Published: 20 April 2021
Political Football: PM Boris Johnson said plans for a new European Super League would be "very damaging for football" and that the UK government will do all it can to stop it. French President Emmanuel Macron said the move “threatened the principle of sporting merit” and pledged his backing for any steps European football body UEFA might take to fight the new league. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said he “fully backs the position of the Italian and European football authorities to preserve national competences, meritocracy and the social function of sport.” The Spanish government also came out against the plans.
The Premier League said it condemned the proposal as it "attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart" of domestic and European football. FIFA has expressed its "disapproval" at plans for the new European Super League competition, and UEFA said that "the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams." The world players' union FIFPRO says it will "vigorously oppose" any moves to bar players from national team competitions as part of any dispute over European Super League.
Shares in Juventus and Manchester United rallied after the long-rumoured plans to form a European Super League were finally confirmed. The clubs are two of the proposed league's 12 founding football clubs. The others are British clubs Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, Italy's AC Milan and Inter Milan, and Spain's Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. The twelve clubs that have joined the European Super League have all seen a fall in revenue due to covid pandemic measures.
The proposals for a European Super League are being backed by JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank. Funding for the new breakaway league is said to total between $3.8bn (£2.7bn) and $5bn. The transaction is likely to be the biggest sports financing deal of 2021. The Financial Times reported the bank will charge an interest rate of 2% to 3% on the debt, however a spokesperson for the bank confirmed it was working on the deal but declined to give any details.
Unemployment has fallen for the second month in a row. The Office for National Statistics said the jobless rate fell to 4.9% between December and February, down from 5% in the previous three months. Most economists had expected it to rise to 5.1%. However, figures also showed the number of workers on UK payrolls fell by 56,000 in March after three months of increases, as the pandemic continued to take its toll. Overall there were 813,000 fewer workers on payrolls than in March 2020.
The Bank of England and the UK Treasury are exploring a potential national digital currency. Yesterday they announced the creation of a new taskforce to coordinate work on a possible "Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)." The Bank of England said any CBDC would be a new form of digital money that could be used by both households and businesses and which would exist alongside cash and bank deposits, rather than replace them.
Investors who lost £237m in the collapse of London Capital & Finance are to be compensated by the government, in an exceptional move taken because the Financial Conduct Authority failed to properly regulate LCF. John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said LCF bondholders would receive 80% of the money they lost up to a maximum of £68,000, and that the government expects to pay out about £120m. The government would not normally step in, he added, but was doing so because the FCA's failings were a significant factor in the collapse, and it was important to prevent “the misconception that the government will stand behind bad investments in future.” At the time of LCF’s collapse, the FCA was run by Andrew Bailey, now governor of the Bank of England. The independent judicial report into the scandal criticised his slowness in acting to protect savers.
The government has stepped in on Nvidia Corporation’s $40bn (£28bn) acquisition of British technology company Arm due to concerns surrounding security. Yahoo Finance UK reports that Digital secretary Oliver Dowden has issued a public interest intervention notice confirming that he is intervening in the proposed acquisition from Japanese investment fund SoftBank, which bought Arm back in 2016 for $31.4bn. Dowden has “quasi-judicial” powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to intervene in certain mergers on public interest grounds and has written to the Competition and Markets Authority to instruct them to begin a ‘phase one’ investigation to assess the transaction.
A new government-backed mortgage scheme has launched in the UK to help first-time buyers or current homeowners secure a mortgage with just a 5% deposit. The 95% mortgage scheme follows prime minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to help turn “generation rent into generation buy” at the Conservatives’ party conference last October.
According to the Office for National Statistics Brits working from home were paid 9.2% more on average than those who never worked from home in 2020, as they were better able to continue working despite lockdown restrictions. This is a marked shift from previous data: remote workers were less than half as likely to be promoted than all other workers between 2012 and 2017, and around 38% less likely on average to have received a bonus compared with those who never worked from home between 2013 and 2020. Until last year, homeworkers were also paid on average 6.8% less than those who never worked from home.
Tesco has been fined £7.56m for selling out-of-date food at three stores in Birmingham between 2016 and 2017.
Marks & Spencer will increase its online capacity by building a new automated online warehouse in its existing distribution centre in Bradford, creating 300 new jobs.
FTSE 100 manufacturer Johnson Matthey Plc says it is developing a 30,000-ton cathode materials plant with Finnish Minerals Group and has also signed a long-term contract for Russia’s MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC to supply nickel and cobalt for the plant, in Vaasa. Finland plans to build a new industry around EV batteries in the coming years, intending to benefit from its rich stock of minerals and low power prices to investors as European companies rush to invest in the battery sector to meet targets to get 30 million zero-emission cars on the roads by 2030. Battery demand is expected to be so strong that production barely will keep pace by decade’s end, according to UBS Group AG. Nickel and cobalt are key components in EV batteries, and consumption of the metals is forecast to soar.
Equiniti has received a bid proposal from Siris Capital which values the business services and payments company at about £620m. Siris has until 17 May to announce a firm intention to make an offer or walk away. Equiniti shares rose 15% to 158.13p at 10:34 BST yesterday.
Mattioli Woods has agreed to buy Caledonia Asset Management for up to £1.6m to expand its wealth management business in Edinburgh. Caledonia was founded in 2000 and advises about 150 individuals and families on their finances. The business generated pretax profit of £0.18m in the year to the end of December on revenue of £0.45m.
Manufacturer Melrose Industries has agreed to sell its Nortek Air Management business to Chicago-based Madison Industries for £2.62bn in cash. The FTSE 100 company said it would use part of the net proceeds to reduce debt, and contribute around £100m to the GKN UK defined benefit pension schemes, and return a portion of net proceeds to shareholders.
C&C said its Matthew Clark Bibendum wholesale business was forced to shut down its computer systems on 16th April after it was the target of a cyber attack. A forensic IT firm and lawyers have been called in to investigate the incident and restore systems. The incident did not affect the systems of the wider group, whose products include Bulmers cider. The company has informed customers and suppliers notified relevant authorities, including the Information Commissioner's Office.
British motorists are facing the biggest drop in car insurance costs in almost six years, according to the latest research by price comparison website Confused.com. The average cost of car insurance has apparently fallen by £87 in 12 months due to lower risk of accidents. Confused.com's Car Insurance Price Index, in partnership with global insurance broker Willis Towers Watson, tracked six million insurance quotes during the first quarter of 2021.
HSBC has scrapping the entire executive floor at its Canary Wharf headquarters and repurposed the offices for client meeting rooms and collaboration spaces. Top bosses including chief executive Noel Quinn will now hot desk in an open-plan space two floors below, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Barclays has pulled out of a deal to help fund two new jails in Alabama, bowing to pressure from business advocacy groups the American Sustainable Business Council and Social Venture Circle after they terminated the bank's corporate memberships and returned $15,000 in fees paid by the bank. Two years after saying it would not lend to the private prison sector, Barclays had agreed to underwrite a deal with operators CoreCivic, leading to accusations it was looking for loopholes to still be involved and that it was "profiting from the injustice of the US prison system".
The European Union has exercised its option for a further 100m doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, the two drug companies confirmed on Monday. The decision brings the total number of doses delivered to the EU to 600m, enough to fully protect two thirds of the bloc's population, the firms added.
China's CanSino Biologics will start clinical trials for a new Covid-19 vaccine that is inhaled rather than injected, working jointly with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology. The company has used the same concept to develop an inhalation vaccine for tuberculosis or TB.
Four counties in California have accused Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Endo International Plc and AbbVie Inc's Allergan unit of fuelling a drug crisis that resulted in nearly 500,000 opioid overdose deaths over two decades. They are taking the pharma companies to trial, saying they should pay more than $50 billion to cover the costs of abating the public nuisance they created, plus penalties.
GameStop's chief executive George Sherman is stepping down at the end of July, or earlier if a replacement is appointed. GameStop's shares surged 2,000% in January as day traders organised online to push up the shares and hurt hedge funds holding short positions in the company. Hedge fund manager David Einhorn said last week the episode was an example of "quasi-anarchy" in markets.
Cryptocurrency prices have suffered a wild few days of selling, after the US Treasury said it was planning to censure financial institutions for money laundering carried out through digital assets.
Bitcoin was down 1.2% to trade at $57,096 (£41,113) by 9.40am in London yesterday. Meanwhile, ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, was down around 1% to trade at $2,253.41. Ripple (XRP-USD) was at one point 9.2% higher on Monday morning but soon retreated to a gain of 1.2%.
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