Kamal Ahmed

Kamal Ahmed Business editor

Welcome to the Business Blog – my latest take on the major business stories and analysis of the facts behind the headlines

BSkyB – James Murdoch’s master plan comes closer to fruition

25 July 2014
Sky camerman

Today's announcement that BSkyB has made a £4.9bn bid to buy Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia from 21st Century Fox is, on the surface, a straightforward play by a British pay-tv business to become a European giant.

Jeremy Darroch, BSkyB's chief executive, wants to run a business whose interests do not stop at the Channel. The deal would open up the German, Austrian and Italian pay-tv markets which are not as well developed as the UK's.

As BSkyB reaches 11.5 million customers in Britain and Ireland, the room for endless subscription growth is slowing.

New products such as Sky Store (a download DVD service) and Now (the availability of Sky services without a long term subscription) do provide some opportunities for growth.

But they are probably not game changers.

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Centrica closes in on new chief executive

23 July 2014
British Gas bill & flame

Next week will be dominated by news of energy giants. Both BP and Centrica will update the market on their latest performance.

For BP, much of the focus will be on Ukraine and what affect any new sanctions may have on relations with the Russian energy business, Rosneft.

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Philip Clarke tells BBC of 'enormous relief' as he quits Tesco

21 July 2014
Philip Clarke

Tesco is Britain's biggest and most profitable retailer. To be its chief executive is to be in a job about which everyone has an opinion.

Messy aisles. Missing products. Unhelpful staff. "Sort it out" would come the cry from millions of customers.

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Is this the death knell for free high street banking?

18 July 2014
Some £5 and £10 notes

The Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) decision to launch an inquiry into the UK's banks may finally get us to the answer - does the present structure work for customers and businesses?

Lots of people already say no, and as the CMA points out levels of satisfaction in the sector are below 60%.

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GlaxoSmithKline’s fresh Chinese problems

17 July 2014
GSK logo

Another morning, another slew of negative headlines for Sir Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline.

The Financial Times revealed last night that GSK admitted to bribery problems in its China business as long ago as 2001.

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Banks gearing up for full-scale competition inquiry

16 July 2014
Sterling
The CMA will announce its banking competition conclusions on Friday

Poor old banks. Just as they were looking forward to the summer holiday, along comes a new threat to their business.

The Competition and Markets Authority, the markets watchdog, has just confirmed it will be announcing the conclusions of its study into banking competition on Friday morning.

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Cuddly puppets axed as Wonga attempts big clean-up

14 July 2014
Still from Wonga ad with puppet grandparents

After its regular appearances as the whipping boy for all that is bad in payday lending, Wonga is attempting to offer a new face to customers - and its critics.

Andy Haste, the former chief executive of the insurance giant, RSA (owner of More Than), is to become chairman of the company and his first job will be to announce a review of how the business operates.

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Fear of failure stalked the Royal Mail sale

11 July 2014
Royal Mail letters

Last month the analyst and former Goldman Sachs employee, Louise Cooper, made a speech entitled the City is from Mars and politicians are from Venus.

With a nod to John Gray's best-selling tome dealing with men and women, Ms Cooper argued that the worlds of finance and Westminster were unlikely ever to be comfortable bed-fellows.

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Sainsbury’s rejects new moves to relax Sunday trading laws

9 July 2014
Sainsburys, Cambridge
Sunday trading rules should remain, Sainsburys chief executive Justin King says on his last day in the job.

He insists he won't be choking back the tears. Today, Justin King says farewell to Sainsbury's after a decade as chief executive.

All the traditional retailers have suffered in that time as discounters have vacuumed up price hungry shoppers.

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About Kamal

Kamal joined the BBC after four and a half years as business editor of the Sunday Telegraph's award-winning team. He also helped launch the Telegraph's annual festival of business, the major conference for small and medium sized enterprises. Before that, Kamal worked at The Observer as head of news and earlier, as its political editor.

His love of journalism started at Leeds Student, Leeds University's student newspaper, where he first tasted life as a reporter in a basement office with no windows. Essential workplace furniture included half-drunk pints of beer with cigarettes stubbed out in them. In those days, you needed a strong constitution to be a volunteer hack.

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