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Summary

  1. Apple facing €13bn bill for unpaid taxes
  2. Ireland and Apple to appeal EU tax ruling
  3. US anger over 'unfair' rulings by EU Commission
  4. FTSE and Wall Street finish with mild losses
  5. ARM shareholders back Japanese takeover

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

That's all for another day of Business Live - thanks for reading. We are back as ever at 06:00 tomorrow - do join us then.

Apple shares unscathed from tax ruling

Apple logo
Getty Images

In the end it was more of a nibble than a bite out of Apple's shares. They finished 0.8% lower as investors digested the EU hitting Apple with a €13bn ($14.5bn) tax bill, a ruling the company says it will appeal. 

The muted response from investors might have something to do with Apple's vast cash pile, which analysts estimate is close to $200bn.

"The €13bn tax bill landing on its doormat is not one to fret about," said Neil Wilson at ETX Capital. "While most companies would baulk at such a hefty charge, Apple can afford it from petty cash."

BreakingWall Street drifts lower

US stock markets finished with mild losses after having spent most of the day in negative territory.

Clothes retailer Abercrombie & Fitch was among the biggest fallers - plunging 20% in its worst one-day fall since 2000. 

Shares in confectioner Hershey sank 11% after Mondelez - which owns Cadbury chocolate - said it was no longer interested in buying the company.  

However, financial stocks did well as they stand to gain if the US Federal Reserve pushes ahead with an early rate rise. Shares in Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley rose by about 2%.

The Dow Jones finished 49 points lower at 18,454.30.

The S&P 500 index was down 4 at 2,176.12, while the Nasdaq index fell 9 points to 5,222.99.

Further Apple crackdowns?

The Financial Times leads with the suggestion that the EU has "opened the door" for European and US tax authorities to claim a share of its €13bn recovery order from Apple.

The European Commission's ruling also sets the stage for a transatlantic political tussle over the taxation of US multinationals and the EU's alleged targeting of Silicon Valley giants, it adds.

View more on twitter

Judge dismisses Beats claims

Dr Dre with Beats headphones
Getty Images

In other Apple-related news, a judge has dismissed the key claims in a case involving its Beats headphones business, according to Associated Press.

The lawsuit alleged that Beats co-founders Dr Dre (pictured) and Jimmy Lovine double-crossed a former partner before the business was sold to Apple for $3bn two years ago.

The allegations, filed last year, had been scheduled to go to trial next week. 

Now the trial will be limited to Beats' effort to force Monster - the business of Dr Dre's former partner - to pay its attorney fees and other costs. 

Google vs Uber

Waze homepage
Waze

Google is driving in Uber's rearview mirror with plans for its own ride-sharing service, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Starting in the autumn, the search giant plans to allow all users of its Waze navigation app in San Francisco to connect with fellow commuters. 

It's already trialling the system among workers at specific firms and has hopes of expanding the service further if the upcoming scheme goes well.

Apple's EU money flows

In case you missed it, here's the European Commission's understanding of how Apple's European profits moved through Ireland and attracted very little tax in 2014.

Apple and Ireland have made it clear they don't think the arrangements were illegal and intend to appeal the commission's ruling.

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'Awful' Apple decision

Paul Ryan
AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan is the latest senior US figure to focus on the supposed commercial impact from the Apple tax ruling.

He has called the EU's decision "awful", saying it sends the wrong message to companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

"This is precisely the kind of unpredictable and heavy-handed taxation that kills jobs and opportunity," he told CNBC.

The Republican congressman added the ruling should spur the US to fix its tax code so that American companies invest more money at home.  

White House: US and EU should work together

White House spokesman Josh Earnest
Reuters

A bit more from the White House press briefing earlier. 

President Obama's press secretary Josh Earnest said it's important for the US and Europe to work collaboratively on tax evasion rather than taking a unilateral approach. 

On the separate issue of a massive US-EU trade deal, he said the White House still hoped to wrap up negotiations by year's end, after France and Germany called the pact into question.

Pinewood studio sale moves closer

Cast of James Bond film Spectre
Getty Images

The sale of Pinewood film studios - home to the James Bond movies - has received the go-ahead from UK financial regulators.

The Financial Conduct Authority waved through the offer from private equity fund PW Real Estate for the north London film studio, which was used to film parts of Spectre and Skyfall as well as some of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

Pinewood shareholders will vote on the £323m takeover on 19 September. 

Worker dies on Blade Runner set

Blade Runner sequel artwork
Victor Martinez/Warner Bros

Away from the Apple story, there's some sad news on the set of the Blade Runner sequel.

A construction worker on the movie, which is filming in Budapest, has been killed in an accident. The film's production company said the worker was "underneath a platform, upon which the set was constructed, when it suddenly collapsed".

The untitled sequel, which will star Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford and Jared Leto, is due to be released next autumn. 

A&F shares sink

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

A&F store
Getty Images

We warned you earlier that there could be a bloodbath when Abercrombie & Fitch shares started trading in New York. 

Heading into the final couple of hours now, the retailer's shares have crashed more than 20% to $18.10 after A&F - famous for its scantily clad models - said it no longer expects like-for-like sales to improve this year. 

The formerly fashionable chain reported a 4% slide in like-for-like sales - the 14th consecutive quarter of falling sales.

It also had "minor disruption" to footfall and sales at UK stores around the time of the EU referendum.

Irish tax trauma

Tax specialist Jo Maugham tweets a comment from an Irish counterpart:

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Diary date

Apple invite
Apple

Surely it's mere coincidence that Apple sent out invitations to what can only be the launch of the iPhone 7 on the same day that the European Commission dropped its tax bombshell...

Tax deduction?

Josh Earnest
Getty Images

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says it is possible that the EU order to make Apple pay €13bn in back taxes could be unfair to American taxpayers because the company might be able to claim the cost as a tax deduction in the US. 

"We are concerned about a unilateral approach ... that threaten to undermine progress that we have made collaboratively with the Europeans to make the international taxation system fair," he told reporters.

Apple paradoxes

Some more reaction to the Apple decision, this time from former Finnish finance minister Alexander Stubb:

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Turkey makes eyes at Apple

Turkey's deputy prime minister makes a play in case Apple decides to leave Cork...

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West End footfall flies

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Oxford Circus
Getty Images

It was a good bank holiday weekend for retailers in London's West End, where footfall was 1.9% higher than last year.

Jace Tyrrell, head of the New West End Company, says the rise was largely driven by a 9.1% surge on Monday as shoppers flocked to seasonal sales.

But despite the good news, he sounds a warning: “Whilst tourists have help buoy retailers over the summer, we are seeing that domestic consumer confidence has been dented by the Brexit result. This could have a long-term impact on our retailers, which are facing increasing pressure from rising business costs such as business rates.”

Apple tax ruling: What's happened so far

Apple logo
AFP

A quick summary of today's events in the Apple tax ruling:

  • European Commission rules Ireland should recover up to €13bn (£11bn) from Apple in back-taxes
  • EU body finds Apple effectively paid 1% tax on its European profits in 2003 and about 0.005% in 2014
  • Apple and Irish government say they will appeal the record penalty
  • Tax ruling will have a "profound and harmful" effect on investment and jobs in Europe, Apple says
  • US government criticises the decision, saying it could undermine economic tie-ups between US and EU  
  • European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager defends her ruling and tells BBC that Europe is a "wonderful place to do business"
  • Lawyers predict any money handed over by Apple will be placed in a hands-off account pending years of litigation

Take it back

Business Live reader Rob Nichols has this riposte to the comments from US Senator Charles Schumer on the EU's Apple tax ruling...

"Seems pretty rich from the Senator to call it a money grab, given the heavy handedness that non-US based finance institutions have found themselves under after the Financial Crisis, with some pretty arbitrary fines going out with little to no chance of successful appeals. 

"Meanwhile the US banks effectively have state backing under "too big to fail". And let's not get started on BP and whether a US company would be paying out in the same way..." 

Glencore 'suspends production at coal mine'

Glencore sign at Swiss HQ
Getty Images

Sticking with miners, Glencore said earlier that a 55-year-old contract worker had died at a coal mine in Australia, Reuters reported.

Glencore, which is the world's biggest thermal coal exporter, said it had suspended production at the Newlands mine in the Bowen Basin in Queensland. 

"We are co-operating with the relevant Queensland authorities and have commenced an investigation into the fatal event," a Glencore spokeswoman said.

BreakingMiners drill into FTSE

The FTSE 100 has finished 0.3% lower at 6,820.79, dragged down by mining shares. Miners' losses have worsened throughout the day on the back of falls in metal prices. 

Chilean copper miner Antofagasta and Mexican silver miner Fresnillo suffered the heaviest falls, down more than 5% each. Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore dropped more than 4%.

It outweighed gains for banking shares, as HSBC and Barclays each rose by about 2%.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 of mid-cap UK firms fell 0.5% to 17,847.24.   

'Cheap grab' by European Commission

US Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat, has this punchy comment about the EU ordering Apple to pay €13bn in back-taxes to Ireland... 

“This is a cheap money grab by the European Commission, targeting US businesses and the US tax base. By forcing their member states to retroactively impose taxes on US companies, the EU is unfairly undermining our ability to compete economically in Europe while grabbing tax revenues that should go toward investment here in the United States. This is yet another example of why we need to reform the international tax system to ensure these revenues come home.”

US Senator Charles E. Schumer

UK Treasury on Apple tax case

HM Treasury sign
BBC

The UK Treasury is also keeping its powder dry on the Apple tax ruling. 

"The UK is open for business and we welcome any company wishing to invest in Britain, but we have always been clear that companies that do business here must pay UK taxes," a spokesperson said. 

Sweetheart Britain?

Apple store Covent Garden
AFP

Back to the Apple tax ruling, and one analyst has suggested the UK could stand to gain once it leaves the EU. 

The European Commission is "increasingly becoming a supra-national tax judge", said Neil Wilson, a markets analyst at ETX Capital.

"Britain could benefit. If Ireland cannot offer sweetheart deals within the EU, the City of London can perhaps offer something more appealing outside the bloc."

However, Downing Street wouldn't be drawn on whether the commission decision was good news for the UK post-Brexit. 

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "In terms of offering a low-tax environment, the UK already does that.

"Our corporation tax is one of the lowest in the world. We are committed to making the trading condition for companies in Britain as positive for them as it can be as long as it's positive for the country as a whole." 

Unions unite

Industry and employment correspondent John Moylan tweets...

Next steps for ARM

Softbank + ARM
Reuters

In less than a week Britain's biggest homegrown tech company, ARM Holdings, will almost certainly pass into Japanese ownership after shareholders overwhelmingly backed the deal today.

The only step left is a court hearing on Thursday - which is seen as largely a formality - and then on Monday (5 September) the £24bn takeover by Softbank will come into effect. 

A day later, ARM's shares are due to be delisted from the FTSE 100. 

The deal for the Cambridge company - which designs microchips for most smartphones, including Apple's and Samsung's - has gone through at breakneck speed.

Softbank, one of the world's biggest tech companies, announced the deal less than two months ago on 18 July; at the time saying it wasn't due to the Brexit vote, which sent the pound down sharply and made ARM cheaper. 

Softbank has also promised to embark on a major recruitment drive, doubling ARM's 1,600-strong UK workforce while keeping its headquarters in Cambridge. 

BreakingARM shareholders back Softbank deal

Investors in UK tech giant ARM Holdings have approved a £24bn takeover by Japanese conglomerate Softbank.

Shareholders backed the deal by 95% to 5% earlier today, the Cambridge-based company said.

The vote was the last major obstacle before ARM - often referred to as the jewel in the crown of the UK tech industry - becomes part of the Japanese group.

It paves the way for the takeover of the iPhone chip designer to be completed on Monday.

Barclays sells Italian business

Barclays' logo
Getty Images

In other news, Barclays has sold its loss-making Italian business as part of its drive to sell off non-core assets. 

The retail banking operation - which comprises 85 branches employing 564 staff - is to be sold to Mediobanca at a pre-tax loss of £258m.

The move is part of the company's strategy of focusing on its UK and US banking operations. The bank has already sold its Barclaycard credit card operations in Spain and Portugal as well as a stake in Barclays Africa. 

'Unprecedented' use of EU state aid

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

The European Commission's use of state aid competition rules in its Apple ruling is being criticised by a leading member of Ireland's ruling Fine Gael party.   Mairead McGuinness, vice-president of the European Parliament, said the move was unprecedented and concerning because taxation was a matter for EU states to decide. 

Mining shares weigh on FTSE

Mining drill
AP

The FTSE 100 is still treading water. It's at 6,833 - just 4 points lower than where it started the day.

Mining firms are rubbing out gains elsewhere on the blue chip index. The top five biggest FTSE 100 fallers are all miners, with Antofogasta and Rio Tinto the worst hit.

They're "under the cosh" because the prices of gold, silver, copper and iron have fallen on the back of a stronger dollar, according to traders at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Apple shares dip

Apple logo
Getty Images

Shares in Apple dropped about 1% at the start of trading on Wall Street before recovering slightly. Apple's currently down 0.6% to $106.20 a share, valuing the tech giant at $571bn.

US stock indexes, meanwhile, are pretty much unchanged. 

The Dow Jones is flat at 18,504 points, the S&P 500 is unmoved at 2,178, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is holding steady at 5,238.

Apple 'absurdity'

Business correspondent Joe Lynam (who happens to come from Dublin) tweets his surprise at the Irish government's decision to appeal the Apple tax ruling...

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EU, McDonald's and Amazon

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

McDonald's logo
PA

The EU is not finished with tax investigations into big multinationals, Prem Sikka, a professor of tax and accounting at Essex University, tells the BBC. 

The European Commission has previously sanctioned Starbucks and Fiat, and is looking at the moment at Amazon and McDonald's, he says. The EU is investigating the online retailer and the fast food chain's tax treatment by Luxembourg.

"At one level this should be quite welcomed by the members of the EU because they all want level playing fields," Prof Sikka tells the World at One.

"But looking at it another way it blows a large hole in the economic strategy chosen by some governments because they are effectively denying tax revenue to their neighbours."

French economy minister 'resigns'

The Financial Times' Paris bureau chief tweets

US Treasury: EU is 'acting unilaterally'

US Treasury building
AP

A bit more on the US government's response to the Apple tax ruling. The Treasury Department said it's "disappointed" that the European Commission is "acting unilaterally".  

"As we have said, we believe that retroactive tax assessments by the commission are unfair, contrary to well-established legal principles, and call into question the tax rules of individual member states," a Treasury spokesperson said.  

EU commissioner responds to Apple over tax ruling

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner who led the Apple case, has told the BBC that Europe is a "wonderful place to do business".

She told Martha Kearney on the World at One that "it was only fair" there should be a "level playing field", where all companies pay their tax.   

Apple argues the claim from the EU for €13bn in back-taxes will have "a profound and harmful effect on investment and job creation in Europe".  

Apple tax charge: don't start spending it just yet

€13bn demand could rise to €19bn

Dublin-based corporate tax expert Peter Vale has been speaking to the AP news agency about the EU's demand that Ireland claim €13bn in unpaid taxes from Apple. 

In fact, says the Grant Thornton partner, the final cost to Apple will probably be about €19bn because the EU includes interest for unpaid tax going back more than a decade. 

He says that the EU will require the Irish tax collection agency to issue a demand soon for payment, and any money handed over by Apple would be placed in a hands-off escrow account pending years of litigation before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. 

"While the tax to be collected is hugely significant, this is unlikely to be made available for public expenditure purposes pending the appeal result,' he says. 

Out of fashion

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Abercrombie & Fitch models
Getty Images

Sales at Abercrombie & Fitch have fallen for the 14th consecutive quarter as shoppers failed to return to its stores. 

The retailer, which also owns the Hollister and Abercrombie Kids brands, said like-for-like sales fell 4% for the three months to 30 July to $783m (£597m).

Net loss for the quarter widened to $13.1m, up from $810,000 in the same period last year.

Expect a bloodbath when the NYSE opens later - shares are down more than 11% in pre-market trading to $20.34. The stock was worth more than $76 five years ago.

French economy minister to resign?

BBC Paris correspondent tweets