Welcome to our news round-up for April 2014. In this round-up of the most important business news from around the world, we point you to some of the biggest news stories that have had people talking during the past month.
US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer has announced its interest in acquiring British company AstraZeneca, despite two previous approaches being rejected. The companies have both confirmed that Pfizer made an offer as early as January, but AstraZeneca says the initial price of £46.61 per share “significantly undervalued” its prospects. If the merger does go ahead it will become one of the biggest deals in the industry’s history.
Figures from research company IDSPay.co.uk show that employers awarded a median pay rise of 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year. Some 60 per cent of the total pay awards given were between two and 2.9 per cent, indicating that wages are finally beginning to keep up with inflation.
Microsoft might be planning to get rid of the Nokia brand name as part of its takeover bid. A leaked letter addressed to suppliers says that Nokia will become a Microsoft subsidiary which is entirely owned by the firm. It also says that the company’s name could be changed to Microsoft Mobile, but it is unclear whether this would apply to the branding on their devices as well.
British Airways Plans to Use Garbage as Fuel
British Airways has announced a partnership with Solena Fuels to build new facilities converting rubbish into airline fuel. When the plant is completed in 2017, the airline has promised to buy all the fuel produced at a market-competitive price. Willie Walsh, chief executive of parent company IAG, says enough fuel will be produced each year to power all the airline’s flights from London City Airport twice over.
EU officials are planning to introduce tough new restrictions on high-frequency trading that have divided commentators. The rules will include a limit on the smallest price increments at which shares are traded, as well as tests and regulation on the algorithms being used to conduct high-speed trades.
Thomsons Reuters confirmed that it has met with representatives from the Tehran Stock Exchange to discuss potential business opportunities after sanctions were temporarily lifted on Iran. The news provider was said to be interested in reporting and publishing trading data from the exchange.
Gender Pay Gap Debate Rages on ‘Equal Pay Day’ for Women
April 8th was Equal Pay Day in the US – apparently the date up to which women have to work in order to match what their male counterparts earned the previous year. US Census Bureau data shows that women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, but the debate has been reignited over the accuracy of the figures.
Car sales in the UK have gone up a gear, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Figures show that sales of new cars are rising at the fastest pace in a decade. A total of 464,824 new cars were registered in March, 17.7 per cent up on the same month in the previous year, thanks to better consumer confidence and more available finance.
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