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  1. Get in touch:
  2. FedEx warns over profits this year
  3. BMW warns of falling profits this year
  4. Bayer shares tumble on weedkiller ruling
  5. Kingfisher chief executive to leave
  6. Pound slides as UK asks for Brexit delay

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Jill Treanor

All times stated are UK

  1. FTSE 100 down; Inmarsat jumps

    The FTSE 100 has started the day with losses - down 20 points at 7,303.

    Inmarsat is among shares on the move in London today, up 15% after the satellite operator revealed a takeover approach.

    Kier Group is down almost 4%, after it reported a £35m loss for the first six months of the year.

  2. BreakingBayer shares tumble on court decision

    Crop spraying

    Shares in Bayer have tumbled almost 10%, after a US jury found that one of the world's most widely-used weedkillers was a "substantial factor" in causing a man's cancer.

    Pharmaceutical group Bayer had strongly rejected claims that its glyphosate-based Roundup product was carcinogenic.

    But the jury in San Francisco ruled unanimously that it contributed to causing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in California resident Edwin Hardeman.

  3. Boeing: self certification 'the norm'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Dominic Gates, aerospace reporter at the Seattle Times, has been talking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme about the Ethiopian Airways crash.

    His report focused on the delegation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of safety assessments about the 737 Max 8 plane to the manufacturer Boeing.

    This is the "norm" he said. "Through lack of funds and lack of resources Congress has basically told the FAA to delegate as much as work as possible to industry".

    While this is what is required by Congress, "a lot of the FAA technical people were complaining they were rushed and were not given enough time to evaluate the data".

    "Those planes will stay on the ground for at least several months," he said.

    View more on twitter
  4. FTSE 100 female chief execs

    The upcoming departure of Veronique Laury from Kingfisher will cut the number of female chief executives running FTSE 100 companies from six to five. Here they are:

    Carolyn McCall, ITV

    Emma Walmsley, Glaxo

    Alison Brittain, Whitbread

    Liv Garfield, Severn Trent

    Alison Cooper, Imperial Tobacco

  5. Asian stocks on the defensive

    Asian shares were mixed but stuck in a tight range, with investors reluctant to place any big bets before a monetary policy decision by the US Federal Reserve later on Wednesday.

    In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was 0.3% lower and the Shanghai Composite was flat.

    Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was up 0.2%

  6. Kingfisher boss leaves amid revamp

    Luke Tugby is head of content at Retail Week. He points out that Kingfisher chief executive, Veronique Laury was in the middle of a big revamp on the business.

    The company announced her departure today.

    View more on twitter
  7. Kier swings to loss

    Kier sign

    Outsourcing company Kier reported a £35.5m loss for the first six months of the year- compared with a £34.3m profit for the same period a year ago.

    The company - which tapped investors for £250m last year - focused on the 15% fall in operating profits to £51.8m.

    Philip Cox, who has been executive chairman since the departure of the chief executive in January, said;"Our regional building and property development businesses continue to operate well, although we are experiencing some volume pressures in the highways, utilities and housing maintenance markets".

    Yesterday, the company named Andrew Davies as its new chief executive.

  8. BreakingKingfisher: Boss leaving; stores closing; profits down

    Veronique Laury, Kingfisher chief executive

    The chief executive of Kingfisher, Veronique Laury, is leaving. Her departure date has not been announced.

    The company owns B&Q and Screwfix and has a big business in Europe, including the French chain Castorama.

    The announcement came along with the company's full year results, which were not great.

    Pre-tax profit fell 53% to £322m.

    Like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland fell 0.8%.

    The company is closing 15 "poor performing" stores over the next two years.

    All 19 of the company's Screfix outlets in Germany will be closed.

  9. Inflation not taking off

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4


    Data yesterday showed that the UK employmeNt rate is the highest since records began in 1971 and wages are outpacing the rate of inflation.

    In theory, this is an indication the that Bank of England will want to start raising interest rates to head off inflation.

    But Jane Sydenham, an investment director at Rathbones, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that the inflation data due later today would show that inflation is not taking off. It has been below the 2% target set for the Bank of England.

    Why? There is a lot of debt in the system and competition among retailers to keep prices lows.

    So a rate rise may be possible. But, "Brexit is sitting in the background and the uncertainty that's obviously bringing in to the economy at the moment means I suspect that the Bank of England will hesitate and wait for some kind of direction from that before they make any decision," she said.

  10. Lloyds boss gives up pension perk

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    lloyds boss

    The boss of Lloyds Banking Group last night give up his final salary pension after mounting pressure over the perk. António Horta-Osório was the only employee entitled to such a pension, having overseen the ending of final salary schemes in 2014.

    It comes amid increased focused on pension schemes and contributions to boardroom executives' pensions which are greater than their staff.

    John Ralfe, an independent pensions consultant, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that this part of the trend for defined benefit schemes - where the pay out is based on final salaries - to be closed and replaced by defined contribution schemes.

    "This is a bit of a throw back to the old days when companies used to pad their chief executives' total remuneration by fiddling the pension arrangements which weren't at all transparent," he said.

    In the past, though, the sums involved were much higher and ran to millions of pounds and pay schemes were entirely opaque, he said.

  11. Bid for satellite operator


    Shares in Inmarsat will trade for the first time since the satellite operator revealed it had received a £2.5bn takeover approach.

    The cash offer for the FTSE 250 company - set up by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to enable ships to stay in contact with shore or to call for help in an emergency - is from a consortium which includes Apax Partners, Warburg Pincus and Canada Pension Plan Investment.

    The $7.21 or 543p a share offer is a 24% premium to the price the shares were trading at yesterday and 47% above the price they were trading at when the offer was first tabled on 31 January.

    A formal offer must be made by 16 April.

    Last July, US company Echostar made an approach but did not table a formal offer.

  12. Brexit planning for toilet roll maker

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Toilet rolls

    Much of the UK's loo roll is imported, so is there any evidence that shoppers are stockpiling before Brexit?

    "We've seen a slight increase in demand, but nothing that is massive and shows that we'll have major issues," said Mike Docker, the managing director of WEPA UK, a German-owned company which makes toilet and kitchen rolls for supermarkets.

    "Toilet roll and kitchen roll are promotion driven, so you get ups and downs in any given month," he points out.

    His company has been stockpiling finished goods in the UK.

    The cardboard that makes the tube in the centre of the roll is not really made in the UK, so his company has bought a six-week supply.

    His firm also has a contingency plan to charter ships to import materials from their supplier in Southern Italy, to avoid the Port of Dover, if there is a no-deal Brexit.

  13. Asian stocks mixed

    Asian stocks mixed.

    In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 0.4% and the Shanghai Composite was 1% lower.

    Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was up 0.1%.

  14. US-China to resume face-to-face talks next week, reports say

    U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (2nd L) speaks as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (3rd L) and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (L) listen during a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (R) in the Oval Office of the White House February 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. Liu is in Washington with the Chinese delegation to participate in the U.S.-China trade talks.

    US officials plan to travel to China next week to resume face-to-face talks aimed at ending a trade war between them, media reports said.

    US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to fly to Beijing next week to meet with Chinese Vice President Liu He, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed Trump administration officials.

    It also said that a Chinese delegation led by Mr Liu is expected to continue talks in Washington the week after, with the aim of closing a deal by late April.

    Talks with China are going "very well" Mr Trump said at a press conference on Tuesday held jointly with Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro.

  15. US economy 'past its best period of growth'

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    US Federal Reserve

    The US Federal Reserve is not expected to raise interest rates when it announces its decision this evening.

    "We've had a quite a lot of data showing that inflation is not really picking up, there's no need for rates to raise," says Jane Sydenham, investment director, Rathbone Investment Management.

    The US is "probably past the best period of growth," she said.

    But the oulook is still OK, she adds.

  16. Google targets the games industry

    Dave Lee

    North America technology reporter

    The future of the games industry,at least as Google sees it, is in streaming.

    It’s a trend that feels inevitable - just ask anyone in the music, TV or film business. Streaming is where it's at, and the possibility for what can be streamed has only ever been bound by the limitations of internet connectivity.

    Google thinks its technology can make streaming games a plausible and possibly even pleasurable reality. One where gamers aren’t driven to insanity by stuttering gameplay and slow-reacting characters.

    Google's Phil Harrison
  17. Good morning!

    Ben Morris

    Business reporter

    Welcome to Wednesday's Business Live page.

    Google is looking to upset the computer games business, with a service that streams games.

    Levi Strauss is completing its return to the stock market.

    On the economic front - the latest UK inflation figures are released at 09:30 and later the US Federal Reserve will announce the result of its latest meeting on interest rates.