Business Briefing

Twitter ‘held talks’ for $4bn takeover of Clubhouse

Volvo goes from boring to Scandi-chic, workers rethink career goals, and other breaking business news

1

Technology

Clubhouse-Twitter discussions: ‘unclear why they stalled’

Clubhouse has made lots of noise in the digital world since its launch a year ago - so much so that Twitter reportedly held recent talks over a possible takeover. 

According to sources familiar with the discussions, the “buzzy audio-based social network” was subject to a potential takeover valued at roughly $4bn (£2.9bn), Bloomberg reports. However, despite the interest “discussions are no longer ongoing, and it’s unclear why they stalled”. 

Exclusive invitation-only app Clubhouse is a “hybrid of conference calls, talkback radio and Houseparty”, says The Guardian. And since launching in April last year it has “drawn appearances from some of the biggest names in business and Hollywood”, Bloomberg added. Many established social media companies - including Twitter and Facebook - are now working on their own versions of Clubhouse.

2

Jobs 

Workers rethink career and skill goals due to pandemic 

New research has revealed that three out of five people in the UK are planning to make changes to their working lives because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a study of 4,000 adults, insurance company Aviva found that 60% plan to “learn new skills, gain qualifications or change their career altogether”, ITV reports. One in ten said they want to work from home - and the desire for home working was strongest in London (one in six) and lowest in Scotland (one in 20), the poll found.  

3

Property

London skyscraper set to be UK’s most expensive office

A skyscraper in the City of London is expected to become the UK’s most expensive office building when it goes up for sale later this year. The building, 100 Bishopsgate, will have a predicted price tag of £1.8bn and this will “easily surpass” the £1.3bn paid for the “Walkie Talkie” in 2017, The Telegraph reports. 

Current owners Brookfield, a Canadian asset management firm, is “discreetly sounding out deep-pocketed buyers to strike a deal” for the 37-storey Square Mile building. One source told the Telegraph that the size of the sale meant the interest would be “overseas exclusively, far Eastern most likely”.

4

Retail 

Asos half-year profits rise by 275%

Online fashion retailer Asos has reported a shopping sales surge in the six months to 28 February. Benefiting from coronavirus restrictions that have “hammered high street rivals”, the company added 1.5m new customers and saw a “275% leap in half-year profits”, Sky News says. Sales rose 24% while profits jumped to £106.4m, up from £30.1m a year earlier.

Chief executive Nick Beighton said the pandemic forced the firm to “rip up the playbook”, the BBC reports. The company’s core market of 20-somethings normally bought clothes for going out, but a swift “pivot” to casual clothing has “paid off”, with surging sales, profits and customer numbers.

5

Automotive 

Volvo: from boring to Scandi-chic 

Swedish carmaker Volvo has reported its best-ever quarterly sales. In the three months to 31 March, the company sold 185,698 cars worldwide - a 40% increase on the previous year. And in the UK it reported a 3.28% market share, its highest for 30 years. 

Once regarded as “fusty” and “boring”, Volvo is now seen as “Scandi-chic” and “appears to have shaken off its old image and caught up with the times”, says The Telegraph

Jim Holder, editorial director at What Car?, said “if you turn up on the school run in a giant Audi or BMW, you’re seen as a show-off, but if you arrive in a Volvo then that’s respected”.

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