In the loop: Sainsbury’s swallows Asda, Facebook goes dating and Richard Branson parts with cash

With a bank holiday weekend in touching distance, we’ve got the freshest stories from the world of business, including everything from the restaurant owner who saw red and how open banking is transforming the fintech world

In the loop: Sainsbury’s swallows Asda

Sainsbury’s acquires Asda to create super-supermarket

In a move that can only be described as a supermarket sweep, Sainsbury’s, the second-largest supermarket in the UK, has acquired Asda, its rival which holds the title of third-biggest market share, for £7.3bn.

The amalgamation of the two foes is likely to leave executives at Tesco, the biggest supermarket chain in the UK, in a cold sweat. Indeed, while Tesco owns a 27.8% market share, Sainsbury’s and Asda will command a 31.1% share with 15.8% and 15.3% respectively.

Set to create what has been dubbed “a dynamic new player in UK retail”, Ainsbury’s – or should that be Sasda? – promises a great deal across the board for shoppers, staff, suppliers and shareholders. “As one of the largest employers in the country, the combined business will become an even greater contributor to the British economy,” declared David Tyler, chairman of Sainsbury’s.

We’ll expect Tesco to takeover Morrisons any day now – Torrisons has got quite the ring to it.

Facebook is looking for love

The bad press surrounding the Cambridge Analytica debacle resulted in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sitting on the receiving end of a flame-grilling conducted by US senators about the social network’s intentions and position in the market. Meanwhile, many users – including the founder of Facebook-acquired WhatsApp – swore off the platform and threatened to delete their accounts.

So with the annual Facebook F8 Developer Conference taking place between May 1 and 2, all eyes were on the event to see what revelations would come out of it. Well, perhaps in a bid to mend the heartbroken users of Facebook that felt cheated by their data being used unknowingly, the company has revealed a new dating service. Those who opt into dating with their existing profile will have their romantic search hidden from friends but available to those not yet in their network. 

In keeping with its ethos of connecting the world, Facebook’s dating service will focus on “meaningful relationships” as opposed to the booty calls its soon-to-be rival Tinder is known for.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson eyes investment opportunities

Richard Branson is the archetypal example of a British entrepreneur, with all manner of ideas launched under the Virgin brand, including airlines, space travel, music, cola and more. And the billionaire businessman has now tied up with Metric Capital, the investment firm, to launch a private equity fund across consumer sectors.

With a plan to donate 10% of profits to charities, Branson aims to raise £440m for the fund and achieve investment returns of 20%. Given his own method of fingers in lots of different pies, the pot will back companies in leisure, food and drink and luxury.

Commenting on the launch, Branson said: “I have been impressed by the development and growth of Metric Capital. Their experience in the rapidly changing consumer and digital markets is particularly attractive.”

We can imagine a lot of entrepreneurs out there rubbing their hands together upon hearing this news.

Female-led startups on Silicon Valley trade mission

With female-led startups receiving continued support in the UK, and rightly so, a new trade mission helmed by women in business is underway.

In the second week of May, 15 female entrepreneurs will head to the Bay Area as part of the mayor’s international business programme in alignment with Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK). During their time in San Francisco, they’ll speak with US counterparts and meet with VC firms in Silicon Valley.

Commenting on the trip, Janet Coyle, director of Trade & Growth at London & Partners, said: “The women founders on this trade mission represent some of the UK’s most ambitious entrepreneurs and demonstrate the diversity of London’s tech ecosystem. 2018 is an important year for London as we celebrate the centenary of the first women’s right to vote and we share the values of openness and innovation with Silicon Valley.”

There’s every chance that those hitting the west coast could come back with their pockets full – £1.08bn from Silicon Valley investors was injected into UK startups in 2017.

Restaurant boss purposely leaks customer’s details on Twitter 

Discontent with a customer failing to inform him she was unable to make her dinner reservation, one restaurant owner turned to Twitter to name and shame the absentee diner – which has had consequences for the businessman.

UK a key player in rundown of largest European gender pay gaps

With gender pay gap reporting enforced by law in the UK in April, a study has broken down the results of pay gaps across the continent and Britain’s position is disappointingly high, which makes it clear there is work to be done.

Trend of presenteeism is growing at an alarming rate

It goes without saying but a solid remedy for illness is rest and recovery. But apparently UK workers are severely lacking in R&R, as CIPD research shows that staff are increasingly engaged in presenteeism – the act of going to work while sick.

Boosting your company’s cybersecurity with four steps

Aside from the fact the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)is enforced at the end of May, reinforcing company’s IT protection should be of incredible importance for leaders in a forever-evolving technological landscape full of people with bad intentions. Here are four ways to tighten your cybersecurity.

How open banking can give startups financial freedom

In a bid to level the financial playing field and take effortless dominance away from the long established household banking names of old, open banking has been introduced, which should help challengers have more impact while giving consumers more choice.

Hiring strategies have been affected by Brexit

The Brexit drum continues to be pounded and LinkedIn has now discovered that the UK’s departure from the EU has 96% of HR managers believing that recruitment strategies have been tainted. 

Zen Terrelonge
Zen Terrelonge

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