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Waterstones buys Foyles to defend bookshops against Amazon

Waterstones buys Foyles to defend bookshops against Amazon | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
The deal will help booksellers fight back against Amazon's "siren call", says the boss of Waterstones.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, September 7, 3:13 PM

News of a horizontal merger in the book retailing market, with the news that Waterstones are buying Foyles. However, it isn't a merger born out of strength, it's a reflection of the changing nature of the book market and the need for traditional booksellers to fit back in the face of Amazon having lower costs. 

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Low prices and no frills: can Tesco’s secret plan defeat Lidl and Aldi? | Business | The Guardian

Low prices and no frills: can Tesco’s secret plan defeat Lidl and Aldi? | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
All eyes will be on the launch of discount chain Jack’s for clues as to whether the UK’s biggest grocer can operate as well as its sharp German rivals at the cheapest end of the market

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Graham Watson's curator insight, September 16, 2:38 PM

The Observer reflects upon whether Tesco's apparent move into the discount sector is going to be enough to defeat Aldi and Lidl.

 

It is a fascinating article that highlights two schools of thought - that in simplifying the shopping experience, the supermarket is responding to a change in consumer tastes. But equally, some are wondering whether Tesco might be sacrificing some of its advantages of scale, particularly given its recent merger with Booker.

 

Either way, the move represents one of the most significant in the sector and it will be worth observing whether the move pays off or not. As someone who is increasingly a 'discount' shopper, I can vouch for its attraction.  

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Should we nationalise water? - BBC Newsnight

As water companies struggle to keep to their water leak targets, Faiza Shaheen and Robert Colvile discuss whether water companies should remain privatised or become nationalised instead.


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Graham Watson's curator insight, August 8, 8:18 AM

Hat-tip to the inestimable Geoff Riley, clearly recovered after a trip to Hartlepool! 

 

This excellent Newsnight clip looks at the state of the water industry and the arguments for privatisation or nationalisation. It is excellent - as one of my students should be capable of asserting, given that his IA is on the sector.

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Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank brands to go in takeover of Virgin Money | Business | The Guardian

Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank brands to go in takeover of Virgin Money | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
More than 1,500 job losses in £1.7bn deal by CYBG that will create UK’s sixth-largest bank
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Costa Coffee to spin off from Whitbread | Business | The Guardian

Costa Coffee to spin off from Whitbread | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Cafe chain to be separated from Premier Inn hotel and restaurant business after investor pressure
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Asda-Sainsbury's merger: MPs fear squeeze on suppliers | Business | The Guardian

Asda-Sainsbury's merger: MPs fear squeeze on suppliers | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Politicians call for watchdog to gauge affects of deal, saying it should not hurt suppliers
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The rise of the global mega-firms - why the IMF is worried

The rise of the global mega-firms - why the IMF is worried | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Are some businesses just getting too big?

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Graham Watson's curator insight, June 16, 3:23 AM

If the IMF are worried about the size of the current breed of mega-firms, then they probably are too big. You might think about the pros and cons of large firms, and, whether companies., such as Google, really are too big?

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Supermarkets and suppliers warn over £15bn Sainsbury's-Asda deal

Supermarkets and suppliers warn over £15bn Sainsbury's-Asda deal | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Supermarkets and suppliers have warned the competition watchdog that Sainsbury’s £15bn tie-up with Asda could reduce choice and bump up prices at the checkouts.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, June 19, 2:37 AM

The proposed Sainsbury-Asda merger has sparked concerns, not least among other supermarkets and suppliers. Both believe that such a merger is likely to reduce competition in both product and factor markets.

 

The companies themselves argue that any merger is likely to drive down prices, rather than increase them. But they would, wouldn't they?

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SSE-npower merger faces full investigation amid price concerns | Business | The Guardian

SSE-npower merger faces full investigation amid price concerns | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Competition watchdog the CMA has warned tie-up could lead to higher energy bills

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Graham Watson's curator insight, May 8, 11:00 AM

The Competition and Markets Authority has launched a full-scale investigation of the proposed SSE-npower merger just a week or so after they threatened to do so.

 

They can't say that they haven't been warned.

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Mirror-Express deal to face public interest probe

Mirror-Express deal to face public interest probe | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
The government orders the deal to be investigated by the UK's media and competition regulators.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, May 1, 10:22 AM

A nice little competition policy titbit - the Mirror-Express deal is being referred to both Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) because of concerns about whether the merger is in the public interest, not least because of rules on press diversity.

 

However, I can't help thinking that this is also part-influenced by the 21st Century Fox - Sky merger that has been referred on similar grounds.

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British Airways owner considers Norwegian bid

British Airways owner considers Norwegian bid | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Shares in Norwegian Air soar as IAG says it is considering a takeover bid.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, April 12, 1:38 PM
One of the longstanding features of the aviation market has been the question as to whether the low cost carrier (LCC) model could ever apply to long haul flights. And this BBC article suggests that IAG are convinced that it can, with rumours of them being about to bid for Norwegian Air.

The move suggests that there are both economies of scale and potentially economies of scope, and that both can help drive down costs. However, some are concerned that the move might represent a reduction in competition in the sector and drive up the price paid by the final consumer. It will be interesting to follow-up this story; I suspect that there's more than a grain of truth to it. 
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Michael Gove tells water firms to clean up their act

Michael Gove tells water firms to clean up their act | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
“ The environment secretary says water firms may face further regulation if prices and leaks aren't fixed.”
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Who owns Britain’s trains, energy and postal service?

Who owns Britain’s trains, energy and postal service? | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Some providers of UK utilities like energy, post and rail have links with foreign governments
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What does Ofgem's energy price cap mean for the Big Six? 

What does Ofgem's energy price cap mean for the Big Six?  | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
You might imagine news of a far-reaching price cap set to cost energy firms a cool £1bn would provoke a fierce rebuke from the companies and a sea of red share prices across the sector.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, September 7, 3:22 PM

The Telegraph poses an interesting question: what does the recent OFGEM introduction of a price cap mean for the Big Six energy companies?

 

Well, if you read the article, I don't think you'll find out very much, other than the fact that it will be reviewed every six months. And that, of course, adds to the opportunity cost of such an intervention, which in turn makes it less likely that it will enhance outcomes for consumers.

 

Not that such interventions are renown for increasing efficiency... 

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High time: Coca-Cola needs Costa as drinkers shift from fizzy pop to coffee | Business | The Guardian

High time: Coca-Cola needs Costa as drinkers shift from fizzy pop to coffee | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Caffeinated beverages are big business with the global coffee shops market worth £127bn

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Graham Watson's curator insight, September 1, 6:55 AM

A reflection of changing consumer tastes is implied as the reason for Coca-Cola's decision to buy Costa. It is argued that consumers are moving away from consumption of fizzy soft drinks and in favour of café society, with the global market now worth nearly £130bn. 

 

It might be that even Coca-Cola suffers from the product life cycle - but it's done pretty well to last as long as it has.

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Heineken takes minority stake in UK's Beavertown Brewery | Business | The Guardian

Heineken takes minority stake in UK's Beavertown Brewery | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Dutch beer maker says £40m investment will allow craft brewer to build new brewery

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Graham Watson's curator insight, June 22, 3:10 AM

News of a collaboration between Heineken and another craft beer, manufacturer, in this case Beavertown Brewery. Proof of changing consumer tastes, and possibly, economies of scope.

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Ladbrokes Coral agrees £4bn takeover by online rival GVC | Society | The Guardian

Ladbrokes Coral agrees £4bn takeover by online rival GVC | Society | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Cash and shares tie-up will create online-led global gambling giant with Foxy Bingo owner controlling 53.5% of enlarged group
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Sainsbury's-Asda merger could lead to 'monopoly' towns in UK | Business | The Guardian

Sainsbury's-Asda merger could lead to 'monopoly' towns in UK | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
MPs call on regulator to protect communities in Torquay, Brighton, Paignton, Lancaster and Kirkcaldy
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AT&T completes its takeover of Time Warner

AT&T completes its takeover of Time Warner | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
The merger of the two giants could shake up the US media scene for years to come.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, June 15, 2:39 AM

Nothing to see here, officer.

 

Just a US mega-merger between two media giants, AT&T and Time Warner.

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EU regulators clear Comcast's £22bn bid for Sky

EU regulators clear Comcast's £22bn bid for Sky | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
European regulators have cleared Comcast's £22bn bid for Sky, helping fuel a bidding war with Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, June 16, 3:26 AM

EU clearance of Comcast's bid for Sky. Let the games begin.

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East Coast train line to be put into public control

East Coast train line to be put into public control | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Rail services on the East Coast Main Line to be brought back under government control.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, May 16, 9:27 AM

As expected, the Transport Minister has renationalised the East Coast Main Line and this has provoked some interesting responses, with Labour and the Green Party calling for the renationalisation of the whole network.

 

I have to say, I like John McDonnell pointing out via Twitter that  "he's now nationalised more railways than any Labour minister in six decades". However, has rail privatisation really hit the buffers?

 

The answers seems to be no: this is a staging post on the way to creating a new public-private partnership in 2020.

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Sainsbury's-Asda deal in seven charts

Sainsbury's-Asda deal in seven charts | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
A handy guide to the supermarket deal of the century - in chart form.

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Graham Watson's curator insight, April 30, 10:45 AM

Does what it says on the tin. Sainsburys. Asda. Seven charts.

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CMA must step up to plate served by Asda-Sainsbury's merger | Nils Pratley | Business | The Guardian

CMA must step up to plate served by Asda-Sainsbury's merger | Nils Pratley | Business | The Guardian | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Merged behemoth will have 60% market share – cheering for shareholders, less so for shoppers

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Graham Watson's curator insight, May 2, 2:47 AM

Nils Pratley's first business brief looks at the need for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to intervene in the Sainsburys - Asda merger.

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The great British train robbery

The great British train robbery | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
Privatising British Railways was meant to bring innovation, efficiency, competition and lower fares but the reality has been very different.
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Pros and cons of rail privatisation - just read the article
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BT told to share poles for ultrafast fibre internet

BT told to share poles for ultrafast fibre internet | Economics competition issues | Scoop.it
BT must make it easier for rivals to install fibre broadband on telegraph poles, Ofcom says.

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