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M25 protests: Activists return to Hertfordshire, Surrey and Kent

BBC Beds Bucks Herts - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 16:56
Police arrest 71 people as activists disrupt motorway traffic in Hertfordshire, Surrey and Kent.

Reshuffle: Boris Johnson keeps one-time saboteur Michael Gove close

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 16:43

Seeing Michael Gove as a man who can get a tough job done, the Prime Minister has tasked his one-time saboteur with taking on responsibility for his flagship “levelling up” agenda.

Bascially, Boris Johnson wants to keep his allies close and Michael Gove even closer.

All that while tackling the housing crisis and pushing through planning reforms that are a highly contentious point among Tory backbenchers.

Having been in charge of multiple thorny issues surrounding Brexit at the Cabinet Office, he has now become Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Downing Street said he would also retain responsibility for the Union, another major role with Nicola Sturgeon fighting for Scottish independence.

All this would have seemed inconceivable five years ago when the Scotsman crushed Johnson’s bid to challenge Theresa May for Conservative Party leadership.

Having been an ally of the Vote Leave campaign ahead of the Brexit referendum, Gove sensationally quit as Johnson’s campaign leader in 2016 and positioned to stand against him.

The drastic move put himself on a collision course with Johnson and effectively forced him to pull out.

Born Graeme Logan, he spent his first few months in care before being adopted by Ernest and Christine Gove and raised in Aberdeen.

The Oxford university graduate took up a career in journalism with the BBC and The Times before becoming an MP in 2005.

Five years later he became education secretary, but during a combative and controversial period he was demoted to chief whip in 2014.

Demonstrating his resilience, he managed to re-brand himself in the role of justice secretary as being a liberal progressive, before becoming environment secretary in 2017.

Gove further proved his political staying power after the newly-crowned Johnson gave him the role of chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster tasked with preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

That came despite Gove’s admissions of regular cocaine use two decades earlier dominated hustings and media appearances and scuppered his own leadership bid in 2019.

After months of wrangling, Gove managed to negotiate with the European Union a mechanism to implement the Withdrawal Agreement.

But with many issues surrounding that deal remaining in relation to Northern Ireland, the long term wisdom of that remains unclear.

Having played a key role in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gove announced his split from his journalist wife Sarah Vine in July after nearly two decades of marriage.

Despite the years of turbulence, he remains a colleague who Johnson very much wants to keep close and has tasked him with being responsible for the success or failure of the Government’s post-Covid agenda.

The post Reshuffle: Boris Johnson keeps one-time saboteur Michael Gove close appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Martin Bashir: Police take no action over Diana interview

BBC London News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 16:42
Detectives find no evidence of criminal activity associated with the 1995 Panorama programme.

Brick Lane: Controversial development plans approved

BBC London News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 16:14
Plans for development of the Truman Brewery site had been criticised over gentrification concerns.

World's largest container ship Ever Ace leaves Felixstowe

BBC Essex - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 16:14
Thousands of containers were taken off the Ever Ace, which is 400m-long (1,300ft) at Felixstowe.
Categories: Essex

Fred West: Future victim searches need strong justification, say police

BBC Gloucestershire - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 16:02
Gloucestershire Police react to a new ITV documentary about possible sites of victims' remains.
Categories: Gloucestershire

How many cases in your area?

BBC Berkshire - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Berkshire

Covid-19 in the UK: How many coronavirus cases are there in my area?

BBC Northamptonshire - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Northamptonshire

Covid-19 in the UK: How many coronavirus cases are there in my area?

BBC Camberidgeshire Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Cambridgeshire

Covid-19 in the UK: How many coronavirus cases are there in my area?

BBC Essex - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Essex

Covid-19 in the UK: How many coronavirus cases are there in my area?

BBC Beds Bucks Herts - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.

How many cases are there in my area?

Lincolnshire BBC News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Lincolnshire

How many cases are there in my area?

BBC Humberside - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Humberside

How many cases in your area?

BBC Oxford - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Oxford

How many cases in your area?

Dorset BBC News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:57
Explore the data on coronavirus in the UK and find out how many cases there are in your area.
Categories: Dorset

Coronavirus: Cases in Kent, Sussex and Surrey

BBC Kent - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:56
Cases of coronavirus reported in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
Categories: Kent

Coronavirus: Cases in Kent, Sussex and Surrey

BBC Sussex News Feed - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:56
Cases of coronavirus reported in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
Categories: Sussex

Sunak says investors have nothing to fear over tougher tech M&A regulation

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:52

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said proposals from the UK’s competition watchdog for tougher scrutiny of M&A deals in the startup industry are reasonable and not intended to discourage early investors in UK tech companies.

“I don’t think people need to be that anxious about it,” he told reporters at a tech event in London.

“No one should come away from that thinking we’re somehow against this activity,” he said. “In fact we are passionately supporting tech investment.”

Sunak was pressed on the issue after a new survey by startup body the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) revealed that over half (55 per cent) of investors in UK startups said they would significantly reduce the amount they invest in the country’s early stage companies if the ability to exit was restricted.

A further 23 per cent of investors said they would stop investing in UK startups altogether if the proposed tougher takeover regulation was introduced.

It came after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommended that the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) – the new public body launched by the government in April and tasked with regulating the UK’s powerful digital sector – is given expanded powers to investigate M&A deals in the sector.

But the proposed reforms were simply “a case of having a broader sense of whether an acquisition is going to be more beneficial than harmful for the UK,” the chancellor said.

In 2019, an expert panel led by Obama’s former chief economist Jason Furman consulted the government on digital competition and published a report that claimed: “Over the last 10 years the 5 largest firms have made over 400 acquisitions globally. None has been blocked and very few have had conditions attached to approval, in the UK or elsewhere, or even been scrutinised by competition authorities.”

The CMA’s potential reforms are designed to prevent tech giants swooping in on smaller firms and stamping out competition in a way that may be harmful to the rest of the UK market, the chancellor insisted, saying: “Making sure we have competitive markets, it’s useful to look at the stats.”

Currently, the CMA intervenes in mergers or acquisitions “on balance of probabilities”, for example if there is a greater than 50 per cent likelihood that an acquisition will lead to a substantial lessening of competition (SLC).

But the DMU has proposed lowering this bar to a tougher new criteria of a “realistic prospect” of SLC.

Focusing on tech giants

This, Coadec argues, goes further than the proposals made by Furman’s Digital Competition Expert Panel to introduce a “balance of harms” approach that takes into account the scale of a merger and the startups involved, as well as the likelihood of harm.

By clamping down harder than this, the DMU “threatens the foundations of the tech ecosystem”, Coadec said in the new report, arguing that in fact it made it harder for the UK’s startups to compete with Tech Giants – the opposite to what Sunak implied.

Coadec’s survey also found that 70 per cent of investors felt the UK’s watchdog only thought about tech giants when designing competition rules.

If the watchdog goes ahead with its proposed tougher takeover rules, Coadec estimates that venture capital invested in UK companies could drop by £2.2bn and dent UK economic growth by as much as £770m.

The post Sunak says investors have nothing to fear over tougher tech M&A regulation appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London

Bridgepoint revenues and assets up by over 50 per cent in first half

City of London News Stream by Cityam - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:52

Private equity firm Bridgepoint’s assets under management swelled by 54 per cent year-on-year to €29bn in the first half of 2021, as the economy recovered from its pandemic lows and investor interest in its alternative asset classes surged.

Upon listing in July, the buyout group’s shares soared by up to 30 per cent, and have since consistently remained up by around a fifth from its initial IPO 350 pence per share price.

Bridgepoint’s shares were up 0.8 per cent on the news of its results on Wednesday morning, at 518 pence per share.

Assets under management jumped from €18.5bn in the first half of 2020 to €28.5bn in the period this year and fee-paying assets swelled by 41 per cent to €17.7bn.

Revenues surged by 55 per cent year-on-year to £122.2m, up from £78.7m a year earlier, fuelled by the group’s acquisition of EQT Credit Business and the launch of its fourth fund, the £1.56bn lower middle market BDC IV, which started earning fees in January.

In a separate announcement on Wednesday, Bridgepoint announced it has acquired supply chain risk and performance management company Achilles for an undisclosed sum, subject to closing conditions. It represents the firm’s third investment through its £1.5bn BDC IV fund.

In line with expectations, Bridgepoint said it had deployed €2.7bn in the first half of 2021, investing into six companies in the UK, US, Ireland and Switzerland. This was a marked recovery on the €600m deployed during the first half of 2020, during peak Covid disruption to the economy.

As European economies gradually recovered from their pandemic lows, the buyout group raised €2.1bn in the first half from “strong realisations” on its various exits during the period.

Bridgepoint made a confident forecast for a continued strong demand to invest in its funds looking ahead, and said its Bridgepoint Europe VII fund was now in the market with a target fund size of €7bn.

“In line with expectations, we delivered strong growth in revenues and profits in the first half of the year,” said Executive Chairman William Jackson.

“Looking forward, whilst we continue to expect market volatility as economic conditions recover from the initial shocks of the pandemic, we are confident in the growth prospects for our business and our ability to continue to source attractive opportunities for our Funds.”

Bridgepoint’s IPO marked a rare entrance to public markets for a private equity firm and placed it among the biggest listed on the London Stock exchange.

It now sits alongside London-listed 3i Group and Intermediate Capital Group, who both listed in London in 1994 – before Bridgepoint was formed in 2000 following a management buyout from Natwest Equity Partners.

Since 1994, the largest private equity firms have stayed privately owned.

It came amid a flurry of private equity dealmaking as buyout groups, flush with cash, move in on companies that have been left reeling from the pandemic.

Looking at the wider multibillion pound trend emerging from the pandemic for private equity, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday said that foreign investment firms’ recent surge of interest in British listed companies is a “sign of confidence” in the UK economy.

“If international investors, whoever they are, are keen to invest their capital in the UK, that is something that is good news for our economy,” he said.

The post Bridgepoint revenues and assets up by over 50 per cent in first half appeared first on CityAM.

Categories: City of London