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In the loop: Bomb threat sees Facebook campus evacuated, frustrated Mike Ashley demands Debenhams accepts his help and Google bolsters London proptech startup

Written by Angus Shaw on Friday, 14 December 2018. Posted in Insight, Analysis

It’s cold out, so stay in and read why Sport Direct’s CEO desperately wants to save Debenhams, a bomb unit swept Facebook’s campus and how 88% of working mums struggle post-maternity leave

In the loop: Bomb threat sees Facebook campus evacuated, frustrated Mike Ashley demands Debenhams accepts his help and Google bolsters London proptech startup

Facebook’s California campus sweeped after bomb threat reported to New York police

Just this April, a shooting at Google’s YouTube HQ saw three employees wounded and the gunwomen comitting suicide. And on Tuesday December 11, fellow Silicon Valley giant Facebook faced a similar sobering scenario when a bomb threat was called in against its campus.

Despite the Facebook headquarters being located in California, an unknown person told The New York Police Department one of its facilities housed a bomb, U.S News reported. Local police were informed at 4:32pm and deployed a bomb unit equipped with explosive-sniffing dogs. But after sweeping and evacuating the facility, surrounding buildings and diverting traffic in the area, authorities later deemed the campus secure.

It was thankfully a false alarm for Facebook. Still, it’s yet another case of a Bay Area campus attracting unwanted attention.

Google to fund London-based AI proptech startup

London’s reputation as Europe’s tech capital hangs in the balance amidst shaky Brexit negotiations. Luckily, the city still has startups that can attract huge investments.

For instance, Google has pledged to fund AskPorter, the AI-fuelled middleman between landlords and tenants, reports the Evening Standard. It’s also dedicated support from its tech and business development teams to aid the proptech startup’s growth.

Google more than dabbles in AI technology with its Google Home and Pixel 3 phone series among other products, so AskPorter could be in store for a serious boon. And given the search engine has already provided AskPorter “significant” help expanding, the startup’s now planned to increase its eight-person team. This news comes after AskPorter,was funded by Dragons’ Den’s James Caan in January 2018.

Clearly, the Big Smoke’s entrepreneurs still got it.

“[Debenhams] has zero chance of survival,” claims Mike Ashley 

Like many high street retailers, Debenhams has forced to shut stores and axe management gigs following declining profits. But in a strongly worded letter from Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley to Debenhams CEO Sergio Bucher, he claims that wouldn't be the case if they hadn’t ignored his offer of investing £40m into the retailer.

Published by the Daily Telegraph, Ashley wrote “the market is saying” Debenhams has “no credit insurance” or “advisers” and that banks are telling suppliers not to trade with them.

To avoid the same fate as Blacks and House of Fraser, which also apparently refused help, Ashley offered Debenhams a £40m loan and now “immediate funding to help Debenhams secure its future”. However, he wrote Debenhams “has never engaged with and supported any offer of support”.

Given Sports Direct owns close to 30% of Debenhams stock, Ashley's insistence to help the struggling retailer isn’t surprising. 

Most mums experience imbalance between work and childcare after maternity leave

After new mums take 12.5 months of maternity leave on average, getting back to work can feel daunting. Indeed, it turns out 88% face issues upon their return to the workplace.

Questioning 1,000 British mums with under 16-year-olds, DPG, the HR training provider, revealed 54% can’t strike a balance between work and childcare, 52% experience guilt leaving their kids, 33% can’t financially maintain childcare and 12% even endure mental health issues.

Obviously, employers are well-poised to make lives easier. Specifically, 46% of respondents believe more flexible working offers would alleviate issues, 30% desire longer paid maternity leave, 26% seek remote working and 21% would like a crèche at their place of work.

Given the struggles mean only 32% of mums go back to work post-maternity leave, it’s in their bosses’ interest to make them as comfortable as possible.

Don’t let a tech obsession turn you into a cyborg 

While tech skills are important to master in the modern era they can easily replace social ability. And that’s a surefire way to see your team fall apart, writes Emma-Sue Prince.

You can run but you can’t hide from Claude in The Apprentice interviews

The Apprentice’s notorious interview episode exposed nearly every candidate was lying this week. That being said, it certainly isn’t your average interview, so can you really blame them? Alana Spencer gives the answer.

When Christmas adverts go horribly wrong

From John Lewis to Sainsbury’s, Christmas breeds big budget ads with more production pizzazz than some Hollywood films. Despite this, sometimes companies like Coca-Cola and Morrisons hit so far off the mark that Christmas is the last thing on viewers’ minds.

Avoid upsetting everyone in the modern marketing minefield

No matter how good a company’s intentions when marketing their brand, it seems impossible to avoid upsetting at least someone in today’s hyper-sensitive culture. But by heeding the words of Leon Emirali, who’s advised the likes of Sky and Mercedes-Benz, you won’t go wrong.

Stop workers throwing in the towel around in the New Year

Whether it’s just the champagne talking or the buzz of the countdown, staff feel more energised than ever to quit their job around the New Year. So employers should integrate these tactics now to avoid an employee exodus.

Blockchain is a saviour from Brexit turmoil

If you can get your head around blockchain technology, it unlocks some serious benefits for cross-border trade. And with the UK’s departure from the EU fast approaching, goodness knows British businesses need it

 

About the Author

Angus Shaw

Angus Shaw

With a keen eye for politics as editorial assistant, Angus can often be found scanning the horizon to write about the next big waves crashing against business shores. That makes up the time when he's not setting sail at Radio Caroline, the former pirate station, on weekends. Follow him on Twitter @Angus_Shaw for his latest cognition

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