How 9 Billionaires Start Their Mornings

Source: BI

Getting up in the morning is hard for everyone — even billionaires! Both Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett prioritize sleep aiming to get 8 hours per night. Oprah and Jack Dorsey meditate and exercise before starting their days. Following is a transcript of the video: Oprah's morning is very involved. The first thing she does when she rises at seven o'clock is brush her teeth before taking her five dogs for a walk. While she waits for her espresso to brew, she reads a card from her ‘365 Gathered Truths' box. Then, she turns to an app on her phone to read her daily Bowl of Saki. Next, she meditates followed by an hour long workout in the hills of her backyard. Elon Musk's morning is not as calm as Oprah's. He also wakes up at seven, but he gets right to business. Elon spends half an hour reading and responding to critical emails while drinking coffee. He says he's too busy for breakfast. After sending his five sons to school he showers, then drives to work. Sounds about right for someone who works up to 120 hours a week. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey says he gets out of bed 5:00 a.m. He meditates for 30 minutes and then completes a seven-minute workout three times. After that, he has his morning coffee and then checks in. Warren Buffett likes to sleep. He says he usually sleeps a full eight hours a night. He reportedly wakes up at 6:45 a.m. and starts his day reading newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Jeff Bezos also values his sleep. He says he makes it a priority. However, Bezos reportedly wakes up naturally, without an alarm. He likes to hold high-IQ meetings in the morning before lunch, ideally at 10:00 a.m. Bill Gates starts his day with cardio. The New York Times reported that Gates would spend an hour on the treadmill while watching educational DVDs. He says he enjoys Cocoa Puffs cereal but his wife, Melinda, says he doesn't eat breakfast. Many of us cannot imagine a morning without coffee, but Sara Blakely can. The founder of Spanx says she's never had a cup of coffee. Instead, she drinks a smoothie made of frozen wild berries, dark cherries, kale, dates, cinnamon, spinach, cilantro, fresh mint, lemon, water, ice, chia, and walnuts. Blakely also tries to get a yoga session in at 6:30 a.m. before taking her kids to school. Mark Zuckerberg stays true to his brand. The first thing he does is check his phone in bed. Mark Zuckerberg: The first I do is look at my phone. I look at Facebook. Jerry Seinfeld: Right. Zuckerberg: Right to see — to see what's going on in the world. Seinfeld: Right, right. Zuckerberg: And I check my messages. I look at Messenger and WhatsApp. He also says he doesn't like wasting time on small decisions which is why he wears pretty much the same outfit everyday. Anastasia Soare is the founder of makeup brand Anastasia Beverly Hills. She also reaches for her phone when she wakes up at 7:00 a.m. Apparently, Instagram is the first app she checks every morning. She always has two cups of black coffee and eats a light breakfast while answering emails. Her personal trainer comes to her house most days and she exercises for an hour. And of course, she never leaves her house without doing her eyebrows.

Can Desalination of Sea Water Save The World?

Source: CNBC

Today, one out of three people don’t have access to safe drinking water. And that’s the result of many things, but one of them is that 96.5% of that water is found in our oceans. It’s saturated with salt, and undrinkable. Most of the freshwater is locked away in glaciers or deep underground. Less than one percent of it is available to us. So why can’t we just take all that seawater, filter out the salt, and have a nearly unlimited supply of clean, drinkable water?

Major consumer companies to roll out more products in refillable form in beauty aisles

( via — Fri, 1st Nov 2019) London, UK —

LONDON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Under pressure to reduce environmental waste from single-use containers, major consumer companies including Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N), Unilever Plc (ULVR.L) and The Body Shop are rolling out more products in refillable form.

P&G, with roughly $68 billion in annual revenue, said it has invested millions in creating and testing refills for detergents over the years and is now trying to push in to mainstream beauty and body care refills – which are virtually unheard of.

It recently began offering some Olay face-cream jars with refill pouches on, telling Reuters it has plans to expand the sales of the pouches in Europe early next year. “We’re learning on our legs so I don’t know that we’re in a position to say, ‘Hey, here’s the magic to selling refills,’” P&G spokesman Damon Jones said.

Beauty products retailer The Body Shop, owned by Brazil’s Natura Cosmeticos SA (NATU3.SA), says it plans to roll out “refill stations” in its stores globally next year, allowing shoppers to buy reusable metal containers to fill with Body Shop shower gels or creams. The company had offered refills at its stores in the early 1990s, but discontinued them in 2003, citing a lack of consumer demand.

Unilever, which has set targets for reducing and recycling plastic by 2025, in October announced the planned launch of “refill sticks” of deodorants under its Dove line of personal care products on The website, operated by recycling company TerraCycle, offers consumers the chance to buy some household products in ultra-durable packaging with refills delivered to their doors, milkman-style.

Across the consumer goods industry, results for refillable products have been mixed so far as many shoppers are far too set in their ways to be easily weaned from living in a throwaway culture. While refills are less expensive to purchase – generally priced at 20% to 30% less per item than the containers they are aimed to replenish, according to Unilever – shoppers have so far, for the most part, failed to snap them up, the companies said.


SC Johnson & Son Inc, marketer of Windex and Pledge, said refills and concentrates so far have not played well with either Americans or Europeans over the decade they have been offered, with unit sales of such products pretty much flat. It pulled concentrated refills for Shout stain remover off the shelves because they were not selling very well.

In 2010, Unilever put 20-liter tanks to dispense detergents in Walmart Inc’s (WMT.N) British supermarket chain Asda, and provided flexible pouches for customers to refill. But with leaky machines, safety and maintenance problems and the high costs of upkeep, Unilever said the tests fell short of expectations. Asda was also unhappy because the tanks occupied a lot of space.

“None of them sell very well – it is a convenience issue,” SC Johnson CEO Fisk Johnson told Reuters. Johnson said some people find it painstaking to wash and refill bottles themselves while others worry that smaller bottles filled with concentrates are less “bang-for-your-buck” than the larger ones they have used for years.

Still, the privately held company said it was expanding its refill offerings this year to address concerns surrounding plastic waste and is also testing refill stations for cleaning products with UK retailer Waitrose, owned by Britain’s John Lewis [JLPLC.UL]. The Waitrose tests are showing the first signs of progress in refill sales, Johnson said, and the company is now thinking of expanding the project.

Even if consumers are comfortable using refills for some household goods, it is more complicated to sell them for products like Pantene shampoo and Olay creams, P&G spokesman Jones said. For instance, with beauty products, the look and feel of packaging is a big factor in creating and maintaining customer loyalty, while delivering an environmental benefit, he said.

Some shoppers say they want to buy refillable products, but that the offerings are not available at many stores. Earlier this year, dozens of consumers took to social media to urge The Body Shop to bring back its refill counters.

“Refill, refill, refill!” Twitter user @JaiChipperfield said on July 22, joining a thread in which several other shoppers demanded the return of refills. “Seems to me that judging by these comments your customers want to see the return of refills,” @JaiChipperfield added. “Me too, it would be brilliant to see that return.”

The Body Shop eventually responded to those pleas.

“Now with the renewed focus on sustainability, we believe it is the right time to return with it,” Body Shop spokeswoman Lucy Muircroft told Reuters this week.

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in London and Richa Naidu in Chicago

Asda workers fearful for jobs’ as deadline approaches to sign new contracts

( via – – Friday, 1st Nov 2019) London, Uk – –

Asda staff have spoken of being “terrified” for their jobs as a Saturday night deadline approaches to sign new contracts or be sacked.

Runcorn store employee Cath Sutton, who has yet to sign, said Asda should be ashamed of the stress it is causing.

The contracts mean unpaid breaks, changes to night shift payments and being called to work at shorter notice.

Asda said it brings it into line with rivals and most of the 100,000 staff affected will be better off.

It is thought about 2,000 staff have yet to sign, but possibly many more. Asda said reports of 12,000 ‘hold-outs' were “inaccurate”, but declined to disclose the latest figure.

The GMB union said many staff felt they could not sign the “inflexible” terms because of disruption to domestic life, and the impact would fall heavily on female employees.

“If I sign it, it will affect me because they can move me into any department,” Ms Sutton, 76, who has worked for Asda for 45 years, told the Today programme.

“They can move me on to the shop floor, carrying heavy boxes, filling the shelves.”

“They could change my hours any time from five in the morning to 12 at night.”

“I think at my age, why would I be able to start going to different departments and doing different jobs?”

There are plenty of Asda workers who are similarly worried, she says, but are feeling pressured into agreeing the new terms.

“I think the company should be thoroughly, thoroughly ashamed of themselves. It's caused a hell of a lot of stress for people.”

“They are having to sign out of desperation because they are terrified of losing their jobs.”

Shorter notice

Under the changes, paid breaks will be scrapped, working bank holidays will become compulsory – although festive holidays will be voluntary – and there will be changes to night shift payments.

Neil Derrick, GMB regional officer for Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, said staff would also be forced to attend work at shorter notice, disrupting the life of carers or people doing the school run.

Leeds-based Asda is increasing hourly pay rates. However, Mr Derrick said it was not the money that mattered for many staff, but the inflexibility of the new working patterns.

“Many staff cannot sign because of upheaval to their domestic life. Others have signed just to get them through Christmas or until they can find new jobs,” he said.

“I've not met anyone who thinks they will be better off in terms of working life. There will be a disproportionate impact on women.”

Mr Derrick said the union would support sacked employees in any legal battle against Asda. Labour's leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he “stands in solidarity” with Asda workers.

‘Understand concerns'

This week, Asda announced it would increase employees' basic hourly pay from April, a move that the GMB said shows the supermarket is desperate to woo over disgruntled staff before the deadline.

The supermarket said it would raise its basic rate for its hourly-paid retail employees to £9.18 from 1 April next year, following an increase to £9 from 3 November.

In London, which has an additional allowance to reflect the higher cost of living, basic pay will increase to £10.31 per hour.

The retailer, owned by Walmart, acknowledged this week's annual pay announcement for April rises had come earlier that usual.

An Asda spokesman said the new contract “represents an investment of over £80m and an increase in real pay for over 100,000 of our hourly paid colleagues”.

He added: “We have been clear that we don't want any of our colleagues to leave us and whilst the vast majority of colleagues have chosen to sign the new contract, we continue to have conversations with those who have chosen not to, to try and understand their concerns.”

While Asda accepted that change was “never easy”, it was important that the company adapted to changes in the market and competition, he said.

The company has won backing from former Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King, who used to work at Asda.

He told the BBC that the new retail environment, where the working practices of some online retailers were “almost Victorian”, had made life extremely competitive for traditional firms.

“All legacy retailers – and Asda are one – have some legacy arrangements with their workforce which simply don't reflect the modern world that we're in.

“Many online retailers don't pay their workers anywhere near as well as the mainstream retailers,” he said.

To compete, it was necessary to take tough decisions. “Sometimes you have to do the right thing for the whole business.”

By Russell Hotten BBC News

Uk business minister Nadhim Zahawi welcomes Spirit AeroSystems’ purchase of Bombardier’s Belfast site

( via — Thur, 31st Oct, 2019) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British business minister Nadhim Zahawi on Thursday welcomed Spirit AeroSystems’ (SPR.N) purchase of Bombardier’s (BBDb.TO) plant in Belfast as great news for workers and a welcome investment in the United Kingdom.

Canada’s Bombardier said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its aerostructures business to Spirit for more than $700 million in cash and debt, including the Short Brothers Belfast plant which is the largest high-tech manufacturer in Northern Ireland with a workforce of around 3,500.

“I’m pleased that Spirit AeroSystems is boosting its investment in the UK,” Zahawi said in a statement.

“This will be great news for Short Brothers and its highly skilled and dedicated workforce, at one of the most important aerospace facilities in the country. I look forward to seeing this successful and ambitious business continue to go from strength to strength.”

Reporting by Kate Holton

Lloyds bank profits wipe out by last-minute PPI claims

( via – – Thur, 31st Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

 Lloyds Banking Group  has put aside a further £1.8bn to cover a surge in payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints before the August claims deadline, which nearly wiped out its quarterly profit.

Including the PPI charge, the bank’s profit before tax slumped to £50m for the three months to 30 September, from a profit of £1.8bn in the third quarter last year. The result was weaker than expected.

The latest charge is at the top end of estimates, and takes the group’s total bill to £21.8bn. PPI has become the banking industry’s biggest mis-selling scandal and Lloyds accounts for the lion’s share of the total bill, which has risen to £48bn and is expected to top £50bn.

Lloyds shares were the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 index in early trading, dropping 2.7% to 56p.

The City regulator had set a 29 August deadline to make a claim for compensation for mis-sold PPI, which sparked a surge in complaints in the final weeks, prompting Lloyds to suspend a share buyback programme. PPI was sold alongside loans and mortgages to cover repayments if customers fell ill or lost their jobs, but the insurance was often sold to people who did not want or need it.

António Horta-Osório, the chief executive, said: “I am disappointed that our statutory result was significantly impacted by the additional PPI charge in the third quarter, driven by an unprecedented level of PPI information requests received in August.”

William Chalmers, the bank’s new chief financial officer, said the charge reflected its “best estimate of what PPI might come out as” but he could not rule out further provisions. “When George walked out the door he said: ‘Never say never’ on the issue,” he quipped about his predecessor, George Culmer.

Royal Bank of Scotland took a £900m PPI charge last week, which pushed the 62%-state-owned bank into a quarterly loss of £8m. Barclays set aside a further £1.4bn and reported an 80% plunge in profits.

Lloyds also said its chairman, Lord Blackwell, would retire at or before next year’s annual meeting, after serving nine years on the board, including seven as chairman. The firm’s chief operating officer, Juan Colombás, will step down in July after four years in the job.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at investment platform interactive investor, said: “The shares have had the benefit of a ‘Brexit bounce’ of late, rising 9% in the last three months as perception switched to ruling out the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit. That particular cloud will not be lifted in the immediate future, and on balance the third quarter numbers were largely uninspiring.”

Facebook agrees to pay £500,000 Cambridge Analytica fine to UK

( via – – Wed, 30th Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

Facebook has agreed to pay a £500,000 fine imposed by the UK's data protection watchdog for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

It had originally appealed the penalty, causing the Information Commissioner's Office to pursue its own counter-appeal.

As part of the agreement, Facebook has made no admission of liability.

The US firm said it “wished it had done more to investigate Cambridge Analytica” earlier.

James Dipple-Johnstone, deputy commissioner of the ICO said: “The ICO's main concern was that UK citizen data was exposed to a serious risk of harm. Protection of personal information and personal privacy is of fundamental importance, not only for the rights of individuals, but also as we now know, for the preservation of a strong democracy.”

Harry Kinmonth, a Facebook lawyer, noted that the social network had made changes to restrict the information app developers could access following the scandal.

“The ICO has stated that it has not discovered evidence that the data of Facebook users in the EU was transferred to Cambridge Analytica,” he added.

“However, we look forward to continuing to cooperate with the ICO's wider and ongoing investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes.”

Researcher Dr Aleksandr Kogan and his company GSR used a personality quiz to harvest the Facebook data of up to 87 million people.

Some of this data was shared with London-based Cambridge Analytica.

The ICO argued that Facebook did not do enough to protect users' information.

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot owner exploring merger

( via – – Wed, 30th Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

PSA Group, the French owner of Peugeot, is exploring a merger with its US-Italian rival Fiat Chrysler, it has confirmed.

A deal between the two carmakers would create a business with a combined market value of nearly $50bn (£39.9bn).

This is Fiat Chrysler's second attempt at a merger this year after it pulled out of an agreement with Renault in June.

Fiat Chrysler shares jumped 7.5% on Wall Street.

The potential merger would face significant political and financial hurdles.

Discussions remain in the early stages and there is no guarantee of a final deal.

However, if the two companies do combine, PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares is expected to lead the enlarged group.

John Elkann, Fiat Chrysler's chairman and the head of Italy's Agnelli industrial dynasty which controls the business, would retain the same position at the new company.

A merger of the two groups would bring a number of brands under one roof including Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Jeep, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall.

The talks come months after a proposed tie-up between Fiat Chrysler and French carmaker Renault collapsed.

Fiat Chrysler had described its bid for Renault as a “transformative” proposal that would create a global automotive leader.

Industry shifts toward electric models, along with stricter emissions standards and the development of new technologies for autonomous vehicles, have put increasing pressure on carmakers to consolidate.

BP profits fall amid weak oil prices and hurricane impact

( via – – Tue, 29th Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

BP’s profits have fallen sharply as global oil prices tumble amid gloomy forecasts for the global economy.

The oil major reported underlying profits of $2.3bn (£1.76bn) for the last three months on Tuesday morning, compared with $3.8bn in the same months last year.

The decline comes just weeks after BP announced its chief executive Bob Dudley would step down after almost a decade at the helm.

Dudley blamed weaker global oil prices, a string of one-off financial costs and the impact of Hurricane Barry, which dealt a “significant” blow to BP’s oil production in the Gulf of Mexico in July.

Dudley will end his four-decade career at BP early next year and be replaced in February by Bernard Looney, currently head of exploration and production.

The profits from Looney’s business division fell to $2.1bn for the last quarter, from $3.4bn in the same months last year following a fall in the global oil price.

The oil price has slumped to an average of $62 a barrel in the last quarter, from more than $75 a barrel a year ago.

The oil price slide comes a year after the oil major agreed to buy a $10.5bn stake in the US shale boom from BHP Billiton, in a deal seen as a show of confidence that global oil prices would remain at about $70 a barrel.

Brian Gilvary, the BP chief financial officer, told Bloomberg the company was able to get the deal over the line due to higher oil prices over last summer – and he expected oil prices to remain at about $70 a barrel.

There has been growing public opposition in recent months to the fossil fuel giant’s contribution to the climate crisis. Earlier this month the Royal Shakespeare Company ended its sponsorship deal and protesters targeted the National Portrait Gallery over BP’s ongoing support.

An investigation by the Guardian revealed that 20 oil and gas companies – including BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total – could be directly linked to a third of greenhouse gas emissions since 1965.

The companies are planning to keep increasing their oil production, despite global efforts to avoid a runaway climate crisis by limiting carbon emissions, in large part from US shale reserves.

By Jillian Ambrose

Billionaire Barclay brothers Telegraph sale could herald breakup of vast business empire

( via – – Tue, 29th Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

Twin brothers own diverse array of faltering firms, from luxury Ritz hotel to budget retailer Shop Direct

The decision by the billionaire Barclay brothers to put the Daily and Sunday Telegraph up for sale could herald the breakup of a vast but faltering business empire that ranges from luxury hotels to budget retail.

Bidders are already circling the newspaper group after the identical twin brothers, who were 85 on Sunday, launched a sale process expected to recoup less than a third of the £665m they paid for it in 2004.

Potential buyers include the publisher of the Daily Mail, foreign media groups and even the world’s richest man – Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos.

The sale also comes in the context of a wider review of the Barclays’ business interests, which include the loss-making online retailer Shop Direct and the Ritz hotel in London.Advertisement

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay boast a combined wealth of £8bn, putting them 17th on the Sunday Times Rich List, but the financial performance of their sprawling network of businesses has proven patchy of late.

The largest companies in their investment portfolio – Telegraph Media Group; the Spectator magazine; delivery firm Yodel; Shop Direct; the Ritz and the Beaumont hotel – are managed by Sir David’s son Aidan and reported combined losses of £290m on revenues of £2.8bn, in the latest year for which financial records are available.

As losses have mounted, the brothers were reported this month to have put the Ritz up for sale at £800m, more than 10 times the £75m they paid for it in 1995.

Telegraph Media Group is expected to have a price tag of about £200m, according to media industry sources. That would be less than a third of the £665m they paid in 2004, although that purchase included the Spectator, which is not part of the current sale process.

One reason for any fall in the value of the Telegraph group is whether it is still perceived as a “trophy” asset worth more than the sum of its parts, given a decline of profits and sales in recent years.

“It may have been a trophy asset when the Barclays bought it but you would struggle to say that now,” said one City source.

Potential suitors include DMGT, owner of the Mail titles, Mail Online and Metro, which is understood to have previously expressed an interest, although it would likely face regulatory scrutiny.

Sources also pointed to Belgian group Mediahuis, which earlier this year paid €145.6m (£125.2m) to buy Independent News & Media, publisher of the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent. INM is chaired by Murdoch MacLennan, a former chief executive of Telegraph Media Group who is rumoured to have encouraged a bid for his former employer.

Interest is also expected from publishing investment vehicle National World, run by David Montgomery, the former chief executive of the publisher of the Mirror titles. Montgomery advised venture capital firm 3i in a bid to buy the Telegraph in 2004, in a bidding war that ultimately saw the Barclays triumph.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who paid $250m to buy the Washington Post in 2013, was linked to a potential bid for the Telegraph last year. Selling both the Telegraph and the Ritz could raise up to £1bn for the Barclay brothers, who live in a castle on the Channel island of Brecqhou. They have insisted they do so for health reasons, rather than for tax purposes.

Neither business has been a huge money-spinner of late, with profits at Telegraph Media Group down from £14m to £900,000 last year, while the Ritz reported earnings of £7m, a slowdown from £12m. But both are at least profitable, which is more than can be said for some of the larger cornerstones of the Barclay edifice.

Their biggest business by revenue is online retailer Shop Direct, which includes Very and the bones of Littlewoods, the department store chain for which they shelled out £750m in 2002 but which no longer has a bricks and mortar presence.

Liverpool-based Shop Direct racked up revenues of just under £2bn last year, an increase of nearly 2% on the previous year. But accounts released last week showed that it slumped £185.5m into the red, a loss seven times greater than that reported last year, due to £310m in exceptional costs.

The bulk of those relate to a surge in claims from customers who said they were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI). The company said it had been forced to set aside cash to cover “customer redress payments for historical shopping insurance sales” and was looking at funding alternatives to cope with the liability. The poor performance for 2018 came a year after the Barclays lost a £1.25bn lawsuit against HM Revenues & Customs, after the supreme court ruled that Littlewoods had not overpaid its taxes.Advertisement

Parcels and courier business Yodel, built on the foundations of Shop Direct’s delivery network, has fared no better than Shop Direct of late. It suffered a pre-tax loss of £116.4m last year on revenues of £481.5m, as customers deserted a business that struggled to shake off a reputation as one of the UK’s most complained-about companies. Directors insisted it had turned a corner thanks to improve service and IT upgrades.

The Barclays’ recent travails come in the context of a decades-long saga that has made billionaires of the twins, born in humble circumstances in west London to Scottish parents who had six other children. They began making money by converting boarding houses into hotels according to a glowing piece written by a Telegraph writer when the brothers bought the newspaper.

In 1983 they bought shipping and brewing company Ellerman for £45m and later made more than £240m by breaking it up and selling it, using the money to invest in hotels. Other money-spinners included the sale of for £22m and the sale of the Scotsman group of newspapers in 2005 for £160m, having paid £85m 10 years earlier.

Their success brought them high-profile friends including former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who lived out her final months at the Ritz. The brothers were knighted in 2000 for their services to charity. Now, they are preparing to sell a piece of the British media establishment.

By Mark Sweney and Rob Davies

LVMH Luxury goods giant eyes $14.5bn Tiffany takeover

( via – – Mon, 28th Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

US-based Tiffany says it is “reviewing” a takeover offer worth about $14.5bn (£11.3bn) from the world's biggest luxury goods company, LVMH.

The companies confirmed the offer in separate statements on Monday, with the 182-year-old Tiffany saying there are currently no talks.

LVMH, owned by France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, has brands including Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Bulgari.

Jewellery has been one of the fastest growth spots in the luxury sector.

In a two-sentence statement early on Monday, LVMH said it “confirms that it has held preliminary discussions regarding a possible transaction with Tiffany,” adding that there is no certainty of a deal.

A few hours later Tiffany, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, said it “has received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from LMVH” of $120 per share in cash.

Reports at the weekend said cash-rich LVMH, which also owns Kenzo, Tag Heuer, Dom Pérignon, Moet & Chandon, as well as Louis Vuitton handbags, made a preliminary offer for Tiffany earlier this month. A takeover would be LVMH's biggest deal since buying the Bulgari brand in 2011 for $5.2bn.

“LVMH's attempt to put a $14.5bn ring on Tiffany, having already added Bulgari a couple of years ago is likely to take the fight in this sector to its closest rival Richemont, who owns Cartier, and would help LVMH in gaining better access to US markets,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

As part of its push for a bigger share of the US market, LVMH has opened a factory in south Texas, which was officially inaugurated this month in ceremony attended by Mr Arnault and US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka.

Tiffany's flagship New York store is next to Trump Tower on 5th Avenue. Founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany, the company's fame was sealed after the release of the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's, staring Audrey Hepburn and loosely based on Truman Capote's novella of the same name.

Higher bid?

Global demand for LVMH's products has held up well in recent years, but the same cannot be said for Tiffany, which has seen worldwide sales fall.

Like several luxury firms, analysts say Tiffany may have been caught out by the US-China trade dispute and rise in tariffs. It has also been hit by lower spending in its retail outlets by Chinese tourists.

LVMH has 75 brands, 156,000 employees and a network of more than 4,590 stores. Tiffany employs more than 14,000 people and operates about 300 stores.

News of LVMH's offer sent Tiffany's shares surging 22.8% in pre-market trading ahead of the official Wall Street open later. A $14.5bn offer is worth about $120 a share, but analysts said LVMH could afford to go higher, and Credit Suisse estimated that Tiffany was worth about $140 a share.

LVMH rival Kering has been looking to expand in the jewellery sector too, and has launched high-end jewellery lines for its fashion brand Gucci.

Switzerland's Richemont, meanwhile, a sector leader with labels such as Cartier, has also been adding to its portfolio, and recently acquired Italy's Buccellati.

But, said analysts at Jefferies, “Tiffany is potentially the biggest prey and the only US global luxury brand”.

HSBC business restructuring plans fuel fears of job cuts

( via – – Mon, 28th Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

HSBC is planning to restructure its business after the banking giant said its performance in parts of Europe and the US was “not acceptable”.

Interim chief executive Noel Quinn said plans to improve these divisions were “no longer sufficient” and that it was “accelerating plans to remodel them”.

Earlier this month, the bank, which employs 238,000 people, was reported to be planning up to 10,000 job cuts.

On Monday, Mr Quinn said there was “scope” for potential cuts,

“There is scope throughout the bank to clarify and simplify roles, and to reduce duplication,” he told Reuters. However, Mr Quinn did not provide any further details on potential job cuts.

Mr Quinn took over as HSBC's acting chief executive in August following the shock departure of John Flint.

His remarks came as the bank reported worse-than-expected third-quarter profits.

Europe's largest bank said profit before tax fell 18% to $4.8bn (£3.8bn) in the three months to September, and also warned of a “challenging” environment ahead.

HSBC has been navigating uncertainty arising from Brexit, the US-China trade war and ongoing unrest in Hong Kong.

However, Mr Quinn praised the bank's performance in Asia – the region where it makes most of its profits.

“Parts of our business, especially Asia, held up well in a challenging environment in the third quarter,” said Mr Quinn.

“However, in some parts, performance was not acceptable, principally business activities within continental Europe, the non-ring-fenced bank in the UK, and the US.”

Analysis: By Dominic Oconnell

HSBC's dual nature – listed in London and Hong Kong and standing astride the trade flows between east and west – has often been a source of comfort for investors, who like a bank that doesn't have all its eggs in one basket.

It has also, however, been a source of discomfort for the bank and its shareholders. A dozen years ago, activist investor Knight Vinke led a campaign against HSBC's board, accusing it of corporate governance failings and urging it to stop spending money on western markets and concentrate on Asia, where there were more and more profitable opportunities for growth.

Fast forward to today and those same themes run through the first financial results from Noel Quinn, the bank's interim chief executive.

Mr Quinn, a battlefield promotion after the abrupt departure of John Flint in August, is clearly making his pitch for the getting the job full-time.

Statements from bank chief executives are normally bland in the extreme, but Mr Quinn pulls no punches, saying performance in the UK, Europe and US was “not acceptable” and that restructuring plans to focus on the Asian operations would be accelerated.

The bank has also warned there will be one-off financial hits in the next quarter to pay for the restructuring – which is likely to be shorthand for big job cuts to come.

The Financial Times reported earlier this year that HSBC would cut as many as 10,000 jobs; given the language in which Mr Quinn has couched his warnings about the bank's performance, that looks a likely outcome.

‘Significant charges'

HSBC said the revenue environment was “more challenging” than in the first half of the year, and predicted “softer” revenue growth than previously anticipated.

It also warned of “significant charges” in the fourth quarter – including those related to restructuring – if the backdrop worsened further.

While HSBC warned earlier this year that profits would be hit by a slowdown in China, the broader region was profitable for the bank in the third quarter.

The bank said profit before tax in Asia rose 4% to $4.7bn in the period, citing “resilience” in Hong Kong.

It follows months of unrest in the territory that have raised concerns about the impact on the economy and the reputation of the Asian financial hub.

The Smart Car Pulled Out of The US, Now It’s Betting On China


The tiny Smart car was meant to be a revolutionary new idea in urban mobility. But more than 20 years after its creation, the Smart car pulled out of the U.S. after years of increasingly dismal sales. Now, its parent company, Daimler, is looking in a new direction.

Who Wants To Be A Trillionaire?

Source: Bloomberg

There are millions of asteroids in our solar system. Because some are full of materials that are rare on Earth, they have been valued at stupendous amounts. But the most valuable resource in space may be something that's abundant back on the ground.

UK’s mobile operators team up to tackle rural ‘not-spots

( via — Fri, 25th Oct 2019) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s four mobile network operators have agreed to build a shared rural network, backed by government funds, banishing countryside “not-spots” where consumers are unable to get an adequate signal.

EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three will collectively spend 532 million pounds ($684 million) over 20 years, according to the plan published on Friday, potentially supported by a 500 million pound investment from the government.

The operators would invest in new and existing phone masts they would all share under the proposal, which the government hopes will be formalized early next year.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said she is determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind in mobile connectivity.

“Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with,” she said.

“But it is not yet a done deal and I want to see industry move quickly so we can reach a final agreement early next year.”

The operators have agreed to share existing masts and infrastructure in areas where there is coverage from at least one but not all operators.

If this is delivered, the government will then commit up to 500 million pounds of investment to eliminate total not-spots – the hard-to-reach areas where there is no coverage from any operator.

The agreement will bring high-quality 4G coverage to 95% of Britain by 2025, the government said.

Poor mobile coverage in rural areas has been a problem in Britain for many years, affecting residents and visitors including former Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said he had to cut short holidays in Cornwall, in England’s south west, because of poor communications.

The government has pushed operators to come up with a solution, including proposing “in-country roaming”, where customers would switch to rival networks if they could not connect to their own.

Vodafone UK’s Chief Technology Officer Scott Petty said the networks started working on the plan a year ago, before engaging with government and the regulator Ofcom.

“It will result in great coverage for the country in the most cost-effective way,” he said. “We are sharing our infrastructure as much as possible, it’s great for consumers, who will have maximum choice wherever they live in the UK.”

The allocation of costs had been agreed between the operators, depending on existing levels of coverage, he said.

The infrastructure sharing plan was far superior to in-country roaming, which was technically difficult, would drain users’ batteries and hamper competition and investment, he said.

By Paul Sandle

QuickQuid: UK’s biggest remaining payday loan provider to close

( via – – Fri, 25th Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

The UK's biggest remaining payday loan provider is to close, with thousands of complaints about its lending still unresolved.

QuickQuid's owner, US-based Enova, says it will leave the UK market “due to regulatory uncertainty”.

Compensation claims have been made from customers who said they were given loans they could not afford to repay.

It is the latest firm offering short-term, high-interest loans to close after regulations were tightened.

QuickQuid has been the biggest payday lender in the UK for the past few years. It was bigger than household name Wonga even before the latter folded in August last year. The Money Shop closed earlier this year.

‘Sometimes you don't have any other choice'

Kenneth Barker took out 11 consecutive loans in less than a year when he was a barman in Essex in 2012.

“The initial one was for £100. I paid back £160, but then needed a £150 loan to tide me over for the next month. It gradually worsened,” said the 28-year-old, who now lives in Leeds.

“To be honest, I knew what I was getting myself into, but sometimes you don't have any other choice.”

He submitted a complaint nine months ago, claiming he was given unaffordable loans, and was offered £50 in compensation by the company.

He said: “I then went to the financial ombudsman. That was accepted and I was offered £2,000. I was told I'd get it within 28 days. I'm hoping I will still get that money!

“I have no idea how this is going to proceed or whether I will receive this money.”

Despite waiting for his compensation, he said he was pleased that a business such as QuickQuid would be closing.

Tighter rules

QuickQuid is one of the brand names of CashEuroNet UK, which also runs On Stride – a provider of longer-term, larger loans and previously known as Pounds to Pocket.

“Over the past several months, we worked with our UK regulator to agree upon a sustainable solution to the elevated complaints to the UK Financial Ombudsman, which would enable us to continue providing access to credit,” said Enova boss David Fisher.

“While we are disappointed that we could not ultimately find a path forward, the decision to exit the UK market is the right one for Enova and our shareholders.”

New rules brought in five years ago limited the interest rates and fees payday lenders can charge and introduced enhanced affordability checks. Since then there has been a wave of complaints from customers who say they were mis-sold loans they could not afford.

QuickQuid has been facing as many as 10,000 or more outstanding complaints from borrowers.

Such legacy loan complaints, many of which came via claims management companies, were the key reason for the demise of Wonga last year.

Do I stop making repayments?

The closure of QuickQuid might lead some to think their loan is invalid – but it is not.

“While you may be tempted to stop your repayments, it is crucial to keep to your regular schedule, because if you have entered into a loan agreement you must fulfil it,” said Caroline Siarkiewicz, acting chief executive at the Money and Pensions Service.

“If you miss any repayments you could be hit by fees and additional charges, and it could also harm your credit rating.”

Those who are owed money in compensation must wait to see what the next move is for the business.

The Money Advice Service website has a guide on alternatives to payday loans.

Protection ‘inadequate'

As well as historic complaints, QuickQuid was also the subject of compensation claims for more recent loans.

The UK's Financial Ombudsman Service said that it had received 3,165 cases against CashEuroNet in the first half of the year. It was the second most-complained about company in the banking and credit sector during that six months.

The ombudsman upheld 59% of cases against the company during the same period, but a backlog of cases is thought to have built up.

Anyone with eligible complaints who is entitled to compensation will now see the level of any payouts depend on the process of closing the company.

Debt adviser Sara Williams, who writes the Debt Camel blog, said: “I feel incredibly sorry for those people with complaints that they may have had in with the ombudsman for years.

“The current system does not give adequate protection for these borrowers.”

RBS posts quarterly loss of £900m after extra PPI claims put aside

( via – – Thur, 24th Oct 2019) London, Uk – –

Bank slid to an operating loss of £8m for the three months to September

Royal Bank of Scotland has swung to a quarterly loss after being forced to put aside an extra £900m to cover a surge in payment protection insurance complaints before the claims deadline.

The extra charge means RBS slid to an operating loss of £8m for the three months to September, compared with a profit of £961m in the same quarter last year.

PPI has become by far the banking industry’s biggest mis-selling scandal and this latest charge for RBS is at the top end of its estimates in September, after the August claims deadline.

The bank had forecast a third-quarter provision of between £600m to £900m.

The RBS finance director said it was too soon to say this was the end of the PPI saga, given the volume of claims the lender was still working through. “I think it would be very brave … to say the line was completely drawn under it but this is certainly our best estimate,” Katie Murray said.Advertisement

RBS, which is still 62%-owned by the government, said its PPI provisions total was £6.2bn to date. The bill for the industry as a whole has already exceeded £42bn.

Despite the third-quarter losses, RBS said it remained on track for full-year expectations in uncertain times.

The economic outlook forced RBS to take a £55m charge, but Murray said the “slight strain” was due to more than just Brexit jitters. She said it reflecteddeteriorating global growth forecasts in recent months, as well as ongoing volatility.

“The economic indicators have got that much worse since the end of June,” she said. “It really is sort of the growing volatility in the economics that we see rather than something politically tied towards Brexit, I think it’s important to have the separation.”

The lender said it was on track to cut costs by £300m by the end of the year, but Murray refused to speculate on the future of RBS’ investment bank, NatWest Markets, which suffered a £193m loss for the quarter.

“As for job cuts, you know we always prefer to talk to our own staff, before we spoke externally.”

RBS said it cut 900 jobs, approximately 6% of its total headcount, in the third quarter to about 65,700 staff.

The figures are the last for the chief executive, Ross McEwan, who hands over to Alison Rose next week. Rose, who has been with the bank for 27 years, will become the first woman to head a British high street bank.

She is the deputy chief executive of NatWest Holdings, RBS’s retail and commercial banking division, and also runs RBS’s commercial and private banking business, including Coutts.

Rose is expected to deliver a new strategic plan for the entire bank in February.

Kalyeena Makortoff Banking correspondent