Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Walt Disney buys 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4bn
  3. UK interest rates held
  4. Four Seasons Care Home wins breathing space over debt payment
  5. Capita shares fall on "trading challenge" warning
  6. Miner Lonmin bought for £285m
  7. Ocado posts rise in sales

Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. What can we use quantum computing for?

    IBM scientists work in the IBM Q computation center

    In order to explore practical applications for quantum computing, IBM is giving 12 Fortune 500 companies and academic institutions access to its quantum computing systems.

    JP Morgan, Daimler, Samsung, Barclays, Honda, Hitachi Metals, JSR Corporation, Nagase, Oxford University, Keio University, Oak Ridge National Lab and University of Melbourne will have direct access via the cloud to a 20-qubit IBM quantum computing system.

    “Working closely with our clients, together we can begin to explore the ways big and small quantum computing can address previously unsolvable problems applicable to industries such as financial services, automotive or chemistry," said Dario Gil, vice president of AI and IBM Q at IBM Research.

    "There will be a shared focus on discovering areas of quantum advantage that may lead to commercial, intellectual and societal benefit in the future.”

  2. London now lower

    London Stock Exchange

    The FTSE 100 index is now trading 24.28 points lower at 7,472.23, weighed down by an income fund.

    Standard Life Aberdeen is leading the fallers, with its share price down 2.88% at 415.20p.

    Convatec, Sky and Whitbread are also among the biggest losing stocks.

    On the FTSE 250, shares are now down 0.14% to 20,034.29. The losers are led by outsourcing firm Capita, down 11.3% to 413.10p on a gloomy trading update that showed a recovery in 2018 is unlikely.

  3. NatWest updates security after embarrassing blog by security expert

    NatWest Bank website

    NatWest Bank has been left red-faced after a security expert wrote a blog highlighting how the bank responds when researchers report security bugs to it.

    Troy Hunt and several other researchers told NatWest that it needed to start using encrypted HTTPS connections on all customer-facing websites, not just online banking.

    The bank replied, "sorry you feel this way", prompting Mr Hunt to write a blog post about it.

    Read more here.

  4. Thomas Cook considering Niki takeover

    Thomas Cook sign

    Thomas cook says it is now considering making a takeover bid for troubled Finnish carrier Niki, which has gone into insolvency after Lufthansa pulled out of purchasing it due to competition concerns from the European Commission.

    "We plan to increase our capacity in the German market in light of the increased demand," said a Thomas Cook spokesman.

    "We are considering our options, including a takeover of Niki, or buying parts of the airline."

  5. Oil prices under pressure

    Oil rig

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) has increased its forecast for growth in US oil output next year, putting pressure on oil prices.

    West Texas Intermediate futures fell 29 cents to $56.31 a barrel, down from a high of $56.93, while Brent crude futures were at flat at $62.45 a barrel.

    "The IEA underlined the same take that the US Energy Department had the day before yesterday and OPEC had yesterday," said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst with SEB Bank, adding that further upward revisions might follow.

  6. Inside the Fox empire

    We've also made a visual representation detailing the Fox empire...

    Fox empire graphic
  7. Wall Street opens on a high

    Wall Street at Christmas

    US shares opened on a high on Thursday, on the confirmation that Walt Disney is to buy most of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox for $52.4bn (£39bn).

    The Dow Jones is up 0.24% or 58.9 points to 24,644.29, with Boeing up 1.5% to $296.10, still riding on its big dividend announcement.

    The S&P 500 is up 0.12% or 3.3 points to 2,666.08, led by Tiffany & Co, up to 3.7% to $99.62 on the news it has signed a an agreement with Luxottica to develop and distribute a line of sunglasses under the Tiffany & Co brand.

    And the tech-heavy Nasdaq has risen 0.18% or 12 points to 6,887.85, led by Riot Blockchain, up 11.6% to $25.70 as investors see it as a way to join in the bitcoin mania gripping Wall Street.

  8. Does Sky News have a future?

    Bob Iger, Disney CEO

    Bob Iger, Disney's chief executive, has indicated that Sky News might not be canned after all.

    When asked directly, he told Bloomberg TV: "Absolutely. All of Sky has a future.

    "We obviously will look at the overlap between the business that are similar...ultimately we believe we're going to create a lot of opportunities for a lot of Fox employees, opportunities beyond the ones they have today."

  9. Good Afternoon

    Little Christmas tree

    Thanks to Karen and Russell for this morning's live coverage of all things business.

    Mary-Ann Russon with you until 21:30 for the rest of the day's news and views.

    Got a point of view? Tweet me at @concertina226 and @BBCBusiness

  10. Mnangagwa calls for lifting of sanctions

    Emmerson Mnangagwa

    Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for the removal of political and economic sanctions imposed by Western countries and indicated that elections due in July could be brought forward.

    Speaking to the leadership of the ruling Zanu-PF party, Mr Mnangagwa said sanctions were crippling Zimbabwe's national development and he called for them to be lifted unconditionally.

    He also said the government would do all in its power to ensure that elections were credible, free and fair, adding that the vote was 'nearer than you expect".

    Mr Mnangagwa became president last month after Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years, was removed from office.

  11. Niki Lauda could buy back airline

    Niki Airline check-in

    Ex-Formula One champion Niki Lauda says he is interested in buying back the collpased airline he founded.

    Austria-based Nikki ceased operations late on Wednesday after opening insolvency proceedings.

    The country's aviation authorities have begun organising the repatriation of an estimated 5,000 passengers stranded by the grounding of the airline, a division of Air Berlin.

    This followed an announcement by Germany's Lufthansa that it was no longer interested in buying Niki together with the rest of Air Berlin because of EU competition concerns.

    Lauda sold his airline to Air Berlin in 2011.

  12. A graphic illustration of media empires

    Wondering how big the Disney media empire is? Here it is explained visually...

    Disney media empire
  13. Sky expects Fox takeover to go through

    The Disney deal to buy 21st Century Fox also includes Fox's 39% stake in broadcaster Sky.

    But of course Sky is in the midst of its own acquisition drama - as 21st Century Fox has agreed to buy the remainder of Sky.

    Sky has now put out a statement: "Prior to the close of the transaction, it is anticipated that 21st Century Fox will seek to complete its planned acquisition of the 61% of Sky it doesn't already own."

    It added that 21st Century Fox remained "fully committed" to completing the current Sky offer , which it expected it to be finalised by 30 June, 2018.

  14. James Murdoch's future

    James Murdoch

    Walt Disney chief executive Bob Iger has not ruled out a role for James Murdoch (above) following the takeover of 21st Century Fox.

    Rupert Murdoch's son and right hand man had been tipped for a top job in the merged media empire, but today's announcement made not mention of him.

    But Iger told ABC's Good Morning America programme: "James and I will be talking over the next couple of months. He will be integral to the integration process. He and I will be discussing whether there is a role for him or not at our company."

  15. Pipeline crack safety cordon halved

    Safety cordon round pipeline

    A safety cordon around one of the UK's most important oil pipelines has been halved as a crack which was discovered has not grown.

    The Forties pipeline carries crude North Sea oil across sea and land for processing at Grangemouth.

    The crack was discovered last week near Netherley in Aberdeenshire and a 300m safety cordon was in place.

    Operator Ineos said the crack had not grown for 48 hours, so the safety cordon had been reduced to 150m.

    Industry body Oil and Gas UK has said the resulting lost production is worth around £20m per day. Read more here

  16. Four Seasons resolution months away

    A refinancing deal for Four Seasons Care Homes could still be many months away following today's "standstill agreement" over a critical debt payment.

    Under the agreement, Four Seasons and its largest creditor, H/2 Capital, have until 2 April next year to approve a financial restructuring. Only then would a deal be put before other major debtors.

    Four Seasons operates 343 care homes, but only just more than 20 are thought to be profitable.

  17. Drugs giant to cut 14,000 jobs

    Israeli pharma giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is to slash its workforce by more than a quarter as part of a plan to repay its massive debts.

    Teva - which is the world's biggest generic drugmaker - said 14,000 posts will go worldwide.

    The shake-up is designed to cut Teva's costs by $3bn (£2.2bn) by the end of 2019.

    Israel's main trade union says it will hold a half-day general strike on Sunday in protest at the job cuts.

    Teva has debts totalling almost $35bn following its acquisition of Allergan's Actavis generic drug business for $40.5bn.

    It has been making changes since Kare Schultz joined as chief executive on 1 Nov.

  18. Eurozone rates on hold

    Mario Draghi

    As expected, the European Central Bank has kept interest rates for countries in the eurozone unchanged, with the main rate held at zero.

    The ECB also confirmed it would cut the amount of assets it is buying each month under its quantitative easing programme from €60bn to €30bn in January. This move had previously been announced in October.

    Attention now switches to ECB president Mario Draghi's news conference, where he will discuss the reasons behind the bank's latest decision.

  19. BreakingStay of execution for Four Seasons

    Four Season logo

    The UK's second biggest care home provider Four Seasons Health Care and investor H/2 Capital Partners have agreed a "standstill" over an imminent debt payment.

    Troubled Four Seasons is in the process of refinancing, and will not make the December payment in order to maintain "appropriate liquidity for its operations", the companies announced.

  20. All about Bob

    James Murdoch
    Image caption: Will there be a role for James Murdoch?

    It seems that having Bob Iger stay on as the boss of Disney was crucial to sealing the $52.4bn deal to buy 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets.

    Disney's lead independent director Orin Smith, says: "When considering this strategic acquisition, it was important to the board that Bob remain as chairman and chief executive through 2021 to provide the vision and proven leadership required to successfully complete and integrate such a massive, complex undertaking.

    "We share the belief of our counterparts at 21st Century Fox that extending his tenure is in the best interests of our company and our shareholders, and will be critical to Disney’s ability to effectively drive long-term value from this extraordinary acquisition.”

    There had been speculation that James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox, would be named as the successor to Mr Iger.

    But curiously, there is no mention of James in today's announcement.