Here is our daily roundup of business news from around the web 16/04/2018.
Shares in Whitbread soared by 6.6% after it emerged that an activist investor has built a stake to become the largest shareholder in the company. Elliott Advisors confirmed at the weekend that it now holds a stake of more than 6% in Whitbread. According to reports, Elliott Advisors wants […]
LONDON (Reuters) – Shire (SHP.L), the London-listed rare diseases specialist that is a potential takeover target for Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical (4502.T), is selling its oncology business to unlisted French drugmaker Servier for $2.4 billion.
Shire said on Monday it would consider returning proceeds from the sale to shareholders through a buyback and that further selective disposals of non-strategic assets were possible.
The divestment of the cancer business may be a deterrent for Takeda, since oncology was one disease area that Japan’s biggest pharmaceuticals company had highlighted as benefiting from an acquisition.
Under UK takeover rules, Takeda has until April 25 to announce whether or not it will bid for Shire, which has a market value of around $47 billion.
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has used Twitter to tell its 44,000 followers that it is quitting social media. The firm’s head office and 900 pubs will quit the micro-blogging site, alongside Instagram and Facebook with immediate effect, it said. The pub chain linked the move to bad publicity surrounding social media including the “trolling” of MPs.
“I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever,” chairman Tim Martin said.
The firm said decision had also been influenced by the concerns regarding the “misuse of personal data” and “the addictive nature of social media”.
“We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business,” said Mr Martin.
The chairman reassured its followers that it would “still be as vocal as ever”, but would instead use its magazine and website as well as the press for news updates.
(Reuters) – A lawsuit is alleging that Xerox Corp (XRX.N) Chief Executive Officer Jeff Jacobson pursued a deal with Fujifilm Holdings Corp (4901.T), even after Xerox’s board advised him to halt negotiations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
FILE PHOTO – Xerox chief executive officer, Jeff Jacobson, takes part in an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 4, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Fujifilm and Xerox struck a $6.1 billion deal in January to combine the U.S. company into their existing joint venture, Fuji Xerox, to gain scale and cut costs as demand for office printing equipment declines. The board advised Jacobson in November to halt negotiations because it was considering firing him, the newspaper reported, citing an amended suit filed in a New York state court on Sunday by Darwin Deason, a Xerox holder who opposes the deal, saying it undervalues the copier and printer company. The company denied the assertion in a statement on Sunday.
WPP embarks on new journey without Sorrell at the helm
LONDON (Reuters) – WPP (WPP.L), the world’s biggest advertising company, will head into uncharted territory on Monday when it starts life without its founder Martin Sorrell, whose departure has left it rudderless at a time of swirling industry change.
FILE PHOTO: Sir Martin Sorrell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of advertising company WPP, attends a conference at the Cannes Lions Festival in Cannes, France, June 23, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo
The driving force behind 33 years of dealmaking and relentless expansion, Sorrell stepped down on Saturday after the board investigated an allegation of misconduct, saying that the disruption was putting too much strain on the company. While WPP hunts for a new CEO, it has handed the helm to two executives, digital boss Mark Read and Andrew Scott, the chief operating officer of WPP Europe who oversaw acquisitions, making them joint chief operating officers. The sudden departure of Sorrell, the face of the company since he founded it in 1985, has sparked questions as to whether the holding group can remain in its current form of employing 200,000 people in more than 400 companies across 112 countries.
When James Park bought a Nintendo Wii back in 2006, little did he know that the purchase would plant the seed for the birth of his own global technology brand. Trying out the games console for the first time at his home in San Francisco, the then 29-year-old was greatly impressed by the motion-sensor technology that allowed users to control their on-screen avatar with body movements.
“Wii made exercising a fun and positive activity that the whole family could do together, that was very striking for me,” says Mr Park, now 41.
“I thought, how can I capture this magic and make it portable?”
His idea was to create a wearable fitness tracker, and in April 2007 he and friend Eric Friedman founded a company called Fitbit. Today the San Francisco-based business sells more than 15 million devices a year – wristbands and watches that record a user’s heart rate, the number of steps they have walked, and other exercise statistics. Yet the firm has faced tough times lately. Demand for fitness trackers has cooled, at the same time as Fitbit has faced increased competition from the likes of the mobile phone giants Apple and Samsung, which have brought out their own smart watches.
As a result, last year Fitbit saw its annual sales fall by almost a third to $1.6bn (£1.1bn), while losses more than doubled to $277m. Mr Park, who has the chief executive title, is confident that he can turn things around, as the company expands into the healthcare sector.
‘Smell like you mean business’