The Business: Friday May 16 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
One in five university graduates become millionaires, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics. Despite the financial crisis, the total number of millionaires in Britain has risen by 50% over the last four years. Almost one tenth of UK adults now own assets — property, pensions, savings and physical objects — worth £1m or more. The figures also show that Britain's richest 1% have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together.
Investors wiped £350m off the stock market value of the newly-created Dixons Carphone yesterday. Although the merger of Dixons and Carphone Warehouse was heralded as “a merger ahead of the curve”, the new company was given the cold shoulder by investors. Following the new firm’s unveiling, Carphone was down 8%, losing 24¾p to 303p, while Dixons fell 10%, or 5¼p, to 45¾p. It is believed that the bosses’ description of themselves as “the Ant and Dec of retail” turned investors off.
Rupert Murdoch has struck a preliminary deal to create one of the largest television production companies in history. The Financial Times reports that 21st Century Fox’s Shine Group has entered into a joint venture with two television production firms controlled by Apollo Global Management – Core Media, which makes American Idol, and Endemol, the company behind Big Brother. The combined entity is expected to be valued at over $2bn.
Billions of pounds of government funds earmarked to boost economic growth and jobs around the country are still unspent, say MPs. Of the £3.9bn to be allocated since 2010 only 10% had actually been disbursed, says the Commons Public Accounts Committee. It added that initial targets for jobs created or safeguarded were "wildly over-optimistic". The committee chair, Margaret Hodge MP, says the situation is “frustrating”.
“So-called ‘nil-premium’ mergers, like this one, inevitably flounder. Everyone seems to have a space in the executive car park.” Ian King, of Sky News, joins the chorus of cynicism over the Dixons Carphone merger.
Manchester United’s failure to secure European football will cost the club more than £30m, says executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Answering questions on third quarter figures, Woodward revealed that overall revenue for the period to 31 March was £115.5m, a rise of 26%. However, the club's wage bill has also risen by 18.9%. Commercial, broadcasting and match day revenues were all up on last year.
FTSE-100: down -0.55 to 6840.89
Dow Jones: down -1.01 to 16446.81
Dax: down -1.01 to 9656.05
Cac-40: down -1.25 to 4444.93
Nikkei: down -1.73 to 14051.22
Hang Seng: down -0.41 to 22638.41
US dollar: buys €0.72910 and £0.59570
Sterling: buys $1.67890 and €1.22420
Oil: $109.05 down -0.2