The chief executive of Universal Music has said the hotly anticipated €40bn flotation of the world’s largest record company this week does not mark the peak of the streaming-led recovery of the music industry, with billions of dollars of growth yet to come from a new wave of digital listening on devices such a smart speakers, connected cars and services such as TikTok. Sir Lucian Grainge, who stands to make a transaction bonus of at least $170m when the label behind artists such as Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber goes public in Amsterdam on Tuesday, said the listing provided the opportunity to build Universal into the “next generation music company”.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, will hold an emergency summit with gas industry chiefs on Monday morning in an effort to contain the fallout caused by soaring market prices on consumers and businesses. Mid-level suppliers will be placed into administration if they fall into trouble this winter in an attempt to protect consumers from costlier bills, he revealed on Sunday, after spending a frantic weekend thrashing out contingencies for Britain’s looming gas crisis.
The trial of a new drug to treat an aggressive form of breast cancer has “shattered expectations” raising hopes of a “cure”, according to its maker, AstraZeneca. The British pharmaceuticals company said three quarters of women in the trial of its new drug, Enhertu, had shown no progression in their disease after 12 months compared with just a third treated with a different medicine. - Sunday Times.
Ministers aim to secure a multibillion-pound investment from Saudi Arabia to fund renewable energy and infrastructure projects in the UK after yesterday’s announcement of a £10 billion deal with the United Arab Emirates. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, visited Saudi Arabia in June for talks with its foreign minister, and negotiations are understood to be under way with Boris Johnson’s investment envoy Lord Grimstone of Boscobel. - The Times.
There are signs outside almost every pub, restaurant and hotel dotting Torquay’s harbour: Staff wanted. “It’s been packed solid busy, you can’t get a table anywhere,” said Brett Powis, owner of three hotels in the area including the Riviera and Lincombe Hall. For the hotelier, staff shortages made it harder to take full advantage of the busiest summertime boom in the Devon resort for decades. – Guardian.
The NHS app is collecting and storing facial verification data from UK citizens in a process which has fuelled concerns about transparency and accountability. The data collection is taking place under a contract with a company linked to Tory donors called iProov, awarded by NHS Digital in 2019, which has yet to be published on the government website. - Guardian.
Property giant China Evergrande Group has said that it cannot sell properties and other assets fast enough to service its massive $300bn debts, and that its cashflow was under “tremendous pressure”. Only hours after angry investors besieged its Shenzhen headquarters and the company denied it was set for bankruptcy, Evergrande issued a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange saying that a significant drop in sales would continue this month, which was likely to further deteriorate its liquidity and cash flow.
The activist investor calling for a shake-up at Rolls-Royce has upped its stake in WH Smith but insisted it iswas supportive of management at the struggling high street chain. Causeway Capital Management is the retailer’s biggest shareholder and owns 9% after buying shares in the wake of a recent profit alert. Analysts suggested the California-based investor was betting on a recovery in international travel rather than agitating for change. - Guardian.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has warned that airfares will be “dramatically higher” next summer as passengers rush to return to Europe for their holidays. The outspoken airline chief executive said huge demand for holidays would coincide with fewer flights, which would mean a spike in prices for holidaymakers — not just for flights, but also for hotels. - Sunday Times.
Ikea is poised to buy Topshop’s former flagship store on London’s Oxford Street, once the jewel in Sir Philip Green’s retail empire, for an estimated £385m, creating a new London home for the Swedish furniture brand. The deal to buy the long leasehold on the building, which includes the now-vacant 100,000 sq ft Topshop outlet as well as a Nike Town store and a shop for footwear brand Vans, is expected to complete the sell off of the assets of Green’s Arcadia Group empire which collapsed into administration in November last year.
Boeing’s board of directors must face a lawsuit from the planemaker’s shareholders over two fatal crashes of its 737 Max aircraft, which killed 346 people in less than six months, a US judge has ruled. Delaware judge vice-chancellor Morgan Zurn found that the company had ignored “red flags” about the safety of the new aircraft and its anti-stall system, which the board “should have heeded but instead ignored”, following the crash of Lion Air flight 610 in October 2018.
Business groups reacted with dismay to the government’s national insurance hike and surcharge on dividend income to boost health and social care spending from next April, calling it a tax on jobs and a blow to the economic recovery. The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) said the extra financial burden from higher tax charges ignored the damage suffered by thousands of small businesses over the last 18 months. - Guardian.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has ordered a national security review of a takeover by a Chinese academic of a small Welsh manufacturer of graphene – the thinnest and lightest “supermaterial” known. In a rare move, Kwarteng instructed the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to review the planned takeover of Perpetuus Group by Taurus International or any companies associated with Dr Zhongfu Zhou. - Guardian.
The labour crisis could last for up to two years, Britain’s leading business lobby group has warned, as it called for ministers to take action on visas for foreign workers and stop “waiting for shortages to solve themselves”. Amid the most severe labour crunch since the 1970s, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) launched a broadside against the government, saying the UK’s economic recovery from the winter lockdown was being undermined by a lack of skills in key positions, with mounting risks that the problem would continue for some time.
The boss of one of Britain’s major engineering groups has urged ministers not to intervene in a flurry of US takeovers of British companies, saying the UK must protect its reputation as an open, trading economy. Simon Peckham, chief executive of the FTSE 100 giant Melrose Industries, said that rather than fretting over British corporate gems being owned by foreign buyers, the UK should be encouraging home-grown firms to buy up companies abroad. - Sunday Times.
The government is being urged to “get a handle” on the supply chain crisis, as the chair of a cross-party commission created to scrutinise the UK’s post-Brexit trade deals said ministers need to act now to avoid empty shelves in the run-up to Christmas. “Red tape and labour shortages from Brexit have exacerbated problems that are being acutely felt across production, processing, manufacturing, retail and of course logistics,” said Aodhán Connolly, who chaired an extraordinary session of the UK Trade and Business Commission, a group of cross-party MPs and business representatives set up as an independent adviser to government in April.
Household energy bills are to rise after prices on the UK’s wholesale electricity market soared to a record high last month, furthering concerns about more families being pushed into fuel poverty this winter. The electricity market price passed the £100 a megawatt-hour mark last month for the first time since the market was formed in 1990, according to analysis by Imperial College London. - Guardian .
The furlough scheme should be extended to protect workers in industries that continue to be damaged by the pandemic, business groups and unions have said as the job subsidy programme that has supported more than 11 million employees entered its final month. Aviation industry workers and staff at Britain’s airports should be allowed to remain on furlough until next year when travel restrictions are likely to be lifted and the airline industry returns to normal, they said.
UK business confidence has hit a four-year high, thanks to growing optimism about the post-Covid recovery, but companies highlighted concerns about staff shortages, which could push up pay in the coming months. The vaccine rollout, removal of lockdown restrictions and changes to self-isolation rules all contributed to greater optimism among firms in August, according to the latest snapshot from Lloyds Bank. - Guardian.
Some of China’s most valuable public companies could abandon their American stock listings within months, experts have warned, after reports emerged that Beijing is planning a wider crackdown on tech companies going public overseas. The development means that more than $2tn (£1. 5tn) of capital invested in the US shares of Chinese companies could be at risk. Reports on Friday suggested that Beijing was about to take further action against tech firms that deal with sensitive customer data, by forcing them to seek formal approval for initial public offerings (IPOs) outside China.