Business week in review
Sunday 18 November 2012
Ofcom's head honcho Ed Richards is having quite a time of it. Not only is he the front-runner for the poisoned chalice that is the BBC director general role, but on Monday he launched the £5bn 4G spectrum sale.
Boffins tell us this is the UK's biggest ever sale of airwaves, yet the sale won't come close to the £22.5bn then-chancellor Gordon Brown raised selling the 3G spectrum in 2000. The network will make it easier to surf the web on mobile phones and tablets.
Royal Mail boss Moya Greene may have annoyed letter-writers with a near 40 per cent rise in stamp prices, but she's delivered cheer to the Government. On Tuesday, she announced that interim pre-tax profit had jumped 12 per cent to £115m, paving the way for privatisation next year. However, workers won't be pleased to hear the modernisation programme "involves painful, difficult change", as it seems to suggest yet more redundancies on top of the 42,000 jobs axed since 2002.
On Wednesday, Norton Rose boss Peter Martyr announced a merger with US legal eagles Fulbright and Jaworski.
...at a loss
Ouch! Alan Jackson bore the brunt of investor anger at housebuilder Redrow on Monday. The senior independent director suffered a 24 per cent vote against his reappointment, as shareholders at the annual meeting vented their wrath at the failed attempt to take the company private.
Redrow's founder Steve Morgan launched a £562m bid in August but withdrew the offer two months later after protests led by shareholder Fidelity. The mid-table mediocrity of Morgan's other baby, Wolves football club, seems enviable by comparison.
Double ouch!! Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao, above, wrote-off £5.9bn on the value of its Spanish and Italian businesses, tipping the mobile phone giant into a half-year loss of £492m – the latest in jaw-dropping write-offs, which total just shy of £60bn since 2006.
SSE chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin was forced to defend the energy giant's first-half £397.5m pre-tax profit on Wednesday, angering families who have seen annual bills rise by about £100.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
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