|Apple Inc 'working on smaller, cheaper iPad' to compete with Google Inc's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire|
|Monday, 16 July 2012 08:16|
News round up: Apple, Google, Royal Bank of Scotland, National Grid, BSkyB, Gatwick, Barclays, High street bank branches, Nokia.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Two powerful private equity consortiums are secretly planning to bid for Direct Line, the giant insurer owned by Royal Bank of Scotland — a move that would scupper a planned float. RBS is expected to push the button on a London listing of Direct Line in September. Two American buyout giants, Blackstone and Bain Capital, are assembling a pre-emptive bid that would derail the flotation.
National Grid is proposing spending more than £21bn on its electricity transmission network in the eight years from 2013 to connect new power plants across England and Wales. It will also spend £9bn on gas pipelines. With the announcement imminent, analysts have warned that Ofgem, the energy regulator, is not likely to allow National Grid to charge consumers as much as it would like under "price control" regulation which governs the level of expenditure and rate of return.
BSkyB, the FTSE 100 satellite television broadcaster, has axed Bank of America Merrill Lynch as its key adviser in the latest blow to the bank's broking division. Merrill has the second biggest franchise of FTSE 100 clients in broking but has suffered a string of high-profile staff departures.
London’s second airport could double in size to handle 70 million passengers a year and allow the Government to maintain its commitment to prevent a third runway at Heathrow. Gatwick is to publish a long-awaited masterplan this week for expansion over the next decade and a half. It is likely to state that the Sussex airport’s existing two terminals and one runway are capable of handling 12 million more passengers a year this decade, writes the Times.
Marcus Agius and Sir Mike Rake will this week meet investors in a bid to contain the fall-out from the Libor scandal as Barclays faces further embarrassment from Jerry Del Missier’s evidence to MPs. Barclays’ chairman and deputy chairman will travel to shareholders and investors groups to explain their strategy for stemming the crisis that has ripped through the bank and its boardroom.
High street bank branches
Access to bank branches on the high street is set to halve despite government demands for bank reform and more choice for consumers. The Government has said it is committed to the creation of "challenger" banks – to compete with the "big five" of Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Santander – but, despite this, shocking research from global property expert Jones Lang LaSalle released today shows that up to 50 per cent of bank branches will close in the next eight years, reports the Independent.
Nokia has slashed the price of its flagship Lumia 900 smartphone in the US in an aggressive effort to make inroads into a market dominated by Apple and Samsung. The Finnish handset maker is cutting the price of the Windows phone from $99 to $49 on a two-year contract through AT&T. The decision comes just three months after the phone was launched amid great fanfare and subsequent disappointment due to a software bug and mixed consumer reviews, writes the Financial Times.
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