Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions
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Amazon profit misses estimates and its outlook disappoints - BBC News

Amazon profit misses estimates and its outlook disappoints - BBC News | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Web giant Amazon has reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as expenses rose, causing shares to tumble in after-hours trading.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion

  1. The article suggests that an increase in expenses has led to a fall in profits which has hit share prices. Do you think Amazon's decision to extend its Prime delivery internationally represents a good long term investment in its business?
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Will Amazon Get into the Online Ads Business Next?

Will Amazon Get into the Online Ads Business Next? | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
The Seattle company is expected to report $1 billion in ad revenues this year. Will it become a competitor to Google in the future?
Westminster Business School's insight:

Further reading

The Economist explains online advertising

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/09/economist-explains-12

 

Take a look at Facebook's online Ads products 

https://www.facebook.com/business/products/ads

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HR Magazine - Charlie Mayfield: business must forecast to prepare for tomorrow

HR Magazine - Charlie Mayfield: business must forecast to prepare for tomorrow | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. The first article appears to suggest that ‘continuous improvement’ is insufficient to make a company be successful and that more is necessary.  Please discuss.
  2. The comment added to the article implies that there is little innovative thinking in organisations today and that strategic thinking has been side-lined.  Why do you think this may be the case?  Do you believe that it is true of all organisations, regardless of size or sector?
  3. The article argues that schools should be preparing pupils for work.  There are other arguments that a good general education rather than specific work related skills is more appropriate.  Which do you believe to be true?
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From bailout to sale: RBS’s traumatic seven years

From bailout to sale: RBS’s traumatic seven years | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
“The Government is not a permanent investor in UK banks. Its intention, over time, is to dispose of all the investments.”
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://www.cityam.com/217703/osborne-s-60bn-sell


Questions for discussion


  1. Once the favourite bank of the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, RBS had to be rescued by the Government.  The rescue attempts were dogged with problems including IT systems failures.  Why do you believe that the bank failed in the first place?
  2. The present Chancellor, George Osborne, has recently announced that the bank is to be sold despite not reaching a share price of 502p at which the Government would ‘break even’ on its investment.  Do you believe that he is right to do so? 
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Domino falls to Japanese tech giant Brother

Domino falls to Japanese tech giant Brother | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Japanese electronics giant Brother Industries today agreed to buy London-listed Domino Printing Sciences for more than £1 billion.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. What is meant by the term synergy?
  2. Why do you believe that Brother has bought Domino?
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​HP's first quarter lesson: Breaking up isn't cheap

​HP's first quarter lesson: Breaking up isn't cheap | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
"When you tear apart a company that's been built up over many years through acquisition, through different systems being merged together, it's remarkable what you find," says HP CEO Meg Whitman.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/26/technology/hewlett-packard-quarterly-earnings.html?_r=0


http://www.wsj.com/articles/hewlett-packard-to-split-into-two-companies-1412592132


http://fortune.com/2014/10/06/hp-split-break-bust/


Questions for discussion


  1. What is meant by the term, ‘synergy’?
  2. Why do you think HP decided to split the company into two units?
  3. What problems do you think the management of HP will face as they carry out this change?  Please consider issues both inside the company and external to the firm.
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Standard Chartered’s boardroom bloodbath

Standard Chartered’s boardroom bloodbath | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Standard Chartered delighted invest­ors with a boardroom revolution yesterday, announcing the exit of chief executive Peter Sands, chairm
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://www.cityam.com/210468/city-s-favourite-adopted-son-takes-risky-challenge


http://www.cityam.com/210361/standard-chartered-appoints-bill-winters-chief-executive


http://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/standard-chartered-investors-cheer-as-chief-executive-peter-sands-is-ousted-10071439.html


http://www.wsj.com/articles/winters-should-blow-in-equity-raise-at-standard-chartered-heard-on-the-street-1424956384


http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/26/standard-chartered-ceo-and-chairman-to-leave-peter-sands-bill-winters-john-peace


http://www.standard.co.uk/business/markets/jim-armitage-time-for-standard-chartered-to-heal-on-declaration-of-peace-10072939.html


Questions for discussion


  1. A number of the people who are leaving Standard Chartered are described as non-executive directors.  What is the role of a non-executive director?
  2. The share price rose on the announcement of the appointment of Bill Winters as chief executive to replace Peter Sands.  Why do you believe this to have happened?
  3. It is suggested that Mr. Winters may announce a reduction in the dividend or a rights issue.  What is meant by the term rights issue?  How, and in what different ways, would a rights issue or a reduction in the dividend help the company?
  4. Sir John Peace is Chairman of Standard Chartered but is intending to step down in 2016.  What is the role of the Chairman of a company such as Standard Chartered?  How does his role differ from that of CEO?
  5. Sir John was quoted as saying that, “It is very important to consult with shareholders but, ultimately, decisions like this are up to the board.” To what extent do you believe that to be true?
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How big companies can innovate

How big companies can innovate | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Who says innovation is only for start-ups? In these interviews, the heads of three large, established companies—Intuit, Idealab, and Autodesk—argue there’s no reason big players can’t develop the next big thing. A McKinsey & Company article.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. To what extent do you believe that smaller companies are better able to be innovative than the larger companies such as Apple?
  2. What are the characteristics of the culture of innovative organisations?
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IAG offer to buy Aer Lingus facing political obstacle

IAG offer to buy Aer Lingus facing political obstacle | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
THE PROPOSED takeover of Irish airline Aer Lingus by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) has come under fire in the Irish par
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://centreforaviation.com/members/direct-news/aer-lingus-possible-offer-update-207032


http://www.4-traders.com/AER-LINGUS-GROUP-PLC-1412355/news/IAG-Moves-a-Step-Closer-to-Buying-Aer-Lingus-19761138/


http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/qatar-airways-buys-stake-iag


http://www.cityam.com/208036/aer-lingus-takeover-iag-will-engage-irish-government-secure-its-support


http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/aer-lingus-bosses-to-split-30m-if-deal-is-approved-30939906.html


 

Questions for discussion


  1. What do you believe IAG would expect ot gain from the acquisition of Aer Lingus?
  2. In addition to the political obstacle from the Irish parliament what other difficulties do you believe IAG will face in the run up to the acquisition?
  3. Should the acquisition go ahead what issues will IAG then face and how should they deal with them?
  4. Why do you believe that Qatar Airlines has chosen this point in time to acquire a 9.99% stake in IAG?
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German book publishers to bind together

German book publishers to bind together | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
TWO DOYENS of the German publishing scene are set to merge part of their operations into a new venture, it was announced yesterday
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. What is meant by the term joint venture?  How does this differ from a merger?
  2. What benefits do you believe that these two companies expect to achieve from this joint venture?
  3. What are the risks involved in this course of action?
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Lastminute.com sold for £76m to Swiss travel firm

Lastminute.com sold for £76m to Swiss travel firm | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
TRAVEL site Lastminute.com, founded at the height of the dot.com boom in 1998, has been sold to Bravofly Rumbo Group in a £76m deal.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also see


http://www.bravoflyrumbogroup.com/


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bravofly_Rumbo_Group


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lastminute.com


Questions for discussion


  1. Lastminute.com has been bought by Bravofly Rumbo Group a Swiss firm.  What issues does face now that it has completed the takeover?
  2. The Chairman of Bravofly Rumbo Group says that the acquisition diversifies the product revenue streams.  Why is this important?
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Food suppliers will always be bullied without watchdog

Food suppliers will always be bullied without watchdog | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
You have to hand it to Premier Foods’ chief executive Gavin Darby. He knows how to turn a phrase. He’s written to suppliers demanding an “investment payment to support our growth”.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/premier-foods-lambasted-over-pay-and-stay-policy-9905734.html


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30338663


Questions for discussion


  1. To what extent do you think that the payments suggested by Premier Foods are a reaction to the accounting practices of their customers such as Tesco?
  2. It is suggested in one of the articles that there should be a ‘watchdog ‘ to protect the small businesses that supply large companies such as Premier foods.  Bearing in mind that the payments proposed by Premier Foods are not breaking any competition laws how would a watchdog help?
  3. At the time of writing the share price of Premier foods had fallen by almost 3%.  Is this likely to have an impact on the board of directors of Premier Foods to the extent that they will cancel he scheme?
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Anthony Hilton: Hypocrisy of probation outsourcing

Anthony Hilton: Hypocrisy of probation outsourcing | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
When the Government announced its plans to outsource the probation services some months back, it made positive noises about the part to be played by charities and social enterprises in delivering the new services.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. What are the perceived advantages for the Government of outsourcing a service like the probation service?
  2. It was originally suggested that organisations from the third – sector (charities) would play a large part in the delivery of the outsourced services. Is this an appropriate function for charities to perform?  Thinking of some of the main charities in the UK, what would make then suitable for this role?
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Samsung suspends worldwide sales and tells Galaxy Note 7 owners to 'stop using it' amid exploding phone crisis

Samsung suspends worldwide sales and tells Galaxy Note 7 owners to 'stop using it' amid exploding phone crisis | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Samsung’
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Turmoil in the oil market and merger costs harm Amec Foster Wheeler’s bottom line

Turmoil in the oil market and merger costs harm Amec Foster Wheeler’s bottom line | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
ENERGY-focused engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler failed to escape the ongoing rout in oil unscathed, as results released yesterday showed profits tumbling.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://www.standard.co.uk/business/markets/russell-lynch-osborne-surfs-wave-of-low-oil-all-the-way-to-polling-day-10103972.html


Questions for discussion


  1. As a company AMEC seems to suffer when there are low oil prices. What is meant by the term; ‘derived demand’.
  2. How might AMEC diversify the risk which low oil prices seem to cause for them?
  3. However, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer the implication is that low oil prices are a good thing despite the reduced tax take from oil revenues.  Why do you believe that this is the case? 
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Sharing cities have come to the UK – London is next

Sharing cities have come to the UK – London is next | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
If you're a Londoner, it’s pretty likely that you will have used a sharing economy business.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. How does the business model for this type of organisation differ from a conventional business?
  2. What risks are there for the government from a rise in the sharing economy?
  3. What are the issues for customers with this type of business?
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Foxtons sales slide as election fears hit London housing market

Foxtons sales slide as election fears hit London housing market | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Upmarket estate agent Foxtons warned today that there was little chance of a recovery in the London housing market before the election.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://www.standard.co.uk/business/markets/anthony-hilton-weve-had-political-risk-before-we-survived-10100551.html


Questions for discussion


  1. What is meant by the term political risk?
  2. What are the other forms of risk?
  3. What can organisations do to mitigate the effects of political risk?
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Sabadell’s $2.5 Billion Move for U.K.’s TSB Sends Stock Tumbling

Sabadell’s $2.5 Billion Move for U.K.’s TSB Sends Stock Tumbling | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Westminster Business School's insight:

please also read


http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/mar/12/tsb-takeover-the-spanish-buyer-banco-sabadell


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/tsb-shares-surge-on-banco-sabadell-takeover-bid-10103050.html


Questions for discussion


  1. It is said in one of articles that the retail banking market in the UK is dominated (as much as 80%) by major players and that TSB is quite a small player.  Why would Sabadell wish to buy such a small player in such a concentrated industry?
  2. Retail banking is a ‘cost efficiency business’ where it is very difficult to differentiate ones products and services from the competition.  What are the critical success factors for a company in such an industry?
  3. How might a retail bank attempt to differentiate its services from its competitors?
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Peer-to-peer lender eyes £200m IPO in London

Peer-to-peer lender eyes £200m IPO in London | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Peer-to-peer lender VPC Specialty Lending Investments is eyeing a £200m debut on the London Stock Exchange. 
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/us-private-equity-firm-victory-park-capital-advisors-set-to-invest-in-p2p-lending-websites-10028491.html


Questions for discussion


  1. What is meant by the acronym, ‘IPO’?
  2. What are the attractions to Victory Park Capital of issuing their shares on the London Stock Exchange?
  3. Victory Park Capital is ‘targeting an 8 per cent dividend yield from its fund’.  What exactly does this mean and how is dividend yield calculated?
  4. Why do you believe that the peer to peer finance approach has grown so quickly?
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What Killed Michael Porter's Monitor Group? The One Force That Really Matters

What Killed Michael Porter's Monitor Group? The One Force That Really Matters | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
What Killed Michael Porter’s Monitor Group? The One Force That Really Matters
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. What are the main components of Michael Porters five forces model?
  2. What are Michael Porters generic strategies?
  3. The article suggests that these prescriptive models, typically used by large companies will failed.  To what extent do you believe this to be true?
  4. To what extent do you believe that it is easier for a small company to be innovative and creative than a larger organisation?
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Six Nations championship must remain on terrestial television

Six Nations championship must remain on terrestial television | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Making the tournament pay-per-view would be an affront to rugby's hardcore and traditional fanbase in Great Britain
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. To what extent do you think the author is correct in saying that the Six Nations Tournament should remain on free to view television?
  2. Do you agree that although the short term impact might result in higher finances the longer term would be damaged?
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Poundland agrees to buy rival 99p Stores

Poundland agrees to buy rival 99p Stores | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
Expansion plan involves buying 251 stores for £55m from family-run rival
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BT's takeover of EE is a story about how we live now

BT's takeover of EE is a story about how we live now | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
So British Telecom is going back into the mobile-phone business.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read the first article here;


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/has-bts-dashing-boss-backed-the-right-horse-9929928.html


Questions for discussion


  1. It is suggested in one of the articles that the acquisition of EE by BT will require regulatory clearance.  Why should this be necessary? 
  2. The acquisition of EE (part owned by Deutsche Telekom)means that BT will have to have a Deutsche Telekom nominated board member.  What is the likely effect of this on BT strategy?
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Chatting to the Queen about the smartphone era

Chatting to the Queen about the smartphone era | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
The boss of Imagination tells Ollie Gordon how he discussed tech with Elizabeth II
Westminster Business School's insight:

Questions for discussion


  1. The article refers to the mobile chip market as being, ‘quite bearish’.  What does this term mean?
  2. Imagination operates in a market where there are a few large customers.  How can a company remain best profitable in a market like this?
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Rebuilding Lego, Brick by Brick

Rebuilding Lego, Brick by Brick | Insights into Business Strategy and Decisions | Scoop.it
How a supply chain transformation helped put the beloved toymaker back together again.
Westminster Business School's insight:

Please also read


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11276191/The-cult-of-Lego-why-are-people-so-in-love-with-the-colourful-bricks.html


In 2004 Lego almost declared bankruptcy, by 2013 it became the largest toy company in the world, ahead of Mattel.


Questions for discussion


  1. Why do you believe that Lego has been so successful?  Please illustrate your answer with models from marketing, logistics, change management and strategy.
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