One in six people are estimated to be over the age of 65 by 2050. As the world’s aging population battles boredom and loneliness, some retirees are finding second careers to keep occupied. CNBC’s Uptin Saiidi met one couple in South Korea going back to work as Airbnb hosts.
British start up Audio Analytic is like the Shazaam for real world sounds. Its AI technology is put to use in smart home devices that can detect sounds like a window breaking or a smoke alarm going off.
The technology will take active measures to protect your home by alerting your phone or turning on your lights to scare away burglars. Bloomberg's Hello World Host Ashlee Vance visits the Cambridge start up to meet with its founder and CEO and a cute baby that was gracious enough to help demo the app.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 11th Sept 2019) London, Uk – –
California lawmakers have passed a bill that paves the way for gig economy workers to get holiday and sick pay.
Assembly Bill 5, as its known, will affect companies such as Uber and Lyft, which depend on those working in the gig economy.
Some estimates suggest costs for those firms would increase by 30% if they have to treat workers as employees.
But opponents of the bill say it will hurt those people who want to work flexible hours.
Assembly Bill 5 would put into law a decision by the state's supreme court last year. Then, judges ruled that workers should be considered employees under state law if they are integral to a company's business or it tells them what to do.
US democratic presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris have all come out in support of the bill.
But Uber and Lyft have both proposed a referendum on the decision. In a statement after the bill was passed, Lyft said: “We are fully prepared to take this issue to the voters of California to preserve the freedom and access drivers and riders want and need.”
Analysis: By David Lee
The business models of gig economy companies are already under strain – Uber lost more than $5bn in the last quarter alone. Some estimates suggest that having to treat workers as employees, rather than independent contractors, could increase costs by as much as 30%.
Uber and rival ridesharing service Lyft joined forces to push back again the bill. They suggested a guaranteed minimum wage of $21 per hour instead of the sweeping changes the bill would bring.
But that pledge wasn't enough to sway California's Senate, and the state's governor Gavin Newsom is expected to soon sign the bill into law. That paves the way for California's 1 million gig workers to gain added rights next year.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue , 10th Sept 2019) London, UK —
TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group (9984.T), a leading shareholder in the holding company of U.S. office-sharing startup WeWork, has urged it to shelve a planned IPO on concerns over the valuation, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
A SoftBank spokeswoman declined to comment on the report, which cited sources familiar with the matter.
Investor scepticism has already forced money-losing The We Company to consider slashing its IPO valuation to a little more than $20 billion, sources told Reuters last week. That followed weak initial trading at other startups including SoftBank-backed Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N).
While SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund emphasize their long-term investing credentials, founder and CEO Masayoshi Son has set out an ambitious IPO pipeline for tech investments spanning ride-hailing, fintech and health startups.
Putting The We Company’s offering on hold would disrupt that schedule at a time when SoftBank is seeking funds from investors for a second Vision Fund.
SoftBank made a follow-up investment in We Company, one of its biggest tech bets, at a $47 billion valuation earlier this year – a number widely treated with scepticism by analysts.
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Chris Lane said that if The We Company halts the IPO, SoftBank could come up with an alternative funding plan for the startup, which he estimates needs $9 billion in funding to become cash-flow positive.
SoftBank “have got an important voice, but more importantly they have money … (The We Company) will have to listen to them,” said Lane, who values the office space-sharing firm at $23 billion.
Tech conglomerate SoftBank has burned through much of the $100 billion raised by its first Vision Fund in just two years, recording big paper gains on internal revaluations of its tech investments.
Vision Fund defends its valuation techniques, which include cash-flow analysis, recent transactions and comparison with peers to underpin its numbers.
At the end of June the fund recorded the value of $71 billion invested in 83 investments as having grown by $20 billion. Since then the share price of portfolio companies Uber and Slack (WORK.N) have both fallen by around a third.
SoftBank says many investments receive a vote of confidence as third parties come in as co-investors or by making follow-on investments at the same or higher valuations.
In the case of The We Company’s $47 billion valuation, if a tech company shelves an IPO due to a lower valuation than expected, investors are generally expected to take that fall into account when appraising their stakes.
Reporting by Sam Nussey and Tim Kelly in Tokyo, Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Bharath Manjesh in Bengalurus
Bloomberg Technology's Emily Chang speaks to Grab Co-Founders Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan about the Southeast Asian ride-hailing business. In the exclusive conversation, they tell us how the company partnered with Uber, adding Dara Khosrowshahi to their board, and how they have their sights set on becoming a super-app.
The headphone jack has a long legacy in the audio world. So when Apple decided to exclude it from the iPhone 7, consumers were up in arms. In the years since, Samsung has been a champion for those who still wanted the headphone jack Samsung even went so far as to run a headphone jack commercial mocking Apple. But with the release of the Galaxy Note 10, it too has forgotten the decades-old technology. Did Samsung prove Apple right by killing the headphone jack?
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 26th Aug, 2019) London, Uk – –
Aerospace lobby group slashes 2019 deliveries forecast and says prospect of no-deal Brexit making things worse
Global aircraft production has fallen by a quarter after the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max jet following two fatal accidents.
ADS, the British aerospace lobby group, said 88 aircraft were delivered in July, down 24% on the same month a year ago, with the fall largely due to the slump in production of single-aisled planes such as the 737. The number of aircraft delivered in the year to date has now reached 716 but that is more than 11% lower than in 2018.
The ADS recently slashed its forecast for 2019 global aircraft deliveries from 1,789 to 1,489.
The ADS chief executive, Paul Everitt, said the prospect of a no-deal Brexit was making the situation worse for British companies in the £36bn aerospace sector. Firms spent about £600m preparing for the 29 March deadline, and that figure is expected to rise ahead of the new 31 October deadline.
The aerospace industry has been among the most forthright in its opposition to leaving the UK without a deal. Airbus, Europe’s largest aerospace company, has warned it will consider closing British factories in the event of a no-deal Brexit. “No deal remains the worst outcome for industry, with many small businesses particularly vulnerable,” said Everitt.
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and others are about to come head-to-head with the likes of Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, HBO Max and CNBC's parent company, NBCUniversal. It's been dubbed the streaming wars. In 2017, 61% of adults 18 to 29 said they primarily watch TV through a streaming service, compared to just 31% who watched cable. So who's going to win, what's going to happen to cable, and how much will it cost customers? Watch the video to find out.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 21st Aug 2019) London, Uk – –
The UK tech sector has attracted more investment from the US and Asia in the first seven months of this year than it did during the whole of last year.
Japan and Singapore are the biggest Asian investors into UK tech, beating China,figures from the UK's Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation show.
Industry players say lower valuations in the UK due to the weaker pound are attracting investors to the sector.
The pound is currently trading at about a two-year low against the dollar.
Increasingly, UK companies are also heading to Asia to raise capital.
“I've seen a lot more requests from UK start-ups tapping Asian markets capital financing in comparison to a year ago,” said Aditya Mathur, founder and managing director of Singapore based venture capital fund elev8.vc.
“They typically want access to the Asian market that is large and diverse, and for that they need an Asian investor to help them understand these markets, and also provide the kind of financing they're looking for.”
UK tech firms also provide Asian investors with a way to hedge against the trade war, analysts say.
“Foreign investment into both the US and Chinese tech sectors has gone down because of the trade war and because Europe has provided several attractive investment opportunities lately” said Yoram Wijngaarde, founder and chief executive of Dealroom, the company that pulled together the figures for the research.
“The UK provides an attractive opportunity for funds looking to grow their investments.”
Investment from the US and Asia into the UK tech sector totals $3.7bn (£3.02bn; €3.31bn) so far this year. That's in comparison to $2.9bn for the whole of last year.
In total, Asia invested $1.8bn into the UK tech sector in the first half of this year, compared to $0.6bn the year before.
Companies in the UK's fintech and financial sector are amongst those that attracted the most interest from Asia's investors.
In May, Japan's Softbank bought an $800m stake in Britain's Greensill, which provides short term loans to companies to help with their operational needs.
Softbank and the Singapore-based Clermont Group also invested $400m in UK firm OakNorth Bank, a digital-only bank providing loans for small and medium-sized companies.
And Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation spent $220m buying a 20% stake in UK power firm Ovo Energy.
Still, the US is by far the biggest investor in the UK's tech sector, figures show, with $2bn worth of investments so far this year.
Online food delivery businesses like Deliveroo and digital payment platforms are among the areas that caught the attention of American investors.
“Today's figures demonstrate investors' confidence in the UK tech sector,” Natalie Black, the UK Trade Commissioner to Asia Pacific said.
“By attracting a broader mix of investors, particularly from Asia, we are showing that the UK's tech sector is one of the most competitive in the world, with a stable, bright future.”
Still, worries about what impact Brexit will have on the UK's tech talent pool are worrying investors and companies, who are concerned the UK will see a brain drain if EU nationals aren't able to work in the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit.
“It's our biggest concern right now,” said Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, a campaign group promoting London's technology sector.
“One in five tech workers in London is from the EU. We're growing these businesses, and the money is flowing in, but we don't have enough talent in the country.
“We need a transition plan for companies who need to know what to do about staffing after October 31. Otherwise it undermines our credibility.”
Mr Shaw has said one of the ways the UK could mitigate these risks is by making the immigration process for overseas workers easier and more welcoming in the future.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 20th Aug 2019) London, Uk – –
The regulator is looking into whether electricity firms breached licence conditions after a blackout which hit 1.1 million homes.
National Grid is facing an investigation by Ofgem over a major power cut earlier this month – as it blamed a lightning strike for the outage.
The regulator – which has the power to fine firms up to 10% of UK turnover – said it was looking into whether the Grid and other electricity companies breached their licence conditions.
Ofgem said it would focus on whether National Grid complied with requirements to hold sufficient backup power as well as how separate generation and distribution companies met their obligations.
It announced the investigation at the same time as it published National Grid's interim report into the power failure on 9 August, which left more than a million homes without power and caused major rail disruption.
The report blamed an “extremely rare and unexpected” outage at two power stations caused by one lightning strike at 4.52pm that day.
That resulted in a combined power loss to the network which was greater than the backup capacity held in case of emergency.
The report said the system automatically turned off 5% of Britain's electricity demand to protect the other 95% – a situation which it said had not happened in over a decade.
Ofgem's investigation will include questions over whether the companies involved made the right decisions about the number of customers who were cut off and if they were the right ones.
National Grid also admitted that the government, the regulator and the media were not made aware of what had happened as quickly as they should have been “impacted by the availability of key personnel given it was 5pm on a Friday evening”.
The business department was not updated until 5.40pm and Ofgem at 5.50pm, nearly an hour after the initial event.
The outage left 1.1 million customers without power for between 15 and 50 minutes as well as affecting trains in the South East.
Problems on the railways were mainly blamed on one particular type of train, of which there were around 60 in use, reacting unexpectedly to the outage, and half of them failing to restart – requiring an engineer to attend to do so.Sky Views: Who was to blame for the power cut?How black-outs may have boosted the argument for renationalisation
Other “critical facilities” hit by the power cut included Ipswich hospital and Newcastle airport.
National Grid must submit its final detailed technical report to Ofgem by 6 September.
Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem's executive director of systems and networks, said: “The power cuts of Friday 9 August caused interruptions to consumers' energy and significant disruption to commuters.
“It's important that the industry takes all possible steps to prevent this happening again.
“Having now received National Grid ESO's [Electricity System Operator] interim report, we believe there are still areas where we need to use our statutory powers to investigate these outages.
“This will ensure the industry learns the relevant lessons and to clearly establish whether any firm breached their obligations to deliver secure power supplies to consumers.”
The power cut came after a lightning strike just before 5pm, resulting in disruption for many commuters travelling home from work or going away for the weekend.
It knocked out Hornsea off-shore windfarm, off the Yorkshire coast – owned by Danish company Orsted – as well as Little Barford gas power station in Bedfordshire – owned by the Germany's RWE – resulting in the loss of 1,378MW.
That was more than the 1,000MW being kept by National Grid at that time – a level designed to cover the loss of the single biggest power generator to the grid.
Its report said that after the lightning strike at 4.52pm, National Grid restored the system to a “normal stable state” by 5.06pm and distribution network operators returned supply to all customers by 5.37pm.
However some major electricity users including rail services were affected for a number of hours “by the action of their own systems”.
Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are partnering with automotive companies that rely on the tech giants to bring phones and artificial intelligence into vehicles.
At its WWDC this week, Apple rolled out updates to CarPlay, which is now available in 90% of new vehicles in the United States. At Google I/O last month, Google announced an update to Android Auto and said Android Automotive, the first card with the Android operating system natively built in, will be available next year.
Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri are also increasingly showing up in automobiles. IHS Markit forecasts that by 2024 almost 700 million of these software platforms will be enabled in vehicles.
At a call center in the Dominican Republic, Laura Morales is designing chatbots to respond to customer service requests. A former call center agent herself, Morales has benefited from her new job that is better paid and higher skilled than what she used to do. But will these chatbots end up replacing the livelihoods of millions of agents around the world? This is an episode of Next Jobs, a mini-documentary series hosted by Bloomberg Technology's Aki Ito.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 15th Aug 2019) London, UK —
LONDON, Aug 15 (Reuters) – British retail sales edged up unexpectedly in July, helped by the strongest growth in online spending in three years, suggesting consumers continued to support the economy ahead of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline.
Monthly retail sales volumes rose 0.2%, the Office for National Statistics said on Thursday, compared with a median forecast for a 0.2% decline in a Reuters poll of economists and following a 0.9% surge in June.
Compared with July 2018, sales were up by 3.3%, slowing from robust growth of 3.8% in June. The Reuters poll had pointed to annual sales growth of 2.6%.
Consumers have so far largely taken Brexit in their stride, helped by modest inflation and wages growing at their fastest rate in 11 years.
That has aided the world’s fifth-biggest economy at a time when many companies have been cutting back on investment because of escalating uncertainty about Brexit.
The figures contrasted with a British Retail Consortium survey that showed spending fell in the year to July at the fastest pace on record for that month.
The ONS said retail sales grew 0.5% in the three months to July, the smallest increase this year and reflecting a drop in sales volumes in May.
“Although still declining across the quarter, there was an increase in sales for department stores in July for the first time this year,” ONS statistician Rhian Murphy said.
“Strong online sales growth on the month was driven by promotions.”
Online sales jumped 6.9% on the month, their biggest rise in volume terms since May 2016. Amazon (AMZN.O) held its annual “Prime Day” sales promotion last month, a major driver of sales for the company.
However, household goods stores reported their biggest monthly drop in sales in two years, down 5.4%, with anecdotal evidence that warm weather had kept shoppers out of furniture and lighting stores.
Stable inflation, the strongest rise in wages since 2008 and some of the lowest unemployment rates since the mid-1970s have continued to boost household incomes, although after inflation wages are still below their peak before the financial crisis.
But there have been signs that consumers could turn more cautious as Britain’s political crisis drags on.
The amount households are saving relative to their income is not far off record low levels.
News from retailers has been mixed of late. Fashion chain Next (NXT.L) shrugged off Britain’s retail gloom on Wednesday and has also reported a surprise rise in full-price sales.
But baby products retailer Mothercare (MTC.L) blamed an uncertain and volatile home market coupled with fragile consumer confidence as reasons why it will not report a rise in annual profit.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 12th Aug 2019) London, Uk – –
Travel operator, which had already asked for £750m, wants to stave off winter cash crunch
Shares in Thomas Cook have slumped after the troubled travel operator said it was seeking to raise another £150m from investors – after already asking for £750m – to stave off a Christmas cash crunch.
Thomas Cook said it was in advanced discussions with its banks and Fosun, the Chinese conglomerate and its biggest shareholder, over the “substantial new capital investment”.
The British travel company, which traces its history to 1841, has struggled in recent years due to a large debt pile, intense competition and structural change to a travel industry lumbered with large branch networks. In recent months unseasonable weather and the impact of Brexit on consumers’ travel plans have added to its woes, pushing it to a £1.5bn loss for the six months to 31 March.Quick guide
Thomas Cook shares fell by a fifth on Monday to 6.2p amid questions of whether the company would survive. The price was a far cry from highs of 140p reached as recently as May 2018. The former FTSE 100 blue chip company was worth only £147.9m before the latest fall in its value.
The latest cash injection comes a month after Thomas Cook revealed it was in talks over a £750m rescue deal with Fosun, a Shanghai-based company with diverse interests that include Wolverhampton Wanderers football club, insurance and property businesses and the Club Med tourism brand.
Thomas Cook said the extra £150m would provide it with liquidity headroom during the winter months, when travel operators generally ran low on cash after bulk buying hotel space before a surge of bookings for the next summer. It expects the bailout to be concluded in early October.
Those shareholders who have remained with Thomas Cook are expected to have the value of their shares “significantly diluted” by the bailout, which will result in about £1.7bn in debt converted to equity alongside the £900m cash injection.
The plans would also involve splitting its profitable airline from the tour operator business, which Fosun would essentially take over. Fosun would then have to decide on any reorganisation, prompting concern about the future of the 21,000-member workforce. The company has 563 high street branches in the UK.
Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada is expected to be the largest building in the world by footprint once completed. CNBC’s Uptin Saiidi gets a rare look inside what Tesla founder Elon Musk calls, ‘the machine that builds the machine.’
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 9th Aug 2019) London, Uk – –
The company says a price war in the US is easing but slowing revenue growth leaves analysts worrying about its ability to expand.
Shares in Uber fell around 6% after the company reported record losses for its second quarter.
The $5.24bn (£4.3bn) net loss was significantly wider than its $878m (£723m) loss at the same time last year.
Costs rose by 147% to $8.65bn (£7.1bn) during the quarter.
This was partially due to one-off costs, such as $3.9bn (£3.2bn) of stock-based compensation expenses related to its IPO earlier this year and nearly $300m (£247m) in “driver appreciation” related to the stock sale.
But there was also a sharp rise in spending on research and development.
Total revenue was up 14% to $3.2bn (£2.6bn) but still below expectations.
Revenue from the company's main business – its ride-hailing – grew just 2% to $2.3bn (£1.9bn) and food delivery division Uber Eats grew 72% to $595m (£490m).
Haris Anwar, analyst at financial markets platform Investing.com, said: “Losses are widening and the competition is cut-throat.
“What's sapping investor confidence and hitting its stock hard after this report is the absence of a clear path to grow revenue and cut costs.”
Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi insisted the losses would diminish in 2020 and 2021 while the company invests aggressively.
The competitive environment is starting to rationalise and has been “progressively improving”, he said, adding that the business would eventually become profitable.
Uber's monthly active users rose to 99 million globally, from 93 million at the end of the first quarter and 76 million a year earlier.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Fri, 2nd Aug 2019) London, UK —
LONDON (Reuters) – BT (BT.L), Britain’s biggest broadband provider, said it was ready to play its part in achieving new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ambition to roll out full fibre across the country as it met market expectations for first-quarter trading on Friday.
“On network investment, we welcome the government’s ambition for full-fibre broadband across the country and we are confident we will see further steps to stimulate investment,” Chief Executive Philip Jansen said.
“We are ready to play our part to accelerate the pace of roll-out, in a manner that will benefit both the country and our shareholders, and we are engaging with the government and (regulator) Ofcom on this.”
Johnson said Britain had to accelerate the roll-out of full-fibre broadband to homes and businesses in his campaign to become prime minister and after taking office last month.
He said a government target for complete full-fibre coverage by 2033 was “laughably unambitious”.
BT plans to roll out fibre to 4 million premises by March 2021, and has said it could connect 15 million by the mid-2020s if the government and regulator make it worth its while.
Jansen said taking fibre to all premises across the UK by 2025 would “be a major feat of engineering that will require significant investment, planning and also manpower”.
He said the government needed to take quick, decisive action to allow BT to make a fair return on investment, mandate that customers switch to the ultrafast service and give telecom firms the same permission to dig up roads as other utilities.
“If we can do that then I know BT can go both faster and further than our current fibre build ambitions,” he told reporters.
He said Ofcom needed to be clear about the return BT would be allowed to secure on its investment, given that the cost of roll-out for the whole country would be 30 billion pounds plus.
Chief Financial Officer Simon Lowth said Ofcom had deemed that 15% was a fair return on earlier “fibre to the cabinet” investment, and that was a clear benchmark on the sort of returns needed to drive “fibre to the premises”.
“Fibre to the cabinet” uses existing copper wires for the final connection into customers’ homes. “Fibre to the premises” is the gold standard broadband, offering speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.
The company, which owns Britain’s biggest mobile operator EE, reported a 1% fall in first-quarter adjusted revenue to 5.63 billion pounds ($6.82 billion) and adjusted core earnings to 1.96 billion pounds.
The numbers were ahead of analysts’ forecasts of 5.59 billion pounds and 1.89 billion pounds, according to a company-compiled consensus.
Analysts at Jefferies, however, said the beat was low quality with a material contribution from “other”, and a miss in the consumer division meant there was no obvious basis for forecast upgrades.
Shares in the company were trading down nearly 5% at 185 pence at 0830 GMT.
Reporting by Paul Sandle