Tuesday, 31 July 2007

BSkyB buys Amstrad

BSkyB is Amstrad's main customer with supplies of the Sky set-top box. Broadcaster BSkyB has struck a deal to buy television set-top box maker Amstrad for about £125m. Amstrad, which was founded by the star of BBC One's The Apprentice, Sir Alan Sugar (pictured on the right with James Murdoch of BSkyB), supplies about 30% of the set-top box devices for Sky. Orders from the broadcaster made up about 75% of Amstrad's sales in the year to the end of June.

Sky said that the deal meant they could now save money, design their products in-house and be more innovative. I cannot imagine a better home for the Amstrad business and its talented people. Sir Alan Sugar Shares in Amstrad's rival set-top box maker Pace Micro Technology fell about 11% on the news. Sir Alan, who is Amstrad's chairman and chief executive and owns 28% of the firm, will stay with the business.

Monday, 30 July 2007

ABN Withdraws Bid

ABN Amro (Dutch Bank) has withdrawn its formal support for Barclays' £45.4 billion takeover bid. ABN Amro said it will not recommend to investors either Barclays' bid, or rival £47 billion offer from a group led by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The month of Mr Bannatyne

This is to remind everyone of the month of August and our first business person that I am going to focus on. The first businessman will be Mr Duncan Bannatyne, Chairman of the Bannatyne Group that specialise in Health Clubs, Housing, Casino's, Hotels and Bars. It is amazing how he started his business in order to create an estimate wealth of £200 million. Keep checking my blog in order to learn more of Mr Bannatyne. May I also take this opportunity for everyone to have a chat on the Comment from Christo on: How to generate extra income. Start chatting and let us hear everyone's view on how to generate extra income (Facebook vs. ConnectU delayed).

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Facebook vs. ConnectU Delayed

The case in the ConnectU vs. Facebook trial has been delayed by a federal judge in Boston on Wednesday, 26th July 2007. U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock gave ConnectU until August 8th to refine its accusations against Mark Zuckerberg, which include fraud, copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets.

ConnectU, which first sued in 2004, could seek an injunction against Facebook, which has 39 million members.Facebook’s spokesman Matt Hicks said in a statement. “We are very pleased with the outcome. We continue to disagree with the allegations that Mark Zuckerberg stole any ideas or code to build Facebook.”Facebook has requested that the suit be dismissed. In court filings, its attorneys say ConnectU has no evidence for “broad-brush allegations” against Zuckerberg. A ConnectU lawyer said it is not seeking a settlement. According to court papers filed by ConnectU, Zuckerberg agreed to finish computer code for Harvard Connection founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who are brothers, and Divya Narendra, but dragged his feet before launching his own company,, in early 2004. was a social site for Harvard students. It quickly spread to other U.S. college campuses, attracting hundreds of thousands of members, by the time the lawsuit was first filed in September 2004. A separate suit filed in California in 2005 by Facebook alleges ConnectU hired programmers to hack into Facebook’s site and steal thousands of e-mail addresses.Facebook is drawing intense speculation over whether it may be a takeover target or girding for an initial public stock offering.

Last year, Facebook turned down a $1 billion buyout offer from Yahoo. Facebook has appointed former You Tube CFO as its new CFO on Tuesday, which is an indication that is considering a public stock offering.

Facebook Battle


The social network Facebook with 39 million users could face big trouble soon after a lawsuit has been filed by the creators of ConnectU. ConnectU claims that Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) worked briefly for ConnectU, but decided to start his own company soon after. The company Zuckerberg founded, Facebook, stands accused of stealing source code, design and even the business plan of ConnectU. Zuckerberg supposedly delayed the launch of ConnectU on purpose for a couple of months to launch the highly successful Facebook first.Zuckerberg, armed with big pockets and tons of lawyers, hopes to quash the lawsuit once and for all on July 25th. However, if unsuccessful, this could be the beginning of a lengthy and all-important legal battle for the social networking butterfly.

Amazon Profits

Harry Potter sales helped online retailer Amazon to increase its profits by more than 250%. The company posted profits of £38 million in the three months to June. This is more than treble for the same period last year. Overall sales grew 35% to £1.4 billion.

Silverjet Launch

Silverjet, the business-only long-haul airline, has grounded the launch of its second New York service after one of its aircraft needed more maintenance work. The firm has delayed the launch once before, and its second service will now not start until at least September 20.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

The Art of Negotiation: By Donald J Trump

Thought since I have included some takeover talks and share talks that it is important to include the art of negotiation when it comes down to takeovers as shared by the master himself, Mr Donald J Trump.

Power is the ability to convince people to accept your ideas. Negotiation is a form of convincing. Power is ability. Ability is the result of practice and application. Think about these things carefully and let them sink in. After you have, remember this one: If you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow. Sound tough? That’s right--that’s how negotiating to win can be. But as an art, there are nuances and finely honed techniques and rules to be aware of. Here are a few of them:

1. Know what you’re doing. Sounds simple, but I’ve seen a lot of instances where I couldn’t believe how much the other side didn’t know. I immediately knew I could have a grand slam and fast, just based on their apparent lack of preparation. My father used to tell me, “Know everything you can about what you’re doing.” He was absolutely right, and I’m giving you the same advice. Follow it.

2. He who has the gold, makes the rules. Another tough one, but that’s life. You’ve got to know who has the upper hand and proceed accordingly. Power is not just about calling all the shots, it’s about ability. Sometimes ability is having the discernment to see into a situation and realizing the power isn’t all yours. Know where the other side is coming from--do your homework thoroughly and carefully.

3. It takes a lot of smarts to play dumb. This is a good way to see how much your negotiating partners don’t know. It’s also a good way to see if they are bulldozing you.

4. Never let anyone know exactly where you’re coming from. Keep them a bit off balance. What they don’t know won’t hurt you, and that may help you down the line. Knowledge is power, so keep as much of it to yourself as possible.

5. Trust your instincts. There are a lot of situations that will not be black and white in negotiating, so go with your gut. Combine this with your homework and you’ll be ahead of the game.

6. Don’t be confined by expectations. There are no exact rules, and sometimes I’ve changed course in the middle of negotiations when something new has occurred to me. Remain flexible and open to new ideas, even when you think you know exactly what you want. This attitude has provided me with opportunities that I would not have thought about before.

7. Know your limitations, and know when to say no. This has become instinct for me by now, but I think we all know when that buzzer goes off inside. Pay attention to that signal.

8. Be patient. I’ve waited for some deals for decades, and it was worth the wait. But make sure what you’re waiting for is worth it to begin with. To speed up negotiations, be indifferent. That way you’ll find out if the other side is eager to proceed.

Woolworths Takeover

Woolworths’ expected takeover of book wholesaler Bertram for £29 million was provisionally given the all-clear yesterday by the competition watchdog. There had been fears that the deal between the two could leave just two main suppliers – the newly merged Woolworths business and rival Gardner, each with a market share of more than 40 per cent. The commission will however make its final decision by September 17.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

One Up & Three Down

Amex Profits

American Express has seen its quarterly profits climb following strong rise in credit card use. This has been helped along especially by international cardholders. The US based credit card company saw profits for the three months to June reach $1 billion (£513 million), from $945 million (£460 million) in the same period last year.

BP profits down

Falling production and refinery problems have dented BP’s second quarter earnings, which dipped slightly. Replacement cost profit for the April to June period was down 1% on last year to $6.09 billion (£3 billion).

Sport Chain feel Strain

Mike Ashley’s Sports World empire has delivered more bad news for shareholders as the retailer warned of limited earnings growth for the year ahead. The group posted underlying earnings of £191 million for the year to the end of April, but said there would be little improvement on this for its 2008 results. The company has seen shares fall to less than 200p from the 300p opening price on flotation in February. The performance has come as a blow to Ashley, who bought Newcastle United FC earlier this month.

Bloomsbury Profits Down

Not even Harry Potter could work his magic on the Bloomsbury share price that fell 7p to 180p, despite the book publisher selling 2.65 million (UK) & 8 million (US) copies of the final instalment of author J K Rowling’s series about the boy wizard.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Barclays Bid

The ABN Amro bid from Barclays has been lifted today by the latter mentioned with backing from two Far Eastern investors and announced that first-half earnings rose by 14%. China Development Bank (CDB) and Temasek, respectively owned by the Chinese and Singaporean governments, are buying £2.5 billion worth of new Barclays shares and could purchase another £6.6 billion of its bid for ABN succeeds. The deal has enable Barclays to lift its offer for ABN to £46 billion. CDB, which was founded in March 1994 and is under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Government, has assets of £150 billion and has funded national projects, but earlier this year signalled that it wanted a broader investment approach. Temasek has an investment portfolio worth £38.9 billion in sectors including transport, real estate and energy.

Potter Mania

Author J K Rowling beat her record for the sixth instalment of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in 2005 with the seventh and final instalment named Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. ASDA (part of Wal-mart) sold the hardback at a loss, charging only £5 for the last instalment, a friction of the recommended retail price of £17.99. The discount paid off, as 97% of its 500,000 copies were sold within 36 hours of publication on Friday, 20th July 2007. Publisher Bloomsbury said British sales could reach 3million in the first day – up from 2million with Half Blood Prince. Waterstone’s bookstores sold 100,00 books in two hours, with WHSmith selling 15 books a second on Friday night. Online retailer had 2.2million pre-orders – up 47% on the sixth instalment.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Foot Locker

Founder and deputy chairman of Sports Direct International is thinking of a £2.25 billion takeover bid for US sports shoes chain Foot Locker. Foot Locker, headquatered in New York, has more than 4000 stores worldwide, with 500 in Europe. Mike Ashley (founder and deputy chairman of Sports Direct International) has appointed Lehman Brothers to advise on a possible sale of the company. This sale will transform Ashley into a global player.

Thursday, 19 July 2007


Revenues from online auctions has sent eBay's profits soaring, it was revealed on the 19th July 2007. The US internet auction firm said profits from April to June were up 50% to £183.1 million from £121.8 million in the same period last year.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Businessman

I have decided on posting business articles on a regular basis (that I consider interesting) and will also focus on a reputable businessman/businesswoman once a month and give a more in depth coverage on that businessman/businesswoman. Who he/she is, where he/she comes from, how he/she has made his/her fortune etc. If there is a business personality that you would recommend I post some articles on please let me know. I thought it good to concentrate for the month of August then on Mr Duncan Bannatyne, chairman of The Bannatyne Group of companies.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Virgin Atlantic going public

What an interesting day! As a very keen businessman I saw in the news paper that Sir Richard Branson might take Virgin Atlantic public. Singapore Airlines that bought a 49% share in Virgin Atlantic 2years ago paid £600m. They now want to sell their 49% shares and Sir Richard wants to buy that and take the company public on the 49% shares. Would be a good investment for someone who would like to get their hands on some of the very reputable Virgin Group.

Keep looking at my blog as I will post interesting and exiting business articles on a very regular basis.