Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox to buy European pay-TV firm Sky

Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox is buying European pay-TV firm Sky, which has nearly 22 million viewers in Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria.

The deal unites a media empire across two continents.

Murdoch – who has dominated Britain's media and political landscape for decades – is paying 11.7 billion pounds (13.96 billion euros) for the 61 percent of Sky that Fox does not already own.

It is his second go at taking control.

Amazon drone made its first delivery to a customer

Online seller of literally everything Amazon.com made history last week when the company made its first drone delivery to a customer. The order came from near Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and the customer received their order of a Fire TV streaming device and popcorn 13 minutes after placing the order online.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted a photo of the drone in flight and wrote “First ever #AmazonPrimeAir [the name of the company's drone delivery program] customer delivery is in the books,” citing how quickly the delivery made it to the customer.

Facebook going to do more to prevent fake news stories

Facebook has said it is going to do more to prevent fake news stories from spreading on the social media website.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg admitted recently that it needs to improve monitoring and policing of content but said it was a “crazy idea” that fake or misleading news on Facebook had helped swing the US presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.

Snapchat ‘Spectacles’ used by Doctor for the first-ever lifestream surgery

A London based doctor performed surgery in real time on Snapchat. Dr. Shafi Ahmed used ‘Spectacles’ to give a first person view of a hernia repair surgery at London Independent Hospital. He captured the surgery on $130 Spectacles providing an in-depth look at the procedure and offered insight on what he was doing.

Dr. Ahmed believes in using the tools, from phones to apps, to go beyond the limits and reach more people. According to Ahmed, 150 to 200 medical students tuned to his Snapchat Story.

In April, Ahmed set up a 360-degree camera to document a removal of tumor from patient’s colon. It was the first virtual reality medical film.

Dr. Ahmed is going to publish results of his Snapchat experiment in the coming weeks. He is confident he will continue to use Spectacles in his practice with the hopes of reaching people all around the world.

Virgin Media preparing to launch a new budget broadband brand

Virgin Broadband
Rastin Mehr/flickr.com

Virgin Media is preparing to launch a new budget broadband brand as it expands the coverage of its cable network next year, a move that would open a new front for TalkTalk in its battle to retain market share.

The plans are understood to be at an early stage and under secret development at Virgin Media under the codename Project Prosecco.

If launched, Project Prosecco would represent an unprecedented move downmarket. Sources said Virgin Media was likely to offer significantly lower internet speeds to protect its premium customer base.

BT does something similar with its Plusnet brand, positioned to compete directly with TalkTalk for more budget-conscious households.

Sources said the operator is working towards a potential launch in 2017, although no final decisions have been taken. The initiative is part of a wider effort by Virgin Media to capitalise on the ongoing £3bn investment by its parent company, pan-European operator Liberty Global, in expanding Britain’s cable network.

Coverage is scheduled to increase from around half to two thirds of homes by 2020.

Asked whether Virgin Media would launch a budget broadband, Tom Mockridge, it’s chief executive, said: “There are a lot of people down in the more economic sector. But we think there is room for everyone in this market.”

The move will nevertheless be seen as a threat to TalkTalk. Its share of retail broadband has slid by 10 percentage points since 2010 to just 13pc, and the arrival of a cable budget competitor to target its core market would add to the gloom at TalkTalk, which has lost three fifths of its value in 18 months. A Virgin Media spokesman declined to comment on its plans.

By Christopher Williams

The David Rubenstein Show: Features Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates

The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” explores successful leadership through the personal and professional choices of the most influential people in business. Renowned financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein travels the country talking to leaders to uncover their stories and their path to success. The first episode features Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Possible future for 3D printed cars

At the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, Local Motors 3D printed a plastic car called the Strati.

Local Motors printed the car's chassis and body all in one piece, and also printed the fenders separately. The first phase of the process took just 44 hours.

Then the non-printed components (engine, seats, steering wheel, etc.) were attached in the last stage of the assembly.

“A 3D printed car like ours will only have dozens of components,” Local Motors engineer James Earle told Business Insider. In the near future, he says, it could cost only about $7,000 to manufacture, perhaps the start of what will become a niche market for customized cars.

Coca-Cola announced CEO Muhtar Kent will step down from that role in 2017

On Friday, Coca-Cola announced that its CEO Muhtar Kent will step down from that role in 2017 and be succeeded by the beverage company's No. 2 executive, COO James Quincey. Quincey, who's worked with Coca-Cola for nearly two decades, has led the company's recent drive to cut down sugar in its drinks. In an announcement Friday, Quincey claimed that he'll continue to follow that same as CEO. Wall Street analysts said they had expected Quincey to be promoted to the top job, but originally predicted that it would be announced early next year. Quincey is expected to begin his tenure as CEO on May 1, 2017.

McDonald’s to relocate it’s International Tax Base to Britain

After coming under increased scrutiny from European Union regulators over its tax arrangements in the small country, McDonald's said on Thursday it would move its international tax base to the United Kingdom from Luxembourg. McDonald's said it would create a new international holding company domiciled in the UK that would receive the majority of royalties from licensing deals outside the United States.

Pfizer slapped with record £84 million fine over NHS drug

(qlmbusinessnews.com via standard.co.uk – – Thur, 8 Dec, 2016) London, UK – –

pharmaceutical
Vinnie Lauria/Flickr

Pharma giant Pfizer was on Wednesday slapped with the biggest penalty imposed by Britain’s competition watchdog, an £84 million fine for charging the NHS “excessive and unfair prices” for a key anti-epilepsy drug.

Pfizer, the US drugmaker “deliberately… hike[d] up the price for a drug which is relied upon by many thousands of patients”, the Competition and Markets Authority said.

In 2012, Viagra-maker Pfizer stripped its epilepsy drug Epanutin of its branding, turning it into a generic medicine, phenytoin sodium, as these are not subject to price regulation. It then sold the licence to British drugs distributor Flynn Pharma, which was today fined £5.2 million for its role in the scandal.

The pair broke competition law with a crucial medicine for some 48,000 UK patients, the CMA found.

They hiked the price of a 100mg packet of pills by 2600% “overnight” from £2.83 to £67.50 in September 2012. NHS spending on the capsules shot up from £2 million to £50 million in 12 months as a result.

Pfizer’s pricing for the same drug in other European countries remained far lower.

As epilepsy patients on certain drugs should not usually be switched to others, due to serious health consequences, “the NHS had no alternative to paying the increased prices for the drug”, the CMA said.

Pfizer and Flynn Pharma, which calls the capsules a “vitally important product” on its website, “abused [their] dominant position by charging excessive and unfair prices”, the CMA said of its record fine.

Boss Pfizer Ian Read claimed NHS patients would benefit from “better products, faster” during his £69 billion attempt to buy AstraZeneca in 2014.

The next-biggest penalty was a £45 million fine on GlaxoSmithKline and other drugmakers in February.

The CMA has also ordered Pfizer and Flynn to drop their prices, giving them up to four months to do so.

In September 2012, a Flynn company director claimed “for us to continue to make the drug available in the UK, we had to [hike the price],” while Pfizer had claimed it was making Epanutin at a loss, but couldn’t stop doing so as patients relied on it.

However, CMA research showed any losses would have been recovered within two months of the price rises.

Pfizer said it will “be appealing all aspects” of its fine. Flynn said the ruling was based on a “wholly flawed understanding” of the drugs market.

By Lucy Tobin


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