Cineworld to buy Regal in £2.7bn deal making them second largest cinema operator

( via – – Tue, 5 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Cineworld has announced that it is snapping up its US peer Regal for $3.6bn (£2.7bn), turning the British company into the second largest cinema operator in the world, with over 9,500 screens.

In a statement on Tuesday, Cineworld said that the deal would create a globally diversified cinema operator, spanning ten countries and would allow Cineworld to access the North American cinema market – which is the largest box office market in the world.

The US cinema market has had an industry box office worth in excess of $10bn in each year since 2008 and stable admissions in excess of 1.25 billion in each year over the same period, Cineworld said.

“We have long had high respect for Regal and for its strong position in the largest box office market in the world and we are delighted that the Regal directors have unanimously agreed to recommend our offer to their shareholders,” said Mooky Greindinger, chief executive of Cineworld.

“Consolidation is an important move forward and the best practice we have successfully rolled out across Europe will be the key driver to continued success,” he added.

Amy Miles, CEO of Regal, said that she believes the transaction “provides compelling value for our stockholders”.

“We believe this partnership with Cineworld will enhance Regal’s ability to deliver a premium movie-going experience for customers and further build upon our strategy of introducing innovative concepts and premium amenities designed to enhance the value of our theatre assets,” she said.

Cineworld was founded in 1995. It was originally a private company but re-registered as a public company in May 2006 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in May 2007.

On Tuesday it said that it expects the deal to be “strongly accretive to earnings” in the first full year following completion of the transaction, which will be 2019.

The deal will be funded by a rights issue, which will raise approximately £1.7bn, and a debt issue.

Because of the size of the acquisition, Cineworld said that it will be classed as a reverse takeover under the listing rules of the Financial Conduct Authority. As such it will be conditional on the approval of Cineworld’s shareholders at a general meeting which is expected to take place in February next year.

Cineworld added, however, that board intends to unanimously recommend the deal.  The directors of Cineworld also intend to vote in favour of it, the group added.

Separately, Cineworld said that the Anschutz Corporation, which controls about 67 per cent of the voting rights in Regal, has agreed to provide its written consent to approve the takeover.

By Josie Cox

Channel 4 to compete with digital ad giants Facebook and Google

( via – – Tue, 14 Nov, 2017) London, Uk – –

Channel 4 has teamed up with three European commercial broadcasters to book pan-European advertising campaigns, allowing it to take on digital ad giants Facebook and Google for the first time.

The European Broadcaster Exchange, which comprises of Channel 4, Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1, France’s FT1 and Mediaset, which operates in Italy and Spain, will launch early next year.

Each of the parties will hold a 25pc stake in the new joint venture, which will compete for pan-European digital advertising campaigns, running those campaigns across their “on-demand” online streaming services.

Channel 4 said the venture allows it to “enter the pan-European digital ad sales market for the first time”.

The broadcaster, home to The Great British Bake Off and First Dates, last year saw its digital revenues rise 25pc on 2015. It said its on-demand platform, All 4, now had 16m registered viewers, of which more than half are in the 16-34 age category.

However, as both Facebook and Google continue to eat up more of the digital advertising market, currently accounting for more than half the UK’s market, more traditional media players are seeking new ways to attract advertisers.

Research from eMarketer in September showed the Silicon Valley firms were together expected to attract £6.3bn of UK advertising spend this year, and even more next year.

However, in recent months, both Facebook and Google have been subject to criticism for running adverts paid for by Russian agents to influence the US presidential election. Earlier this year, a number of brands pulled adverts from Google’s YouTube video site after their ads appeared alongside extremist content.

Speaking about the new venture, Channel 4’s head of digital & partnership innovation, Jonathan Lewis said the “demand for multi-territory digital ad campaigns in brand safe and transparent environments is increasing as the programmatic video ad market continues to grow exponentially across Europe”.


Here is what’s on the uber rich wish lists this Christmas


( via – – Sat, 11 Nov, 2017) London, Uk – –

Christmas is the one time in the year when families have an excuse to splurge on each other, but the uber rich go one step further and indulge in exceptionally extravagant spending, often buying gifts costing £1,000 or more.

So what items are on the Christmas wish lists of the uber rich this year?

According to John Lewis, its standout luxury items for this festive season include a DJI Mavic drone, which captures images and video footage from up high with a range of 4.3 miles. It costs just shy of £1,300 and is every gadget geek’s dream.

Coffee lovers will no doubt gratefully receive a £1,999 coffee machine by Sage, which features everything necessary for a professional, barista-style brew. The machine’s touch-screen enables users to choose what type of coffee they want, and each selection can be saved as personalised coffees for each member of the household.

Luxury department store Fortnum & Mason also has a number of top picks for the ultra rich this Christmas.

Its famous hampers cost from £65 to a whopping £6,000. The Imperial hamper includes Champagne, red and white wine, a Fouseca 40-year-old Tawny Port, truffles, Christmas puddings, macarons, Christmas crackers, a tin of Beluga Caviar, a tea set, a 2.5kg bone rib of beef, and more.

Fortnum & Mason is also selling a £2,295 Passavant and Lee No 25 Briefcase, which is formed from aircraft-grade aluminium and covered in vegetable-tanned leather. Perfect for any high-flying businessman or woman.

One of Selfridges’ big-ticket items this festive season is this £3,600hand-sewn, life-size animated unicorn (the same size as a small pony) for children, which can move its head and mouth, and has a soft, glittery mane. The toy’s creator, Hansa, also sells an animated standing leopard for £2,400.

Harrods is selling this hand-painted chess set, which will set you back just under £5,000, while music fans can pick up a signed Jay Z The Black album cover for £1,295.

Feeling even more lavish? This Jaeger LeCoultre watch is on sale at the department store for £56,000. Inspired by the Art Deco movement of the Twenties and Thirties, the timepiece has an 18-carat rose gold bracelet strap with a total of 460 diamonds embedded in it.

Harvey Nichols, on the other hand, is selling a Jack Daniels bespoke personal collection that costs £14,000. Whiskey fans can choose a barrel of their choice, which is shipped in six personalised bottle cases, along with a crystal decanter and glasses, while a certificate of recognition is placed in the Jack Daniel’s Personal Selection Room in Lynchburg.


John Lewis Christmas advert heralds the start of the festive season


( via – – Fri, 10 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

For many, the release of the John Lewis Christmas advert heralds the start of the festive season, and 2017’s eagerly-anticipated commercial features a monster hiding under a bed.

Rumours of a cuddly, gruffalo-style monster appearing in this year’s John Lewis advert circulated earlier this week when a mysterious @UnderTheBed2017 Twitter account shared a four-second clip of what appeared to be a creature whose eyes can be seen peering out from the dark.

This imaginary monster, called Moz, has today been revealed as the official star of the £7m advert. It is shown hiding under the bed of Joe, a 7-year-old child who is woken by snoring and rumbling sounds beneath him.

Peeking beneath the bed he spots the 7ft creature snoozing, and the pair soon form a friendship where they play together every evening. These busy nights start to take a toll on Joe, whose exhaustion makes him fall asleep during afternoon football matches and haircuts.

After noticing his friend’s dozy demeanour, on Christmas Day Moz gives Joe a night light that helps him fall asleep. But it also makes Moz disappear. Although sad that the friendship must come to an end to ensure he is able to sleep, at the end of the advert Joe is reminded that he can bring Moz back any time he wants by simply turning the light off.

The two-minute advert will premiere on TV screens this evening at around 9.30pm on Channel 4 and at the same time on all of Sky’s own channels. As with previous John Lewis adverts, it cost around £1m to shoot and a further £6m to cover marketing, in-store advertising and taking TV slots in advert-breaks.

The edit is produced by award-winning film director Michel Gondry, best known as director and writer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The collaboration between Gondry and the retailer is highly lucrative for the latter thanks to Gondry’s’ expertise in producing highly-acclaimed commercials for the likes of BMW, Coca-Cola and Levi’s.

Speaking about the John Lewis ad, Michel Gondry said: “When I told my ex-girlfriend I was doing the next John Lewis Christmas film she said; ‘You have big shoes to fill, this John Lewis commercial must make people cry, don’t forget.’ Last week I showed it to her and she cried. Phew.”

The musical score comes courtesy of Elbow, who cover The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The song will also feature on Elbow’s ‘Best Of’ album, which will be released on November 24.

Alongside the launch of the advert, John Lewis has produced five pieces of merchandise featuring Moz, including a children’s book, gender-neutral pyjamas, and slippers, with prices ranging from £5 to £20.

By Sophie Christie

Householders to get automatic compensation from telecoms providers for poor service


( via – – Fri, 10 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

Householders who receive poor service from their telecoms provider are to get automatic compensation, the regulator Ofcom has announced.

From 2019 they will get £8 a day if a fault is not fixed, paid as a refund through their bill.

This is less than the £10 that was proposed when Ofcom began its consultation earlier this year.

Providers will also have to pay £5 a day if their broadband or landline is not working on the day it was promised.

If an engineer misses an appointment, they will have to give £25 in compensation.

Ofcom has estimated as many as 2.6 million people could benefit from the new rules.

£142m pay-outs

The agreement covers consumers who have contracts with BT, Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet – which make up around 90% of telecoms customers in the UK.

Plusnet and EE are expected to join the scheme at a later date.

“Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director.

“So providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or an engineer doesn’t turn up.

“People will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”

In total, customers can expect to get £142m in pay-outs every year, according to Ofcom’s estimates.

By Brian Milligan

Marks & Spencer target family audience with Paddington Bear ad


Campaign, which makes debut on Tuesday, is linked to 90 products and has charity tie-in, echoing tactics used by John Lewis

Marks & Spencer has followed the John Lewis festive playbook with a Paddington Bear-fronted Christmas campaign that embraces instore events, cuddly toys and a charity tie-in.

“Paddington and the Christmas Visitor” will be linked to 90 products including a £12 soft toy version of Paddington and a £42 duffel coat. An expected £200,000 in profits from one of the items – a £3 book – will go to the NSPCC to help fund its Childline service.

M&S will host children’s book readings in store and encourage staff to carry out “random acts of kindness” such as free marmalade sandwiches in the café.

The tactics echo those of John Lewis, whose festive campaigns have become a media event envied by other retailers. John Lewis spends about £6m on its annual campaign and has recently vied with Sainsbury’s to be the most-watched Christmas ad.

Last year’s John Lewis advert, featuring Buster the boxer bouncing on a trampoline, attracted more than 20m YouTube views and helped to raise money for The Wildlife Trusts. John Lewis also sells millions of pounds worth of merchandise linked to its ads. In 2014, the department store group sold £2.5m of goods linked to its Monty the Penguin ad, including 48,000 soft toys.

The M&S campaign will make its TV debut on Tuesday alongside the Pride of Britain awards on ITV. The ad will also be shown before cinema screenings of Paddington 2, which opens in British cinemas later this week.

In the ad, Paddington stumbles upon a burglar, whom he mistakes for Father Christmas, and helps him deliver a bag of stolen presents back to where they belong.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, director of marketing at M&S, said: “We wanted something which was fun, festive, entertaining, but family-centric.”

Paddington takes over from Mrs Claus, a character played by Janet McTeer, who fronted last year’s adverts. In previous years, the high street chain has relied on celebrities including Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry to pull in shoppers.

The change from the stylish Mrs Claus to a child-focused ad comes despite the success of last year’s effort, which helped M&S to report its first increase in Christmas clothing sales for six years.

By Sarah Butler and Graham Ruddick

5 Unbelievable over-the-top butler services offered by world class hotels


( via – – Sun, 05 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

At leading hotels, butlers are serving up more than just tea and crumpets.

Butlers Hotels
This is the essence of service with a smile.

If you’re willing to shell out $500 to $1000 or more a night, you can enjoy a butler for your every whim. From golf butlers to dog bulters, shopping butlers to butlers who attend to the barbecue, fancy hotels are introducing over-the-top butler services to diversify themselves in an age of tough competition between five-star market leaders.

“As consumers become more savvy, and differences among high-end hotels becomes ever narrower, hotels need to resort to whatever they can to set themselves apart,” said Pavia Rosati, founder of the digital travel magazine Fathom, in an interview with Moneyish. “That’s just a reality of this — to a certain extent, we’re going to get increasingly ridiculous specializations.”

One example: “On the ridiculous level, at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, they leave you a fruit basket and there’s a little note next to it that says, ‘Our staff will be delighted to peel and cut your fruit at your wish; kindly dial 2 for assistance,’” Rosati mused.

Here are a few of the wackiest butler services at hotels around the world:

Tartan Butler at Rocco Forte Hotels’ The Balmoral (Edinburgh, Scotland):

Tartan plaids have long had special significance to the people of Scotland, and for guests of the luxurious Balmoral Hotel, located in a large castle property, the hotel offers something special — a designated “tartan” butler who can track guests’ ancestry, order bespoke kilts made from their clan’s traditional tartan (an important standard-bearer for the Scottish), and arrange tours of the surrounding region.

Dog Butlers at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico):

The five-diamond Mexican resort’s dog butlers are on hand to walk your canine, arrange special menus just for them, and give dog massages as well as lead dog yoga classes.

Golf Butlers at Rosewood CordeValle (San Martin, CA):

At this property in Northern California, the recently-launched golf butler program allows golf novices to order food and drinks, make post-game spa reservations, and arrange wine tastings at the on-site winery, all from the comfort of the course. After the game, butlers shine players’ shoes and return their clubs to their rooms.

Shopping Butlers at the Langham (Hong Kong):

In the fashionable shopping and tourist district of Tsim Sha Tsui, visitors can call upon their designated shopping butlers to provide fashion consultations, shopping tours, and personal makeovers.

BBQ Butlers at Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation (Greensboro, Georgia):

Down south, you can get your hands on delicious BBQ with the help of your designated barbecue butler. At this Ritz-Carlton property, your butler will help set up and man the grill, provide tips on how to create the perfect BBQ spread at home, and serve up a great meal.

By Reed Alexander

This architect firm unveiled plans to build Europe’s first underwater restaurant


Underwater Restaurant In Norway Looks Like It’s Right Out Of Science Fiction
A Norwegian architecture firm has unveiled plans to build Europe’s first underwater restaurant, complete with a massive panoramic window.


J.K Rowling the highest-paid celebrity in Europe this year

Wikimedia Commons

( via – – Sun, 29 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

J.K Rowling named the highest paid celebrity in Europe in 2017 – who else made the cut?

With earnings of $95m (£72m) over the past 12 months, Harry Potter author J.K Rowling is the highest-paid celebrity in Europe this year.

Almost half of the enormous sum earned, which doesn’t take into account taxes or management fees, comes from her co-writing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part stage play that sold 1.3m copies in 2016, and has been showing in theatres in London and New York.

Not only is Rowling the highest-paid celebrity in Europe, but she is also the world’s highest-paid author and third highest-paid celebrity in the world, according to Forbes.

Its list of the 20 highest-paid European celebrities in 2017 reveals that collectively they earned $1.06bn over the past 12 months, before taxes or agent and management fees.

Twelve of these famous faces are from Britain, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey (with earnings of $60m) and Simon Cowell ($43.5m). Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland each claim one entry in the top 20 list.

Professional athletes account for half of the wealthiest European celebrities with three footballers, three racing drivers, two tennis players, one golfer and one mixed martial artist making the grade.

Cristiano Ronaldo ranks in second place with earnings of $93m this year, thanks to his contract extension with Real Madrid, his CR7 brand and various endorsement deals, with the likes of Tag Heuer and Nike.

Irish UFC star Conor McGregor, who came second to last in the list, with earnings of $34m, will rise near the top of next year’s list due to his multi-million dollar fight with Floyd Mayweather in August, Forbes said.

Aside from Rowling, only one other woman made the 20 highest-paid European entertainers; singer Adele, who has earned $69m over the past 12 months.

U2, The Rolling Stones and One Direction all ranked among the 10 richest European celebrities in 2016, but no longer earn enough to make the grade.


Las Vegas Sands US gaming giant unveiled plans for a London-themed resort in Macau



( via – – Thur, 26 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands has unveiled plans for a London-themed resort in Macau.

The resort is part of plans to spend $1.1bn (£830m) on renovating the firm’s five properties in China’s gambling enclave.

Sands said that the revamped resort would feature some “recognisable landmarks”.

The move comes as Macau’s gambling revenues begin to bounce back after a Beijing-led crackdown on corruption.

The Londoner will replace Sands Cotai Central, which currently features more than 6,000 hotel rooms, 4,000 sq ft of retail space and a 1,700-seat cinema.

Robert Goldstein, Sands’ president and chief operating officer, said the resort’s facade would resemble “something with all the iconic architectural look and feel of Big Ben”.

“If you think about London, it’s iconic in so many ways, the buses to the Beefeaters, and there’s just so many opportunities there,” he added.

“Our team is having great fun playing with that.”

Sands has invested more than $13bn into the region since 2002, when it became the first US company to open a casino there.

Its latest announcement comes as Chinese authorities place increasing pressure on the region to diversify away from gambling, leading to a race by major firms to build resorts before casino licenses start to expire in 2020.

Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal, but its reputation as a money laundering centre recently made it the focus of prosecutions against several high-profile government and casino officials.

But more gambling money is making its way into the semi-autonomous region of southern China. Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau reported gambling revenues of 67bn patacas ($8.3bn) between July and September this year, up 22% from 2016.

In its latest quarterly results, the firm said that during the same period, total net revenues for Sands China – its Chinese subsidiary – increased 12.2% to $1.93bn.

“Our strategy to again boost our investment in Macau is testimony to our unwavering belief in the secular growth trend in China,” said Sheldon Adelson, the founder, chairman and chief executive of Sands.


FTSE edges down, Merlin Entertainments suffers collapse on poor summer trading

( via — Tue, 17 Oct, 2017) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – UK shares edged lower on Tuesday, with a flurry of trading updates animating early deals, such as tourist attractions operator Merlin Entertainments, which saw its shares collapse on disappointing summer sales.

The FTSE .FTSE had retreated 0.20 percent by 0839 GMT, barely moved by fresh data which showed British inflation rose to its highest level in more than five years and could make the Bank of England more likely to raise interest rates next month.

Shares in Merlin (MERL.L) plunged as much as 21 percent, its biggest fall ever, after the operator of Madame Tussauds waxworks blamed a series of attacks in Britain and unfavourable weather for a dip in trading in its key summer period.

“Given all this additional uncertainty we see less and less reasons to own the shares,” Liberum analysts said as the shares, trading at about 355p, touched three years low levels.

Mediclinic (MDCM.L) retreated 3.5 percent after a trading update and there was no bounce back for Convatec, still down 0.8 percent, after a profit warning triggered a sell-off on Monday and a 26.6 percent fall.

“While the market may be quiet, it is currently extremely intolerant of any company that dares to miss forecasts”, Chris Beauchamp, an IG market analyst, wrote about the slump of Convatec on Monday.

British education group Pearson (PSON.L) on the other hand was the FTSE 100 top performer, with a 5.2 percent rise, after it said it expected full-year operating profit to come in at the top half of its forecast range.

British challenger bank Virgin Money (VM.L) also shone after reporting gross mortgage lending of 6.5 billion pounds to the end of the third quarter and said it had seen robust customer demand due to low unemployment and a resilient housing market.

Investec analyst Ian Gordon said he expected the “stunning performance” to lead to new consensus upgrades on the stock.

Golba miner Rio Tinto (RIO.L) was up 0.3 percent after it said it lifted third quarter iron ore shipments by 6 percent after modernising its haulage railway in Australia’s outback.

British online fashion retailer ASOS (ASOS.L) which increased its outlook for sales growth in its 2018 financial year, saw its shares rise by 1 percent.

By Julien Ponthus

The Bubble Bros van tours the UK selling prosecco on tap


Bubble Bros bought a vintage Piaggio van and transformed it into a prosecco wagon, which serves bubbly on tap.

The three-wheeled vehicle tours the country together with the Bubble Bike, a motorbike with a sparkling wine bar in the sidecar. Stops include weddings, private partiers, and also festivals like Glastonbury.

Bubble Bros started catering in 2015 with 1 van. They now have 5 vans and 1 motorbike which are all road legal.

Their wine comes in barrels from the DOCG region of Italy, which stands for Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin– a quality assurance label for Italian wines.

Meet the company where luxury and philanthropy go hand in hand

( via – – Sat, 14 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Want to spice up your next trip by making a contribution to the local population? You will return home with the best souvenir: the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference. An ever-growing group of socially engaged travelers has already changed thousands of people’s lives.

There is no better place to watch whales than the island where locals have strong cultural affinities with these beautiful marine creatures. In New Zeland, the indigenous Māori people have a long history with whales: local legend says that their ancestors arrived on the island on the back of a whale. The locals believe in a spiritual bond with the animals.

Today, this tribe happens to possess one of the most successful companies organizing whale watch tours, among other activities, in the local town of Kaikoura. In fact, the local community trust, founded in 1987 by four Maori families, has played a huge role in reviving the town’s declining economy. They have transformed Kaikoura into a leading eco-tourism destination and the Whale Watch Kaikoura became the largest employer of the season. The enterprise invests a huge part of their annual profit in supporting the community, education, employment, and protecting the environment.

The company offers up-close encounters with giant sperm whales and strives to minimise their impact on the environment. It also runs educational programmes on how to save the environment as well as eco-friendly activities for visitors, such as planting your own tree.

By Doloresz Katanich


The robot helping sick children explore the outside world


A rare genetic disorder often prevents 17-year-old Jade Gadd from leaving her house. Denied the normal life most teenagers enjoy, she is unable to go to school regularly and left feeling isolated. Recently, that has all begun to change with the help of a small robot, who takes her physical place in class, relays information and allows her to stay connected with her teachers and classmates.

Bruce Lee’s Top 10 Rules For Success


He was a martial artist, actor, teacher, and philosopher. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time. He is often credited with helping change the way Asians were presented in American films. He’s Bruce Lee and here are his Top 10 Rules for success.

Blade Runner 2049 tracking to open domestically with between $45 million to $50 million


Blade Runner 2049 brought in $4 million last night at the North American box office. Variety reports over $800,000 came from IMAX screenings of the Denis Villeneuve-directed sequel, which stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. Blade Runner 2049 is tracking to open domestically this weekend with between $45 million to $50 million.