Business week in review
Sunday 25 March 2012
He dresses the same, he looks the same, even his hand gestures are the same – but Tim Cook signalled on Monday that he isn't going to run Apple anything like Steve Jobs did.
The 51-year-old Alabaman native finally differentiated himself from his celebrated predecessor by doing something Jobs couldn't even bring himself to comprehend: pay shareholders a dividend. Jobs preferred to reinvest the cash in iPads, iPods and iWhateverNexts, but Cook gave his shareholders $2.65 a share. Apple's first dividend payment in 17 years will cost the company $10bn.
Was that a mischievous little smile, Justin King? The Sainsbury boss announced on Tuesday that the supermarket had seen like-for-like sales increase by a better-than-expected 2.6 per cent in the 10 weeks to 17 March. Tesco has slipped of late, and King suggested customers were swapping to Sainsbury: "If any of our competitors are doing less well, that helps us grow faster."
The Budget has been rather wonderfully described as "granny bashing" in some quarters, but it did bring some cheer for GlaxoSmithKline boss, Sir Andrew Witty. On Thursday, GSK confirmed that new research & development regulations mean it can afford to invest £500m in a manufacturing facility in Ulverston, Cumbria.
... at a loss
No one seems to get John Carter. The uninspiringly entitled flick about a Civil War veteran who, obviously, is transported to Mars, is set to become one of the most disastrous flops in film history.
Disney said on Tuesday that it expected to make a $200m loss on the film that stars Taylor Kitsch (who he?) and Lynn Collins (who she??). Disney boss Robert Iger was not impressed – but then neither were the handful of moviegoers who saw John Carter (honestly, how can a film that sounds like it's about an accountant cost $250m to make?).
While Sir Andrew, see above, was having a right good week splashing the cash at GSK, AstraZeneca David Brennan was down in the dumps and he couldn't even cheer himself up with a taste of his own medicine.
Britain's second-biggest pharmaceuticals firm announced on Tuesday that an experimental antidepressant, the catchily-named TC-5214, had failed clinical trials and would be dumped. Brennan will make a $50m writedown on what was once, like John Carter, hailed as a potential blockbuster.
Randgold boss Mark Bristow saw shares tank on Thursday, amid reports of a coup in Mali, where the gold miner has a large presence.
- 1 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 2 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 3 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 4 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
- 5 Watch eerie drone footage of destroyed building in Stalingrad
#JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
UK election candidates: 'Nasty party' Ukip faces fresh questions on eve of vote
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party's the right choice for you
Ohio 'Shawshank Redemption' fugitive Frank Freshwater arrested after 56 years on the run
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General Election 2015: Sturgeon claims Scots 'appalled' by Ed Miliband's refusal to work with SNP
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