Uber boss does U-turn On Trump’s business advisory panel

Uber's Travis Kalanick tells employees he is quitting President Trump's business advisory panel. The ride-sharing app has come under pressure with the #deleteuber campaign gaining ground. We also bring you the latest on which company is looking to start manufacturing in the United States. And we end with a look at Super Bowl Sunday.

The Guardian warned staff to expect heavy losses as it forecasts to burn £90m in cash this year

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Wed, 1 Feb, 2017) London, Uk – –

The Guardian has warned staff to expect further heavy losses, as the newspaper said it expects to burn through another £90m in cash this year.

It has recorded negative cash flow of £60m so far in the current financial year and is on track for another £30m by April, executives told a meeting at its King's Cross headquarters.

The outflow so far is roughly equivalent to last year, when Guardian Media Group, the publisher of the Guardian and the Observer, went on to report a loss before tax and exceptional items of £68.7m. After tax and one-off charges, the company’s losses topped £200m.

The Guardian is seeking to sharply cut its costs by laying off staff, reducing the size of its office and scaling back its overseas ambitions. The cuts have not yet staunched the flow of red ink, however.

Staff were told, however, that the newspaper’s management, led by editor Katharine Viner and chief executive David Pemsel, remain confident they can deliver a turnaround in the next two years. The plan is ahead of schedule so far, the meeting heard.

Sources inside The Guardian said there was nevertheless widespread concern about the financial health of the publisher.

Its losses are funded by the Scott Trust, a charitable trust set up to secure the future of the Guardian. The cash reserve was depleted by £95m last year to leave a reserve of £743m. The further negative cash flow this year is likely to erode the endowment again.

Executives are considering increasingly radical options to cut costs, including potentially reducing the size of the newspaper and outsourcing printing to Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper publisher, News UK.

The move would mean The Guardian would shut down its own ‘Berliner’ printing presses, in which it invested around £80m in 2005.

Ms Viner and Mr Pemsel are seeking to boost revenues from readers by asking them for voluntary donations online, while so far maintaining free access to all articles. Executives have refused to rule out the introduction of compulsory charges for some material and are currently recruiting a head of subscriptions with a brief to consider “what are realistic targets for [subscriber] acquisition, retention and overall revenues; how should products be priced”.

The Guardian faces a particularly acute costs challenge in a tough print and online trading environment for all newspapers, following a period of aggressive expansion under its previous editor, Alan Rusbridger. He was due to return to the publisher last year as chairman of the Scott Trust but was ousted in a boardroom coup amid concerns about governance and strategic missteps.

Mr Rusbridger has pointed to the growing dominance of Google and Facebook in online advertising as a major factor in the Guardian’s failure to hit digital revenue growth targets.

The latest non-executive appointment to the Guardian Media Group board is Coram Williams, the chief financial officer of the struggling education publisher Pearson, which has given five profit warnings in four years.

Mr Rusbridger has pointed to the growing dominance of Google and Facebook in online advertising as a major factor in the Guardian’s failure to hit digital revenue growth targets.

The latest non-executive appointment to the Guardian Media Group board is Coram Williams, the chief financial officer of the struggling education publisher Pearson, which has given five profit warnings in four years.

By Christopher Williams,

$12B In Stock Bough By Warren Buffett Since U.S. Election

Billionaire Warren Buffett added “$12 billion of common stocks since the election” to his portfolio at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., he told Charlie Rose in an interview that aired on Friday. Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also speaks about what he's learned from Buffett.

Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 refugees over five years

Noirescent/flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 31 Jan, 2017) London, Uk – –

Coffee chain unveils plan to hire staff as top US companies express ‘deep concern’ over president’s order.

Starbucks has promised to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in response to Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily barring refugees access to the US and banning entry for anyone from seven majority Muslim countries.

Starbucks has promised to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in response to Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily barring refugees access to the US and banning entry for anyone from seven majority Muslim countries.

The move came as leading US companies including Alphabet, Amazon, Ford, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft came out against the policy.

Howard Schultz, the coffee chain’s chief executive, said he had “deep concern” about the president’s order and would be taking “resolute” action, starting with offering jobs to refugees.

“We are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business,” he told employees in a strongly worded note.

He added that the move was to make clear the company “will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new administration’s actions grows with each passing day”.

Schultz said the initial focus would be in the US and for refugees who had served as interpreters for the US military, but it is not yet clear when the five-year period would begin, or whether people would be employed directly by Starbucks or by suppliers. Schultz added that the Seattle-based company had also contacted employees who had been affected by the immigration ban.

The move met with both support and a backlash on social media. The hashtag #BoycottStarbucks was trending on Twitter on Monday morning, with people praising and condemning the company’s move.

Starbucks’ move came as leading banks, car companies and technology firms voiced concern at the executive order. On Sunday, the Goldman Sachs chief, Lloyd Blankfein, left a voice message for staff that warned the plan could create “disruption” for the bank and its staff, according to a transcript seen by Reuters.

“This is not a policy we support, and I would note that it has already been challenged in federal court, and some of the order has been enjoined at least temporarily,” Blankfein said.

Ford’s executive chairman, Bill Ford Jr, and chief executive, Mark Fields, also condemned the travel ban in a statement to staff. “We do not support this policy or any other that goes against our values as a company,” they said.

Technology firms were the first to come out publicly against Trump’s plans. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, said that as an immigrant himself, he would “continue to advocate” on the issue. “As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world,” he wrote on LinkedIn, the business networking site owned by the group.

Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, said 76 employees had been affected by the 90-day ban on entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

In an email to Microsoft staff, he said: “We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people’s freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings.”

On Sunday, the Google co-founder and Alphabet president, Sergey Brin, was photographed among people protesting at San Francisco international airport over the immigration measures. Brin said he was there in a personal capacity, but reportedly told one journalist: “I’m here because I’m a refugee.”

A Google spokeswoman said: “We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US. We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”

On Monday, the billionaire investor Mark Cuban added his voice to Trump’s critics. Cuban, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the election, told CNBC that in person Trump seemed reasonable and open-minded. “But all that is thrown out the window when he tweets and when he communicates with the media,” he said. “This dichotomy makes things very difficult for business.”

Cuban said that Google, Microsoft and others had already had their businesses disrupted by Trump’s travel restrictions and that they were making life more confusing for employers of foreign-born workers.

“Now you have to give consideration to where they’re from, what their circumstances are, what type of travel that person is doing. Are they a risk? How does that impact my future hiring?”

By Adam Vaughan and Dominic Rushe

Fitbit disappointing fourth quarter sees six percent cut in workforce

Fitbit has announced that it will be conducting a “reduction in force, that will impact approximately 110 employees.” That comes out to about six percent of the company's workforce. The decision is coming after a disappointing fourth quarter for the wearables company. Fitbit's 2016 Quarter four revenue expectations were as high as 750 million dollars, but it now estimates an earned range between 572 million and 580 million dollars. Company CEO James Park said the missed goals are not necessarily indicative of a large weakness in the company. Fitbit's 2016 year-end report will be released in February.

Volkswagen Crowned World’s Biggest Automaker

Toyota which had received the title of being world's biggest automaker has failed to retain the title which had sold 10.175 million vehicles worldwide in 2016, fewer than Volkswagen which sold 10.31 million. The development is indeed a milestone achievement despite the taint to Volkswagen's reputation that had been at stake over a huge scandal over cheating on emissions tests. However, General Motors is yet to table it's sales report next week and if General Motors falls short, then the the  title of being world's biggest automaker will go to time the German automaker for the first time. Toyota Motor Corp had the auto crown for the past four years, although it fell behind General Motors in 2011, when production was hit by a quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

 

Johnson & Johnson to pay $30 billion for Europe’s biggest biotech company Actelion

US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is to buy Actelion, Europe's biggest biotech company – paying $30 billion (28 billion euros).

The purchase gives Johnson & Johnson access to the Swiss group's highly profitable range of medicines for rare diseases.

The deal represents a 23 percent premium to Actelion's closing price on Wednesday and is more than 80 percent above the November 23 closing price before takeover reports first emerged.