Google to create European VC arm
London’s position as a tech centre has been further cemented as Google has announced that it will be setting up at $100m fund in order to invest in European tech business. Google Ventures announced that it would be setting up the fund to cover the whole of Europe, but it will be headquartered in East London’ Tech City.
BBC eyes plan to let rivals bid to make shows
With the BBC’s Charter up for renewal before the end of 2016, Director-General Tony Hall has announced that the BBC will offer to let its competitors bid for the right to create its content. In what is a massive shake-up of the BBC’s previously guarded approach to content creation, industry rivals and independent production companies have welcomed the move. Hall has said that he expects the decision to be reciprocated, and that he would want BBC associated studies to be allowed to create content for rivals such as ITV and Sky.
Cable orders probe in privitisations
Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced that there will be a review into the selling off of part of the UK government’s stake in Royal Mail. Royal Mail gave an IPO last year for which the UK government received nearly £2bn for around 60% of its share in the company. The price received however was significantly lower than the price rise that followed immediately, shares rose 38% on the first day of trading alone. Ministers, who worked closely with investment banks in the city, have been accused of having cost the British taxpayer around £750m. The biggest scandal appears to be that a few “preferred” investors were given access to Royal Mail shares in the hope that they would stay as long-term backers of the company. Most of these long-term investors sold their shares immediately once share price targets had been met, leading some to claim that the government had been duped and had been naïve.
WH Group revives Hong Kong listing
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has been given a boost with the news that Sino-US pork producer WH Group will go through with a listing in the SAR. WH Group is the largest pork producer in both China and the US and also has a major position in European markets. WH Group made headlines in April last year for using 29 different banks on its IPO. Having been forced to postpone that offering, this year’s deal is expected in august, and will see a drastic reduction in the size of the deal. Last year WH Group was seeking to raise around $6bn, although this year’s deal is expected to be around $2bn. There will also be a drastic reduction in the number of banks involved, with this years offering involving a far more reasonable 2. Bank of China International and Morgan Stanley are the two that have made the final cut. vince
Cameron to announce emergency data law
David Cameron in a joint press conference with Deputy PM Nick Clegg has today announced a piece of emergency legislation to go through Parliament. The legislation covers the collection of metadata by telecommunications companies, which was affected by a ruling three months ago by the European Court of Justice. The ECJ struck down the existing legal framework for telecoms companies holding metadata, meaning that telecoms companies would no longer have any legal basis for storing individual’s telephone records. Metadata is currently held by telecoms companies and requested by various UK public institutions such as the police and intelligence services on presentation of a warrant. The legislation was considered “emergency” because without the EU framework for storing this data, telecoms companies were threatening to delete it for fear of being sued by their customers. Many critics are angry at the speed and lack of debate surrounding the legislation. The leaders of the three main political parties have all agreed to the legislation, making its passage through parliament all but assured. The government has been accused of fast-tracking an erosion of citizen’s privacy without room for any debate, and all in the name of “security”.