Ocado extends partnership with France’s Groupe Casino

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 30th June 2022) London, UK —

Ocado (OCDO.L) has extended its partnership deal with French retailer Groupe Casino (CASP.PA), the British online supermarket and technology group said on Thursday.

The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding announced in February.


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The extension includes the creation of a joint venture to provide logistics services to Ocado-powered customer fulfilment centres in France, which will be available to all grocery retailers.

Groupe Casino will also use Ocado's in-store fulfilment technology in its Monoprix stores.

Ocado will integrate Octopia's marketplace platform into its Ocado Smart Platform (OSP), and allow OSP partners around the world to launch their own marketplace offerings.


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Octopia is a subsidiary of Cdiscount, which is fully controlled by Cnova (CNV.PA), the e-commerce arm of Casino.

Ocado agreed its first deal with Casino in 2017.

Reporting by James Davey

 

Grayscale Sues SEC Over Bitcoin ETF Application Rejection

(qlmbusinessnews.com via coindesk.com — Thur, 30th June 2022) London, Uk – –

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The SEC rejected Grayscale's application to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to an exchange-traded fund earlier Wednesday.

Grayscale Investments has sued the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) barely an hour after the regulatory agency rejected its application to convert its flagship Grayscale Bitcoin Trust product to an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The SEC rejected Grayscale's application earlier Wednesday, citing concerns about market manipulation, the role of Tether in the broader bitcoin ecosystem and the lack of a surveillance-sharing agreement between a “regulated market of significant size” and a regulated exchange, echoing concerns the regulator has expressed for years in rejecting other spot bitcoin ETF applications.

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Grayscale is a subsidiary of CoinDesk parent company Digital Currency Group.

In the filing, Grayscale simply asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the SEC's order.

The investment firm announced it was prepared to sue the SEC in the event of a rejection earlier in 2022, saying it would file a proceeding tied to the Administrative Procedures Act. To that end, Grayscale tapped former Solicitor General Don Verrilli, who has experience in APA proceedings.

“Grayscale supports and believes in the SEC’s mandate to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets and facilitate capital formation – and we are deeply disappointed by and vehemently disagree with the SEC's decision to continue to deny spot Bitcoin ETFs from coming to the U.S. market,” Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein said in a statement Wednesday.

Essentially, the company will argue that the SEC has to allow products that are like other products already trading, in this case bitcoin futures ETFs.

Verrilli told reporters earlier in June that the SEC's approval of futures ETFs indicate the underlying market must be seen as reliable.

“This is a place where common sense has a really important role to play. You've got a situation now in which you have certain kinds of exchange traded funds, one that is focused on bitcoin futures, and the SEC has approved that, the SEC is given it the seal of approval,” he said. “In order to do so it had to make a determination that that giving this approval was consistent with the securities laws, and in particular, that that there wasn't a sufficient underlying risk of fraud and manipulation.”

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To date, only a handful of bitcoin futures ETFs have been approved to trade. Spot bitcoin ETFs trade based on the price of bitcoin itself, while futures-based ETFs trade based on the price of CME's bitcoin futures product (which in turn is tied to an index). Bitcoin ETF proponents argue that the futures markets are still based on the underlying spot bitcoin price, while the SEC notes that CME's futures market is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a fellow federal agency.

By Nikhilesh De

Top 10 Luxury Cars 2022

Source: Thansis1997

The world of luxury automobiles is more diverse today than it has ever been. Not only do customers have more variety to choose from, but they can also enjoy features & a ride quality that was only showcased in concept cars. Newcomers have somewhat managed to earn a good reputation in this niche, but legacy automakers continue to dominate the entire luxury vehicle market to this day. Hand-picking the most luxurious motorcars of the present era is a rather difficult task. Nevertheless, this video will walk you through the top 10 most luxurious cars of 2022, which we think have truly earned their reputation.


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How This Artist Made $738K In 32 Minutes Selling NFTs


Source: CNBC

Cam Rackam, 42, is an NFT artist from Huntington Beach, California. Cam graduated with a BFA in drawing and painting from Cal State Fullerton. He had attended and was featured in many art exhibitions over the years for his work in oil painting. But once the pandemic hit in 2020, Cam pivoted to making NFT art. On October 27th, 2021, Cam sold his entire 10,000 NFT collection for 660 ethereum, or $2.6 million. His cut: $738,593.97.


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Toyota recalls 2,700 electric cars over concerns about loose wheels

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 24th June 2022) London, Uk – –

Motor industry giant Toyota is recalling 2,700 of its first mass-produced all-electric vehicles over concerns their wheels may fall off.

A spokesperson told the BBC that bolts on the bZ4X's wheels “can loosen to the point where the wheel can detach from the vehicle” after “low-mileage use”.

The recall comes less than two months after the car was launched in Japan.

Car maker Subaru also says that for the same reason it will recall 2,600 electric cars it developed with Toyota.


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On Friday, Toyota said in a statement that it had issued a safety recall for 2,700 bZ4X SUVs in the US, Europe, Canada and Japan.

“If a wheel detaches from the vehicle while driving, it could result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash,” a spokesperson said.

“No one should drive these vehicles until the remedy is performed,” they added.

The BBC understands that some bZ4X models have not been recalled. However, a Toyota spokesperson declined to comment on how many of the vehicle the company had manufactured.

Toyota said it had notified Japanese safety regulators about the defect on Thursday and the cause of the issue was “still under investigation”.

Another Japanese car manufacturer, Subaru also said it was recalling 2,600 units of the Solterra, its first all-electric car jointly developed with Toyota, because of concerns over loose bolts. The firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

Toyota is viewed as a relative latecomer to the electric vehicle market, as compared to rival manufacturers like Tesla, which launched its first electric car 14 years ago.

It launched the bZ4X in Japan last month. The car was only available on lease “to eliminate customer concerns regarding residual battery performance, maintenance and residual value,” Toyota said earlier this year.


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This week, the company said it would cut the number of vehicles it plans to produce next month by 50,000 to 800,000 because of a shortage of computer chips and supply disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Although Toyota currently aims to manufacture a total of 9.7m vehicles around the world this year, it has signalled that it may be forced to lower that number.

By Annabelle Liang

Crypto Exchange Bitget Plans to Double Workforce as Peers Cut Back in Bear Market

(qlmbusinessnews.com via coindesk.com — Thur, 23rd June 2022) London, Uk – –

In contrast with exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini, the derivatives platform plans to increase its staff.

Bitget, a Singapore-based crypto derivatives exchange, plans to double its workforce over the next six months, just as other crypto firms are cutting back.


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  • The exchange plans to reach 1,000 employees by the end of the year, it said in a press release on Thursday. It had 150 employees at the start of 2021 and had grown threefold by mid-2022, according to the press release.
  • Exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini and Crypto.com, meantime, are reducing staff amid a market rout that's seen the price of bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, slump more than 50% since the start of the year.
  • Bitget has experienced “tremendous growth and generating strong and recurring cash flow despite uncertain market conditions,” the company said. Trading volume at the derivatives exchange grew 10-fold in the past 12 months, reaching an all-time high of $8.69 billion in March, said Managing Director Gracy Chen.


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  • Bitget ranks number five in Coingecko's list of derivatives exchanges, with a trading volume of $7.4 billion in the past 24 hours as of the time of writing.
  • In March, Bitget announced it had registered with U.S. authorities, signaling that it plans to expand from Asia to North America.

By Eliza Gkritsi

Heathrow carriers agreed to axe 10% of flights today as baggage backlog continues

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 20th June 2022) London, Uk —

It comes after hundreds of passengers were left waiting for over three hours during the weekend to retrieve their luggage, with no explanation from staff.

Heathrow has asked airlines to cancel 10% of their flights today as the airport faces a baggage backlog.


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Around 5,000 passengers have been affected after carriers agreed to axe less than 30 flights.

Problems with the baggage system at Heathrow left hundreds of travellers waiting for over three hours during the weekend to retrieve their luggage, with no explanation from staff.

Airlines that have cancelled flights today include Virgin Atlantic, Flybe, Air France, Air Canada, TAP Portugal, Loganair, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Brussels Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Aer Lingus, ITA Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa, KLM and Bulgaria Air.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We apologise unreservedly for the disruption passengers have faced over the course of this weekend.

“The technical issues affecting baggage systems have led to us making the decision to request airlines operating in Terminals 2 and 3 to consolidate their schedules on Monday 20th June.

“This will enable us to minimise ongoing impact and we ask that all passengers check with their airlines for the latest information.”

People waiting ‘hours' for luggage at Heathrow

Heathrow, like airports and airlines across the country, is grappling with staff shortages during the busiest season of the year, which have led to hundreds of flights being cancelled in recent weeks.

On Friday, an “enormous luggage carpet” was spotted outside a Heathrow terminal, as staff grappled with an “ongoing issue with the baggage system”.

Travellers told Sky News there were huge queues at border control upon landing and large crowds at baggage reclaim over the weekend.

Some passengers had been forced to travel without their belongings.

Luggage chaos at Heathrow

Meanwhile, EasyJet announced plans to cut more flights over the busy summer period, as it apologised to customers for failing to “deliver the service they have come to expect from us”.


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A number of flights will be cancelled into and out of Gatwick in response to the airport's announcement last week that it would introduce flight caps in July and August to help it cope with a staff shortage.

The airline has blamed staff shortages in ground handling and at airports, as well as air traffic control delays for increased turnaround times, delayed flights and cancellations.

By

Primark trials click-and-collect for children’s products

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 20th June 2022) London, Uk – –

Primark is to finally sell its clothes online through a new click-and-collect service for children's products.

The High Street retailer said 2,000 goods will be offered through a trial which will run out of 25 shops in the north west of England.


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Until now, Primark has resisted selling its products online unlike other retailers.

As a result, the business was hit hard by Covid restrictions while stores were closed.

Retail analyst Catherine Shuttleworth described Primark's move as a “very big deal”, adding: “Covid showed the risk of having a store-only estate.

“Primark has been looking for the best way to enter the online market, but if you're late to the party – which it is – you need to do it in the most profitable way possible,” said Ms Shuttleworth, founder of retail consultancy Savvy.

“Click-and-collect is simpler to build into your existing operation of shops, you don't need a logistics partner, and returns come straight back into the store.”

Parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) said the move builds on recent improvements to its website.

Primark's sales bounced back when stores reopened after lockdown eased
The group recently revamped its UK site to give more details of in-store ranges, so customers can browse the full collection and check availability before coming into stores.

ABF said its new website, which launched in April, saw online traffic rise by around 60%.

It said the trial will allow customers who live nearer a smaller Primark store access to a much wider range of items.

“Our average-size stores are only able to stock a limited range and for these customers the number of options available to them will broadly double, increasing even more for customers of our small stores,” said ABF.

“This trial will enable us to provide more fashion, licence and lifestyle products to more customers and more often.”

The group said Primark sales increased by 81% in the three months to the end of May, when compared with last year.

All Primark stores were open during the period, unlike last year when most stores were closed until the middle of April due to lockdown restrictions.

High Street's future
The chain, which was founded in 1969, has never had an online store nor offered click-and-collect services for its products until now.

The firm has previously said this is because it would not be able to keep prices for its clothing as low if it offered home delivery.

While Primark suffered from its lack of online presence during the lockdowns, sales quickly recovered when stores reopened in April 2021.

A senior executive at the firm recently told the BBC that the pandemic had “accelerated” changes that were already taking place between the high street and online.


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However, John Bason, finance director at ABF, said he is confident that the High Street does have a future.

“Even though we were closed probably six months for the two main years of the pandemic, our customers have come back to us. That I think is very very striking,” he added.

“So no, I think the demise of the High Street is way overstated, but it is changing. There's no doubt over it.”

By Noor Nanji

Coinbase Lays Off Around 1,100 Employees

(qlmbusinessnews.com via coindesk.com — Thur, 16th June 2022) London, Uk – –

The exchange is reducing its workforce by roughly 18%. CEO Brian Armstrong admits the company “grew too quickly.”

Coinbase Global (COIN) is laying off around 1,100 employees as part of a cost cutting plan, the company said in a filing on Tuesday. Coinbase initially said in May it was paring back its hiring plans and then later said it would rescind new job offers.

 

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  • The latest plan involves cutting the workforce by around 18% as of June 10, after which it will have around 5,000 total employees as of the end of the current quarter, the company said, adding that it expects the plan to be executed by the end of the second quarter. Coinbase estimated it would incur $40 million to $45 million in total restructuring expenses.
  • On Tuesday morning, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong published a note that was shared with all employees.
  • “We appear to be entering a recession after a 10+ year economic boom,” Armstrong stated, before alluding to the potential of another crypto winter.
  • The note concedes that the company “grew too quickly” in the cryptocurrency bull market, scaling from 1,250 employees at the start of 2021.
  • Outgoing Coinbase employees received the news in their personal email addresses after access was cut from Coinbase systems, according to the note.
  • Coinbase shares are down almost 80% this year as the sharp decline in crypto prices has hurt the exchange's transaction volumes. On Tuesday morning, shares of Coinbase rose about 1% in pre-market trading after the layoff news was announced. However, in regular trading shares were down about 3% to $50.40.
  • In response to the announcement, Mizuho lowered its 2022 revenue estimates for Coinbase and reduced its price target from $60 to $45. It said it was concerned cutting workers could hurt efforts to find new revenue streams, potentially leading to a pricing war with rivals as competition rises.


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  • Coinbase is the latest in a slew of crypto companies to announce job cuts. On Monday, lending platform BlockFi reduced its headcount by 20% and crypto exchange Crypto.com said it would cut about 260 jobs. Prior to that, the Winklevoss-led exchange and custodian Gemini announced it was cutting 10% of its workforce, and Middle Eastern exchange Rain said it was cutting dozens of jobs.
  • The cryptocurrency market is enduring its deepest correction for more than two years, with bitcoin trading at $22,150, 68% lower than its all-time high of about $69,000 reached last November.

By Parikshit Mishra

Trustpilot kicks off hunt for new chairman

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 15th June 2022) London, Uk – –

Trustpilot Group, which has seen a sharp decline in its shares since floating last year, has hired headhunters to find Tim Weller's successor, Sky News understands.

Trustpilot Group, the online reviews platform, has kicked off a search for a new chairman little more than a year after listing on the London stock market.


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Sky News has learnt that the company has appointed headhunters from The Up Group to identify a successor to Tim Weller, the respected entrepreneur.

Mr Weller, who also chairs a string of privately owned companies, has been at the helm of Danish-based Trustpilot for a decade.

His planned departure comes amid a rout in listed technology stocks.

Since floating at 260p-a-share in March 2021, Trustpilot's stock has fallen to just 81.25p, giving the company a market capitalisation of about £340m.

Nevertheless, a number of shareholders are said to have expressed opposition to Mr Weller's departure, arguing that it reinforces flaws in corporate governance guidelines which state that non-executive directors cease to be independent when they have served for nine years.

Some institutions say the clock should be reset once a company becomes publicly traded.

The search for Mr Weller's successor is being led by Angela Seymour-Jackson, the senior independent director, who has also served on boards including Future, the magazines publisher.


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Many investors believe the share price declines at listed tech companies have left them vulnerable to takeover approaches, although broader economic uncertainty and concerns that earlier valuations were inflated mean few such bids have materialised.

A Trustpilot spokesman declined to comment.

Crypto market volatile day saw bitcoin withdrawals temporarily suspended

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 14th June 2022) London, Uk – –

Value of assets dips below $1tn after Celsius Network halts withdrawals over ‘extreme’ conditions

The cryptocurrency market has endured another day of volatility as the Binance exchange temporarily suspended bitcoin withdrawals and the total value of the digital asset market dipped below $1tn (£820bn), after a cryptocurrency lender stopped customers from taking back their funds.

The cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius Network halted withdrawals because of “extreme market conditions”, prompting a selloff.


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Bitcoin dropped to a 17-month low of $23,629 after the Celsius announcement, while ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, dropped more than 15% to $1,237, its lowest since January 2021. Meanwhile, Binance announced it had “temporarily paused” bitcoin withdrawals owing to a “stuck on-chain transaction”, before announcing a resumption several hours later.

The total value of the cryptocurrency market fell below $1tn after the sell-off, according to the data site CoinMarketCap, which had valued the market at almost $3tn in November.

Celsius said in a blogpost it was “pausing” all withdrawals and transfers between accounts for its 1.7 million customers. The company offers customers high interest rates – as much as 18% – on their cryptocurrency deposits and pays the interest in crypto assets, which includes its own token, called CEL.

“Due to extreme market conditions, today we are announcing that Celsius is pausing all withdrawals, swap, and transfers between accounts,” the platform said. “We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honour, over time, its withdrawal obligations.”

Binance said in a statement that bitcoin withdrawals had been suspended shortly after midday in the UK “due to an earlier batch of transactions getting stuck from low transaction fees submitted”. As a consequence there had been a backlog of bitcoin network withdrawals, Binance said. It then announced at 4.30pm BST that withdrawals had resumed.

On 7 June, Celsius had published a blog seeking to reassure customers amid volatile conditions in the cryptocurrency markets, triggered initially by a collapse in the crypto project Terra. Headlined “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”, the blog said the company had not had “any issues meeting withdrawal requests”. Celsius has offices in London, New York and Lithuania.


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Celsius’s website tells customers they can “borrow like a billionaire”. It has $11.8bn in assets, down from more than $24bn in December last year. In November, it said it had raised $750m from investors including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, one of Canada’s largest pension funds.

Like a bank, Celsius also has a retail loan operation, with customers able to borrow money, denominated in US dollars, from the service. Because of the impossibility of sending debt collectors after a crypto wallet, however, Celsius loans are “overcollateralised”: customers need to deposit bitcoin or ethereum worth at least twice the value of the money they are borrowing. That can be useful if, for instance, a bitcoin millionaire needs some hard cash to buy a house but does not want to liquidate their bitcoin holdings because they are gambling the coin will go up again.

However, unlike a bank, Celsius’s loans charge a lower interest rate than it pays on deposits. The company makes up the difference through an opaque investment strategy that has in the past included investing $300m in bitcoin mining, offering more traditional loans to unnamed “institutional investors” at higher rates of interest, and taking large stakes in other cryptocurrency projects.

Occasionally, that strategy has resulted in large losses: a hack of the decentralised investment platform Badger DAO that wiped out that project was revealed to have cost Celsius $50m in bitcoin.

The company also had a close relationship with the defunct stablecoin project Terra, at one point investing $500m of funds in the Anchor Protocol, Terra’s own saving and lending service. Celsius also offers customers higher returns if they accept their interest payments in the project’s own crypto token, CEL, which was trading at $7 last year and has fallen to less than $0.20.

Cryptocurrencies have also been swept up in a market panic over rising inflation and higher interest rates, which has dulled the appetite for higher-risk assets.


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“As inflation proves to be an even trickier opponent to beat than expected, bitcoin and ether are continuing to get a severe bruising in the ring,” said Susannah Streeter, a senior investment and markets analyst at the investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown.

“They are prime victims of the flight away from risky assets as investors fret about spiralling consumer prices around the world.”

By Dan Milmo and Alex Her

 

South Korea Investigates Terra Labs for Alleged Bitcoin Embezzlement Following UST Collapse: Report

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via coindesk.com — Thur, 9th June 2022) London, Uk – –

A probe has been launched into Do Kwon's Terraform Labs over alleged embezzlement of the company's bitcoin.

By Oliver Knight

South Korean law enforcement agencies are investigating Terraform Labs following last month's collapse of their controversial algorithmic stablecoin, TerraUSD (UST), according to a report by the Financial Times.




The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has launched a probe into allegations of embezzlement of an undisclosed amount of Terra's bitcoin holdings, the report said.
Terra held $3.5 billion worth of bitcoin (BTC) in its reserves, in a failed attempt to stabilize the price of UST.

Terraform co-founder Daniel Shin denied allegations of fraud, telling the FT that there was “no intention of deception” and that the company wanted to innovate the payment settlement system using blockchain technology.
Last month South Korean authorities estimated that around 280,000 of its citizens had been impacted by the collapse of UST and Luna (LUNC).


Since the implosion of Terra's stablecoin, the company has launched a new token (LUNA) that was airdropped to previous holders. LUNA is currently trading at $3.12 with a market cap of $642 million and has lost 80% of its value since last week's peak.
Terraform Labs did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for comment.

By Oliver Knight

UK’s edtech start-up Bibliu secures funding boost with $15m injection

th

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 8th June 2022) London, Uk – –

Existing investors including Stonehage Fleming and Nesta Impact Investments are injecting further money into the digital educational resources company, Sky News understands.


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A British education technology start-up which works with universities to provide digital access to textbooks and research materials has defied the gloomy sentiment engulfing the fundraising environment by securing a $15m (£12m) capital injection.

Sky News understands that Bibliu, which counts Oxford University and Imperial College London among its customers, will announce this week that it has raised the money from new and existing investors.

The funding will be used to help Bibliu expand in the US, including through partnerships with publishers and new product development, it said.

Bibliu argues that by reducing inequalities caused by the often-high cost of educational resources, it helps colleges and universities to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Existing backers including Nesta Impact Investments, Oxford Science Enterprises, Guinness Ventures and Stonehage Fleming are among the participants in the round.

Richard Hill, head of direct investments at Stonehage Fleming, the international family office, is joining Bibliu's board as part of the Series B fundraising.


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“This funding will enable Bibliu to develop additional technology that further automates content management for publishers, streamline the complexities for institutions associated with managing learning content, and – most of all – support our clients' goals to advance student success in an equitable manner,” Dave Sherwood, the company's co-founder and chief executive, said.

By Mark Kleinman

 

15 Businesses That Will Be Around Forever

Source: Alux

These businesses are never going away! Always demand, always evergreen!
This Alux video we will be answering the following questions:
What businesses are evergreen?
What are good businesses to start?


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What businesses always have customers?
What businesses are in high demand?
What are the best businesses to start for the long term?

Amazon to pull Kindle out of China

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 2nd June 2022) London, UK —

Amazon.com (AMZN.O) said it will stop supplying retailers in China with its Kindle e-readers from Thursday and will shut its Kindle e-bookstore there next year, in the latest pullback by a U.S. tech firm from the restrictive Chinese market.


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Amazon announced the decision on its official WeChat account on Thursday, saying it was adjusting the strategic focus of its operations and that its other business lines in China would continue.

The Kindle China e-bookstore will stop selling ebooks from June 30 next year, it said, though customers will be able to continue downloading any purchased books for a year beyond that.

It will also remove the Kindle app from Chinese app stores in 2024, it added.

The company said the closure of Kindle's China business was not due to government pressure or censorship.

“We remain committed to our customers in China. As a global business, we periodically evaluate our offerings and make adjustments, wherever we operate,” a spokesperson for Amazon said in an emailed statement

“With our portfolio of businesses in China, we will continue to innovate and invest where we can provide value to our customers.”

Amazon's remaining businesses in China include cross-border e-commerce, advertising and cloud services. It shut down its China online store in 2019.

Reuters reported in December last year on Amazon's deep, decade-long effort to win favour in Beijing to protect and grow its business in China.

The report detailed how the Kindle business was one it had sought to expand in China, and cited an internal 2018 Amazon briefing document that said by the end of 2017, China had become Kindle's largest global market, “accounting for 40%+ of our world device sales volume”.


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Other Western internet companies, including Microsoft's (MSFT.O) LinkedIn, Yahoo and Airbnb Inc (ABNB.O) have cut services in or retreated completely from China in recent months, amid government efforts to tighten control over online content and new laws targeting data sharing and customer privacy.

Reporting by Brenda Goh

GameStop Reports $76.9M in Proceeds From Sales of Digital Assets in First Quarter

(qlmbusinessnews.com via coindesk.com — Thur, 2nd June 2022) London, Uk – –

Video game retailer GameStop (GME), reporting its quarterly results, received a cash flow boost of $76.9 million from the sale of IMX tokens it had received as part of its partnership with non-fungible token (NFT) scaling platform Immutable.


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In February GameStop sold the IMX tokens it had been granted as part of its deal with Immutable, generating $76.9 million in proceeds. Overall, the company reported negative cash flow for the quarter of $236.3 million.

GameStop also took note of continued steps to support the recent launch of its digital asset wallet, and its intention to open its NFT marketplace during Q2.
Speaking on the earnings call, management said the wallet has seen “significant” downloads from the Chrome app store. “We firmly believe that digital assets are core to the future of gaming,” said CEO Matt Furlong.

By Michael Bellusci

Britishvolt UK battery start up to invest more than £200m in Midlands test facility

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 31st May 2022) London, Uk – –

UK battery startup to lease site in Hams Hall to test manufacturing methods for planned ‘gigafactory’

The UK battery startup Britishvolt has said it will invest more than £200m in a new facility in the West Midlands to test manufacturing methods that will be used at the factory is has planned for in Northumberland.


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The company will lease a site in Hams Hall, Warwickshire, from the warehouse developer Prologis, with equipment installation expected by the end of autumn 2023.

The move will give Britishvolt access to the significant number of engineers working in the West Midlands, which has long been at the centre of the British automotive industry. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is planning a battery assembly centre at Hams Hall, while the German carmaker BMW produces petrol engines there as well.

Britishvolt has pursued a flurry of partnerships and investments as it pursues its ambition to build electric car batteries from scratch. In January it secured £100m in government funding, alongside backing from the investment firm Abrdn and the fund manager Tritax that is eventually expected to reach £1.7bn. Britishvolt has also recently secured investment from the Monaco-based shipping company Scorpio Group, in an indication that it will look beyond the automotive industry for customers. However, it has signed memorandums of understanding with the UK carmakers Aston Martin and Lagonda.

Britishvolt chose to build its “gigafactory” – industry jargon generally used to refer to battery plants with annual capacity of more than 10 gigawatt hours – in Cambois near Blyth in Northumberland. That site was selected in part because of access to renewable energy from offshore windfarms.

Paul Franklin, Britishvolt’s property director, said he wanted the company to “lead the UK’s journey into re-industrialisation with the first full-scale battery gigaplant”, and added that the Hams Hall facility would “help the UK build on its home-grown battery intellectual property and level up the country ready for the energy transition”.

The only other planned battery plant of a similar scale is an investment by China’s Envision at a site in Sunderland that was formerly owned by Nissan to produce batteries for its electric models. Another effort to build a “gigafactory” at Coventry airport has yet to find a major investor.


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The project hopes to attract investment from a major automotive company, with West Midlands-based JLR seen as the best fit. However, JLR did not deny a report by Bloomberg last week that it is considering sourcing batteries overseas, from Sweden’s Northvolt or China’s SVOLT Energy Technology, for a range of electric cars that it may assemble in Slovakia.

By Jasper Jolly

GSK to spend up to $3.3 bln on Affinivax to boost next-generation roster of vaccines

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 31st May 2022) London, UK —

May 31 (Reuters) – GSK (GSK.L) on Tuesday agreed to buy U.S. biotech Affinivax for up to $3.3 billion, its second major deal in two months, giving the British pharmaceutical giant access to the company's roster of next-generation vaccines.

GSK, one of the world's major vaccine makers, has been under pressure to shore up its pharmaceutical pipeline ahead of the separation in July of its consumer business, home to brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Advil painkillers.


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The drugmaker's newer shingles vaccine has been a key growth driver as demand has returned after disruption to immunisations during the pandemic, but GSK needs a new product to bolster the vaccines business, which made 6.78 billion pounds ($8.54 billion) in 2021.

GSK is also facing competition from vaccine candidates from rivals Pfizer (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) using newer mRNA technology.

GSK will pay Affinivax $2.1 billion upfront and up to $1.2 billion in potential milestones. The acquisition comes after GSK last month indicated an appetite for further deals following its $1.9 billion purchase of Sierra Oncology (SRRA.O). 

“While this marks a step in the right direction with regard to the group's strategy, we're mindful that owning the treatment and making money from it are two very different things,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laura Hoy.

London-listed GSK on Tuesday also reiterated its outlook for 2022 and its medium-term targets.

Privately-held Affinivax gives GSK its next-generation vaccines under development, the most advanced of which are for pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections and sinusitis.

GSK has its own, older, pneumococcal vaccine called Synflorix, which was approved for European and U.S. use in 2009, and which competes with Pfizer's Prevnar and Merck's (MRK.N) Pneumovax.


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Affinivax's newer vaccine technology is designed to strengthen the breadth of immunity against a pathogen, such that an immune-boosting adjuvant is not necessary.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka

 

 

Electric car rapid charging costs soar, says RAC

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 27th May 2022) London, Uk – –

The cost of rapidly charging an electric car has risen sharply as energy costs soar, the RAC has said.


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However, electric car charging still remains cheaper than petrol and diesel, the motoring organisation said.

Rises in electricity and gas prices, in part since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are behind the increased charging costs.

But fuel prices have gone up more quickly as crude oil suppliers struggle to meet demand.

The price of charging an electric car on a pay-as-you-go, non-subscription basis at a publicly accessible rapid charger has increased by 21% over the last nine months, the RAC said.

Even charging at home has been getting more expensive as energy bills spiral upwards.

The cost of the electricity used to power electric vehicles varies according to the household tariff the customer is on.

But both rapid charging and home charging are still less expensive than petrol or diesel per mile.

Electric vehicle (EV) charging is nearly half the cost per mile compared to filling a family car with petrol, the motoring organisation said.

The average cost of a litre of petrol has increased by 25% since last September, and diesel by 30%, according to the RAC.

This month diesel prices rose to a record of more than £1.80 a litre.

“While electric car drivers may not be immune from the rocketing price of wholesale energy – most notably gas, which in turn dictates the cost of electricity – there's no doubt that charging an electric vehicle still represents excellent value for money compared to filling up a petrol or diesel car,” RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams told the BBC.

The three main rapid charging companies are BP Pulse, Instavolt and Osprey according to Zap Map, which records charge point distribution and costs.

Mr Williams said that “unsurprisingly” the quickest places to charge are also the most expensive with ultra-rapid chargers costing on average 14% more to use than rapid chargers.

Home charging

While the RAC analysis charted on-the-road pricing, private EV owners may not use this as their primary way of charging.

The RAC said the most affordable way of charging an electric car is from home, where overnight electricity rates can be much lower than their public charger counterparts.

According to the AA motoring group, some EV car owners use tariffs as low as 4.5p per kilowatt hour during off-peak times when charging at home.

In addition, it said charging from lampposts is 46% cheaper than on-the-road rapid charging.

But it said this option is only available in some parts of the country at the moment.

“Sadly just 87 councils out of almost 400 across the UK have applied for the on-street residential chargepoint grant since 2017,” said Jack Cousins, head of road policy at the AA.

“This needs to dramatically improve so that EV drivers across the country have access to good, local chargepoints,” he said.

Another reason home charging can be so much cheaper than rapid charging is because of “the bizarre way that electricity is taxed”, Simon Williams from the RAC added.

“Right now, VAT on electricity from a public charger is levied at a rate four-times that which applies to domestic electricity, which makes it far more expensive to charge on-the-go than it should be,” he said.

EV prices

Electric cars also usually cost thousands of pounds more than their petrol or diesel counterparts.

This is because EV batteries are expensive to make and a high level of investment is needed to transform existing factory production lines to manufacture the new technology.

However, costs are expected to come down in the near future: industry group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders forecasts electric and internal combustion engine cars should cost roughly the same “by the end of this decade.”

Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of Zap Map, said: “More electric cars need to be produced at a mid-price range, with the cost of living crisis it's going to be really hard for many people to buy a new car but there are subscription models.”

“There should be price parity for EV cars by 2025 as the price of batteries comes down”.


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“Though costs are up, EV drivers are feeling happy they're saving even when charging on the most expensive public charging spots when compared to fossil fuels,” she added.

By Beth Timmins & Tom Espiner