MarketLine Blog

Posts written by Tom Hawthorn

UK Gambling Restrictions: Proposed changes to gambling limits are the wrong approach to a very real problem

MarketLine

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, supported by a proposal from the UK Gambling Commission, announced plans on October 31, 2017 to cut the maximum bet that can be made at B2 gaming machines, often known as fixed-odds betting terminals by more than half, from its current level of £100 ($131) to a level around £20-30 ($26-$39). At present a consumer could theoretically bet – and lose – up to £18,000 ($23,600) in one hour on a B2 machine. The government is also considering an increase in the… Read more

Monarch Airlines: Management not to blame for collapse of UK’s longest-serving airline

MarketLine

In the early hours of Monday October 2, 2017, KPMG announced that it had entered the office of Monarch Airlines and the company had officially entered administration. In the following hours the Civil Aviation Authority chartered 30 planes from across Europe to repatriate some 110,000 British citizens and customers who were then stranded abroad with no return flights. Cancellations of every flight from October 2 and onwards have affected some 300,000 bookings and likely close to a million individuals, and Monarch’s departure from the short-haul flight market will almost certainly… Read more

Boeing vs. Bombardier: Tariffs justified as Bombardier receives state aid

MarketLine

In September 2017, the US Department of Commerce announced the preliminary decision to implement import tariffs of approximately 220% on any imports of Bombardier’s C-Series jets into the US. Following a complaint by major competitor Boeing that Bombardier was dumping its jets into the US market as below cost-price, the tariff plan has met with widespread criticism across Canada – where Bombardier is based – and in the UK, where wings are built in a plant in Belfast, currently providing 4,200 jobs. In reality the tariff – which would more… Read more

The Independent: Independent No More

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On March 25, 2010 the failing Independent newspaper was bought for £1 ($1.30) by the Russian Lebedev family. Since then, father-and-son team Alexander and Evgeny have invested over $140m and the newspaper – now an online-only publication – has been revitalized while maintaining its traditional pro-free speech, left-wing approach to reporting. The recent politicization of young people in the UK – driven by their defeat in the EU membership referendum when young people voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining a member – is one of the driving forces behind the… Read more

Spotify: How the Swedish start-up revolutionized an ailing music industry

MarketLine

The power of the internet has grown rapidly since its introduction to the mainstream in the early 2000s and it has become the most powerful tool on the planet, both socially and economically. However the music industry has struggled in recent years, in freefall since the turn of the century and the birth of the mainstream internet. The shift from physical to digital music has been stifled by the rapid growth in internet piracy, with software such as LimeWire, Napster and later torrent clients making it incredibly simple to download… Read more

GAME Digital: How the cyclical console release pattern is stifling GAME’s growth

MarketLine

The video game industry across the West is incredibly cyclical, with regular console releases every seven to eight years providing very large revenues to major players and carrying them through the period in-between releases. However a shift in the console market, with console developers choosing to release completely new consoles at a slower rate and instead releasing interim consoles (such as Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro), has hurt GAME Digital, a company only recent out of administration. It’s profit warning announced on June 30, the result of Nintendo’s decision to prioritize… Read more

Donald Trump: The Anti-Globalism Billionaire

MarketLine

Since revealing plans to run for President, billionaire businessman Donald Trump has expressed surprising anti-globalist sentiments. For a man who’s made his fortune running luxury resorts across the globe, it is initially surprising that he would claim to oppose trade blocs, a major driver of globalization and free trade. But perhaps Donald Trump is taking his new job seriously. The ex-businessman is now the most powerful person on the planet and that comes with certain responsibilities. The US people voted for a populist, radical alternative to the established political system… Read more

The Sky is the Limit: How Uber’s dominance of a market allows it to chase next-gen dreams

MarketLine

Uber released financial data to Bloomberg on April 14, 2017, something it is in no way obliged to do. The image it presented was one of rapid growth and expansion, skyrocketing revenues and incredible levels of spending. One would hope to see this level of performance; private investment in the company has grown consistently since its launch in 2009 as UberCab, generating nearly $10bn from investment firms since then, and it has managed to spend more than $8bn investing in its own growth. Private investment growth will need to continue… Read more

UK General Election: Theresa May’s Call for Election on June 8 an Opportunistic Masterstroke

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On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, a historic result the likes of which has never been seen. On June 5, 1975 the UK voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining in the EU (then called the European Community) and the thought of any member state actually leaving is a very recent phenomenon. Many point to the Great Recession of 2008-09 as the catalyst for the most recent wave of anti-EU sentiment but opposition to the EU has existed in the UK since it joined… Read more

From GM to PSA: Why the sale of Vauxhall Opel is good for shareholders but bad for workers

MarketLine

US-based General Motors is the world’s third largest automobile manufacturer by sales, and second largest by revenues. French-owned Groupe PSA, which sold nearly 3.2 million vehicles and had revenues of €54bn ($57bn), is a fairly small player in comparison. GM’s ownership and continued management of Vauxhall Opel is at odds with the rest of its portfolio – the company primarily operates in the US and Asia, selling brands including Chevrolet, Buick, Holden and Wuling – while PSA operate Peugeot, Citroen and DS Automobiles primarily out of Europe. The sale of… Read more

Piracy: The social acceptability of theft and its effect on the movie industry

MarketLine

Internet piracy has been around almost as long as the internet itself. Communities exist, consisting of millions of web users, which are dedicated to sourcing, converting and sharing valuable copyrighted material. Some – The Pirate Bay – were the inspiration for political parties. Others – Megaupload – were responsible for accelerating the fortunes of a small group into the billions of dollars. But all major sites have been in the spotlight for a decade, coming and going, constantly switching web hosts from Sweden to Somalia to Costa Rica, managing to… Read more

Tesco-Booker: The Squeeze on Small Businesses

MarketLine

Tesco, one of the largest retailers in the world, is the most dominant supermarket in the UK market. Its recent announcement to merge with Booker was a surprise to all. Booker occupies a very different area of the market, primarily offering bulk-purchase supply to small retailers, both independent and franchised stores under brands it owns, such as Londis and Budgens. At first glance then, this seems an odd target for Tesco; to merge operations with a company whose target market is so different to its own. Indeed, no one considers… Read more

OPEC: Supply restriction amid global oil glut

MarketLine

OPEC, consisting of 13 oil-rich governments, is the only true cartel allowed, albeit grudgingly, to operate in today’s global economy and it wields considerable power. In 1973 Arab members imposed an oil embargo on the US during the Arab-Israeli war which tripled prices in a matter of months. Three times in recent history OPEC has stepped in to shore up the oil market, and each time prices rallied within days of action being taken. It is fair to say, therefore, that OPEC is a force to be reckoned with. Or… Read more