of ‘volatile’ trading on the high street

Debenhams, the struggling department store chain, has become the latest retailer to warn of tough trading on the UK high street, saying the market had become more unpredictable as consumers tighten their belts. The group, which is in the early stages of a turnround plan headed by former Amazon executive Sergio Bucher, said on Tuesday that sales had fallen in the past three months and put investors on notice that the "More volatile" trading environment could hit profits. Mr Bucher was speaking...

Jun 27, 2017

Volvo's driverless cars 'confused' by kangaroos

Volvo's self-driving technology is struggling to identify kangaroos in the road. The Swedish car-maker's 2017 S90 and XC90 models use its Large Animal Detection system to monitor the road for deer, elk and caribou. "We've noticed with the kangaroo being in mid-flight when it's in the air, it actually looks like it's further away, then it lands and it looks closer," its Australia technical manager told ABC. But the problem would not delay the rollout of driverless cars in the country, David...

Jun 27, 2017

Telefónica commits to UK as spectrum auction looms

José María Álvarez-Pallete, chairman and chief executive of Telefónica, said that a much-delayed spectrum auction in the UK provided the company with an opportunity to strengthen its position, more than a year after regulators blocked the £10.5bn sale of O2 to its rival Three as its owner tried to slash its debt burden. "We are building all the blocks to make sure that we even improve our competitive position in the UK. We are ready to participate actively In in the spectrum auction. As we...

Jun 27, 2017

Facebook hits two billion users

More than a quarter of the world's population now uses Facebook every month, the social network says. "As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially two billion people," founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg posted. The firm's continuing growth will confound critics who have long predicted that the social network's growth would slow down as rivals such as Snapchat stole its users. Earlier this year, Facebook warned that growth in advertising revenues would slow down. Last...

Jun 27, 2017

L’Oréal sells The Body Shop to Natura Cosméticos

L'Oréal signed a contract on Tuesday to sell The Body Shop to the Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura Cosméticos as it seeks to grow internationally. "L'Oréal announces that the contract for the sale of The Body Shop to Natura was signed," L'Oréal said in a statement on Tuesday. The Body Shop has faced increasing competition from other brands offering similar products based on natural ingredients with no animal testing. "The acquisition of The Body Shop is a decisive step in making Natura Group...

Jun 26, 2017

Hornby criticises Phoenix takeover offer

The board of Hornby, the Aim-listed toymaker, has criticised a takeover offer from its majority shareholder Phoenix Asset Management, saying its bid to buy the remainder of Hornby's shares undervalues the company. Phoenix was required to make an offer to buy the rest of Hornby after upping its stake above 50 per cent last week, and confirmed on Friday it had made an offer of 32.375p per share. The company said the offer "Signfificantly undervalues Hornby and its future prospects". Hornby has...

Jun 26, 2017

A High Street star?

The Russian billionaire buying health food chain Holland & Barrett, said he was looking for future stars of the High Street to invest in. You're part of the booming trend for "Wellness" that by rights ought to be making Holland & Barrett a supernova of the High Street already. Holland & Barrett, rather than riding the well-being wave, has been coasting, say observers. In which case it is hard to see what will draw people into a High Street store. Five new Holland & Barrett "More" stores that...

Jun 26, 2017

FTSE 100 is lifted by airline industry shares

The FTSE 100 closed higher on Monday, with airlines flying high and miners in the doldrums. Shares in Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn and Costa Coffee, led the risers to finish 2.1% higher at £40.45. IAG rose 2% to finish at 611p and easyJet ended 1.4% higher at £13.56. Precious metals miner Fresnillo began and ended the trading session as the biggest loser, down 3.1% at £15.55. Miners Antofagasta and Randgold Resources were also major fallers, down 2.7% and 1.6% respectively.

Jun 25, 2017

Next boss Lord Wolfson calls for 'smooth' Brexit

Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next, has warned that failing to secure a "Smooth" departure from the EU could result in "Years of economic decline" for the UK. The retail boss, who voted in favour of Brexit, said he still believed it would boost trade and the British economy. Brexit Secretary David Davis said on Sunday that a transition of "One to two years" would probably be needed. Lord Wolfson expressed some of those concerns, saying: "The UK government and EU need to rethink the...

Jun 25, 2017

US hedge fund in anonymous bet against Tesco shares

A $20bn New York hedge fund is using an offshore shell company to anonymously bet against the shares of the UK supermarket Tesco, raising fresh questions over the efficacy of European short selling disclosure rules. Tiger Global, one of the world's largest hedge funds, has made use of a Cayman Islands-registered vehicle called Delores Holdings Ltd to make a short bet against close to £100m of Tesco shares, according to people familiar with the situation. Tesco declined to comment on the...

Jun 23, 2017

Hinkley Point deal 'risky and expensive'

UK government plans for a new £18bn nuclear power station have come under fire from public auditors, who call it "a risky and expensive project". The case for the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset was "Marginal" and the deal was "Not value for money", according to the National Audit Office. State-controlled French energy firm EDF is funding two-thirds of the project, which will create more than 25,000 jobs, with China investing the remaining £6bn. Critics of the deal have warned of escalating...

Jun 23, 2017

Premier Inn urgently reviews cladding

Premier Inn has told BBC Newsnight that it was "Extremely concerned" about the cladding on three of its hotels. It said an urgent review found hotels in Maidenhead, Brentford and Tottenham did not appear to comply with government guidance for tall buildings - although it did appear to be a less flammable type than that used at Grenfell Tower. The hotel chain said an independent expert has assured them that the hotels were safe to stay open given their "Robust" safety measures including fire...

Jun 23, 2017

Virgin Media urges password change over hacking risk

Virgin Media has told 800,000 customers to change their passwords to protect against being hacked. Virgin Media said the risk was small but advised customers using default network and router passwords to update them immediately. "We regularly support our customers through advice and updates and offer them the chance to upgrade to a Hub 3.0 which contains additional security provisions." The study, carried out in conjunction with ethical security researchers SureCloud, tested 15 devices -of...

Jun 23, 2017

UK Serious Fraud Office takes advantage of its stay of execution

The courts will decide on the merits of the Serious Fraud Office's case against Varley, and three other former Barclays execs, accused of fraud in connection with Qatar's investment in the bank in 2008. City bigwigs Michael Spencer, Alex Wilmot-Sitwell and Simon Warshaw were in attendance. City Insider hears the co-founder of Seven Investment Management split his time in the 1970s between training as a barrister and working as a labourer on the London tube network, tunnelling the Jubilee...

Jun 23, 2017

Facebook launches initiative to fight online hate speech

Facebook is launching a UK initiative to train and fund local organisations to combat extremism and hate speech. In particular, security services have criticised Facebook, Twitter and Google for relying too much on other people to report inappropriate content, rather than spotting it themselves. In April, Germany passed a bill to fine social networks up to €50m if they failed to give users the option to report hate speech and fake news, or if they refused to remove illegal content flagged as...