Brex - The first corporate card for startups

Pedro Franceschi (left) and Henrique Dubugras are the cofounders of Brex. 

Pedro Franceschi (left) and Henrique Dubugras are the cofounders of Brex. 

Brex is the new San Fransisco based startup providing corporate credit cards to startups. The startup has raised a total of $57 million in funding from Peter Thiel, Y Combinator and early Facebook investor Yuri Milner. 



Twitter is looking to remodel their business

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has finally decided he wants to revamp twitters service to fight hate, abuse, misinformation, harassment and, scams. In July 2018 Techcrunch reported 'Twitter posts record $100M profit but lose 1M users'. With the users declining the changes may become detrimental to the business. The change will also require a hefty investment. Dorsey says “We often turn to policy to fix a lot of these issues, but I think that is only treating surface-level symptoms that we are seeing". Changing the business model will change the engagement and rewards designed to keep users coming back. 

Nate Elliott, principal at marketing research firm Nineteen Insights said, Twitter doesn't have billions of users to absorb any hits on growth. Even if the changes work, “it's going to cost them so many users and so much money I can't imagine them sticking with these kinds of changes.”

Paul Verna, an analyst with research firm eMarketer, isn't optimistic that Twitter can make its service safer without hurting its business. “Because they rely on an advertising business model, they need to not only continue to reach audiences but try to get them to spend as much time on platforms as possible".


Apple will contribute over $350 billion into US economy over the next five years

Earlier this year Apple announced that it will be contributing $350 billion into the US economy over the next five years. 

The investments will concentrate on three areas: direct employment by Apple, spending and investment with Apple’s domestic suppliers and manufacturers, and the digital App Store economy.

Ony $75 billion of that total number will come from capital expenditures, new investments in manufacturing, and its repatriation tax payment. The rest of the number is due to normal growth and spending.

Apple CEO Tim Cook commented in the announcement that “We believe deeply in the power of American ingenuity, and we are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness. We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible.”

Apple Acquires Health Sector Startup Gliimpse

Photo Credit:  David Allsop

Photo Credit: David Allsop

Gliimpse provides a data platform that allows users to collect and share a portrait of their health data. The Silicon Valley based firm was founded in 2013 by Anil Sethi and Karthik Hariharan and is thought to be Apple’s first acquisition in the healthcare sector. The platform is intended to facilitate easier sharing of a client's medical records between healthcare professionals. Sethi, “There’s no single Electronic Health Record that all physicians use. Worse, there isn't even a common file format across a 1000+ systems.” It is unclear how Apple plans to utilise this technology, but it is thought that it indicates a desire for the firm to move further into healthcare technology, having already developed HealthKit, CareKit and ResearchKit apps that allow users to view and store health data. Apple has yet to announce the deal.







Job Losses Looming at Cisco Systems

Photo Credit:  Romain Decker

Photo Credit: Romain Decker

Networking giant Cisco plan to axe almost 20% of their global workforce. Sources close to the California based firm have revealed retirement packages have already been offered. Wall Street analysts estimate between 9,000 - 14,000 staff will face redundancy. It is believed the cuts are made as a result of the firm moving from hardware to software based technology, due to more and more consumers using cloud based storage. Critics have accused Cisco Systems of being comparatively slow to embrace this trend. It is not the first time Cisco have made large cut backs—in August of 2014 they announced the loss of 6,000 jobs. Microsoft, Intel, and HP are all announcing large scale lay-offs in recent months. Cisco have declined to comment.


UK Government Plans Crackdown on Rogue Financial Advisors

Photo Credit:  J D Mack

Photo Credit: J D Mack

Financial advisors who promote aggressive tax avoidance schemes could face heavy fines, under new rules proposed by the UK Treasury. Currently, firms convicted of tax avoidance face severe penalties, but those who devise the schemes bear little risk. A new consultation document outlines plans for accountants, lawyers and consultants associated with tax avoidance to face fines equating up to 100% of any lost revenue. The new proposals follow PM Theresa May’s pledge to curb tax avoidance by large corporations.

People who peddle tax avoidance schemes deny the country of vital tax revenue and this government is determined to make sure they pay. The vast majority of their schemes don’t work and can land their users in court facing large tax bills and other costs.
— Jane Ellison, Financial Secretary

Verizon buys Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Photo Credit:  Mike Mozart

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart

Giant telecoms company, Verizon has officially acquired Yahoo’s core business, including advertising, content, search and mobile activities, for $4.83 billion. After acquiring AOL last year, Verizon’s plans are to merge AOL and Yahoo to form a bigger advertising and media subsidiary, enabling it to reach billions of internet and mobile users. 

Verizon aims to be more than just a telecoms company and is gearing up to compete with online advertising gods; Google and Facebook.


Intel to sell antivirus software maker, formerly McAfee

Photo Credit:  Thomas Hawk

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk

The Silicon Valley chipmaker, Intel has been talking to bankers about the future of its cyber security software that is bought in 2010 for $7.7 billion. Formerly known as McAfee, Intel changed the name to Intel Security and had planned to embed the cyber security functionality onto its chips but has yet to complete this plan. In an age where hackers and cyber-attacks are becoming more and more frequent, large corporations are searching for better ways to protect their assets. A group of PE firms may join together to purchase Intel Security if it’s sold for the equivalent of the purchase price or higher. The deal will be one of the largest in the sector.


Brexit business summary

The stock market and the pound have managed to regain some ground with the FTSE 100 index now at a loss of only 1.9pc and FTSE 250 up by 7.3pc. The pound is now at $1.37899 after falling to $1.3236. Financial institutions and homebuilders have been hit hardest with companies such as Barclays, Lloyds Bank and Bovis Homes experiencing losses of around 20%. Global companies still remain concerned about potential need for job cuts and loss of profits in the region. Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors said earlier, “… top priority is placed on negotiating a new arrangement that gives UK companies access to the single market, and the much-needed skills of EU workers.”


Tencent Acquires Supercell For $8.6 Billion

China’s biggest gaming group Tencent Holdings Ltd. has announced it is buying an 84% majority stake in the Finnish company Supercell, in a deal worth approximately $8.6 billion, the largest gaming acquisition in history. Supercell is the maker of the popular ‘Clash of Clans’ mobile game, and Tencent’s acquisition includes the entire 72.2% stake of Supercell’s current majority owner, Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank Group Corp. Tencent said it will buy the majority stake in three stages through a wholly-owned consortium, and the deal is expected to be completed during the third quarter this year, given that it receives regulatory approval.


Smith & Wesson Reports 31% Jump In Sales

American defence products manufacturer Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. has announced its financial results for fiscal year 2016. Net revenues increased 31% to $723 million, compared to FY 2015, and net income jumped nearly 89% to $94 million. Similarly, basic EPS rose from 0.92 to 1.72. CEO James Debney said the full-year performance reflects the successful execution of the firm’s long-term strategy. For example, several new products were launched within Smith & Wesson’s firearms division, and its accessories business segment delivered double-digit revenue growth. CFO Jeff Buchanan said the company will focus on strengthening its balance sheet in FY 2017 in order to facilitate business growth.


Premier Farnell bought for £615 million by Dätwyler

Leeds-based electronics manufacturer, Premier Farnell, has been bought by a Swiss industrial components maker, Dätwyler, after the company experiences sharp fall in sales. Since its first profit warning in July last year, Premier Farnell’s sales have been on a continued downfall within the North America and UK markets. Premier Farnell is most renowned for its £20 credit card-sized computer, Raspberry Pi that is designed to educate and get young kids interested in computer programming. Raspberry Pi has been manufactured in Sony’s factory in Bridgend, Wales since 2012, but supply problems have been holding back its manufacture. Premier Farnell’s chief executive, Jos Opdeweegh, believes that the “combination of the two companies represents a strong strategic fit and is highly attractive for customers, shareholders and colleagues.”

Premier Farnell shares have risen 50% to 163.5p since the announcement.


German 10-Year Bond Yield Turns Negative

The 10-year German government bond yield has entered into negative territory, for the first time ever. The long-term benchmark bond recorded a yield of minus 0.01% on Tuesday, as more investors are investing in safe-haven assets out of concern the UK might vote to leave the EU in the referendum on 23 June. During turbulent times, German bonds are usually considered a safe investment, due to very low risk of default. However, other forces than the British referendum are also behind the negative bond yields; low inflation, low economic growth and low interest rates have for many years contributed to declining German bond yields.



Microsoft purchases LinkedIn: In bitesize facts

Software giant Microsoft has announced it is buying the professional networking firm LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash, its biggest deal in history.

The facts

  • Microsoft said LinkedIn would retain its name and operate as a separate business unit.

  • LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner will also remain with the company.

  • The acquisition adds a big new customer base for Microsoft, which hopes it will boost sales of Microsoft’s business software.

  • The takeover price is set at $196 per share, representing a 50% premium over LinkedIn’s closing price on Friday, 10 June.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a conference call the deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, helps the firm in realizing its mission by connecting the world’s professionals.


Microsoft buys LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

The latest major acquisition in the corporate world is Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. Paying $196 per share and an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, the world’s leading professional cloud and network will come together to offer businesses, entrepreneurs, workers and job seekers even greater opportunities. As Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is has been assured that the professional networking platform will retain its brand, culture and independence. With over 433 million members worldwide and 7 million active job listings, LinkedIn has become one of the world’s largest online platforms for connecting professionals and building an online portfolio. Microsoft plans to work together with the LinkedIn team to continue the company's accelerated growth, as they “seek to empower every person and organisation on the planet,” says Nadella.


Asda CEO Andy Clarke Steps Down

British supermarket retailer Asda, which is owned by Walmart, has said its CEO Andy Clarke is stepping down and will be replaced by Sean Clarke, head of Walmart’s Chinese division. The news is surprising given that Andy Clarke said in a recent interview he would be succeeded by Roger Burnley, who is joining Asda as COO and deputy CEO after having served as a director at Sainbury’s. In a highly competitive marketplace, Sean Clarke will be responsible for turning around Asda’s business and breaking the firm’s streak of seven straight quarters with declining sales. Apart from reducing costs, Asda is modernising nearly 100 stores in order to tackle competition from the major supermarket chains and discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.


Bank Of Korea Cuts Interest Rates To Record Low

South Korea’s central bank has cut its 7-day benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a new record low of 1.25%, causing the South Korean currency won to fall by 0.3% against the US dollar. The Bank of Korea’s move came unexpectedly, and because of the fragile state of the South Korean economy, analysts say there could be further cuts in the interest rate over the next couple of months. However, the Kospi stock index remained essentially flat after the announcement, closing 0.1% lower in Seoul trading on Thursday. So far this year, the Kospi has risen around 3.2%.


Ralph Lauren Cuts 1,000 Jobs

US fashion retailer Ralph Lauren has decided to cut 1,000 jobs, equivalent to 8% of its workforce, in a move expected to save between $180 million and $220 million per year. More than 50 stores are also expected to close, as the firm is struggling to match sales with stockpiles. The cost savings measures are the first major announcement under the company’s new CEO Stefan Larsson, who replaced founder Ralph Lauren in November 2015. The financial markets reacted modestly to the news, and Ralph Lauren shares fell 0.6% in New York trading on Wednesday. Compared to a year ago, the share price has fallen nearly 31%.


Valeant Lowers Earnings Forecast

Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant has reported a loss of $373 million for Q1 2016, compared to a profit of nearly $98 million for the same period last year. At the same time, Valeant lowered its full-year profit forecast from an EPS of $8.5-$9.5 to a new EPS range of $6.6-$7.0. The earnings announcement follows a turbulent year for the company, whose full-year financial results for 2014 and 2015 were restated due to improper revenue recognition following its acquisition of online pharmacy Philidor. In addition, the firm’s yearly 10-K filing for 2015 was delayed while the board was investigating the revenue recognition practices of the Philidor business unit. In April 2016, Valeant’s then-CEO Michael Pearson was replaced by Joseph Papa, after having been deposed by the US Senate Special Committee on Aging. The company’s shares have also taken a heavy hit, plunging 76% so far this year, and almost 90% compared to a year ago.