WATCHDOG HINTS AT CURBS ON TARGETED WEB ADS
Companies such as Google and Yahoo could face tougher scrutiny in the UK after the Office of Fair Trading said it could step in to regulate targeted advertising on the internet. The watchdog said that more needed to be done to ensure that consumer rights were not violated when companies collected data on internet users’ browsing habits and used these to show them adverts related to their interests.
CONCERNS RISE OVER STUDENT LOANS SERVICE
Fears have grown that last year’s student loans fiasco could be repeated in the coming months, after the publication of a damning report into the Student Loans Company prompted the resignation of its top two executives. The report by PwC, the financial services firm, expressed “serious concerns” about SLC’s ability to make several “improvements” in time for this year’s round of student applications for government-funded loans. It said “significant work” was still required if the body were to manage the peak summer season for applications.
HGCAPITAL PAYS £100M FOR KEYS TO SIMONSVOSS
HgCapital has stepped up its spending spree by completing its fourth buy-out in as many months with the £100m purchase of SimonsVoss Technologies, the German digital lock maker. Fresh from raising a new £1.85bn buy-out fund earlier this year, HgCapital has completed a string of new investments, searching for bargains amid the debris left from the financial crisis. The buy-out of SimonsVoss, which makes radio-based digital door locking systems, follows the takeovers of a Swedish disability care service company; a Norwegian human resources software group; and a UK laundry equipment maker.
IBERDROLA SELLS US GAS DISTRIBUTORS
Iberdrola has agreed the $1.3bn sale of three gas businesses in the US, marking the latest in a series of non-core asset divestments at Spain’s largest electricity group. The world’s biggest wind energy generator said it would sell Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation, Southern Connecticut Gas Company and the Berkshire Gas Company to UIL Holdings Corporation, parent of electric utility The United Illuminating Company.
MICROSOFT RESTRUCTURE TO GET BACK IN THE GAME
Microsoft has moved to shake up its struggling consumer devices division as the company tries to keep up with Apple and Google in the fast-growing smartphone market. The chief of its division focused on mobile phones, videogames and other consumer devices is to retire and will not be replaced. Instead the heads of the two units in charge of games and phones will report directly to chief executive Steve Ballmer.
CUTS THREATEN HOUSING WITH ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
Millions of pounds of funds allocated to housebuilders for new developments have been pulled at the eleventh hour as part of planned government spending cuts. The Homes and Communities Agency confirmed yesterday that it would cut £100m off the budget for low-cost home-ownership schemes, which are popular with first-time buyers and have helped housebuilders to sell property in a mortgage-starved market. A further £50m will be shaved off Kickstart, a programme designed to revive mothballed housing developments.