Business Diary: An awkward diary clash for Darroch
Thursday 14 July 2011
Spotted at the Marks & Spencer annual general meeting yesterday afternoon: one non-executive director in the retailer who was keeping a very close eye on his mobile phone and then leaving the bash well before the end. No doubt M&S shareholders will just this once forgive Jeremy Darroch – for it was he – for taking an early bath. After all, back in his day job, as chief executive of BSkyB, there were just one or two things that needed his attention reasonably urgently.
A final twist of the knife from Sky?
The way in which the news that News Corp was withdrawing its bid for Sky came out yesterday afternoon did not go unnoticed in the City. The decision obviously had very significant implications for shareholders in both companies and News Corp was therefore obliged to make a statement to the stock market on the matter. It did so, of course, but the regulatory news statement came out a full eight minutes after the story was broken on a television news channel. Which one, we hear you ask? Take a bow, Sky News.
Virgin Media in hot water too
Meanwhile, at a rival television and broadband company, someone in Virgin Media's marketing department is being just a little too aggressive – the company suffered its second rebuke in as many days yesterday from the Advertising Standards Authority. This time, the ASA upheld complaints from BT about Virgin adverts featuring Speedy Gonzalez to plug the broadband speeds on its fibre network – last month, it got told off for denigrating the competition with some similarly hard-hitting ad spots. Calm down, guys.
Rude awakening for EA after deal
It's a big deal in the gaming world. Electronic Arts, the video games specialist, is spending the best part of $1bn to buy PopCap, another games producer, which specialises in fun on mobile phones and tablet computers such as the iPad. Naturally, EA will have been looking forward to fulsome media coverage of the deal, particularly in the specialist press. But it presumably wouldn't have been expecting this headline, which is how The Register sold the story: "Console gaming giant goes into handjobs."
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