Industry

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The Market

See my notes in MindNode re this


Mergers

  • Aug.25.2018: Giant firms ‘may change way economy functions’. Competition authorities across the world should be looking into the increasing dominance of a shrinking number of mega-companies, Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said. Market concentration has been growing in the West as big business grabs a larger share. The power exerted by firms such as Amazon and Google, and other companies showing monopolistic traits, has become a hot topic among policymakers, who worry that they are changing the way in which the economy functions. Giant companies may be pushing wages down, driving prices up and be partly to blame for weak global productivity by investing less, as they keep more profit. His observations may have implications for Britain, where this week the Competition & Markets Authority launched an investigation into the proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda. A tie-up would give the group a 31 per cent market share. Mr Haldane said evidence showed that market concentration in Britain had increased sharply between 1998 and 2010, although it had flattened off since. “The emergence of a set of firms with significant degrees of market power clearly raises big questions about the appropriate stance of competition policy,” Mr Haldane said. “How these anti-trust issues are tackled could have implications for the structure and dynamics of the economy and hence for the setting of monetary policy.” The dominant companies may have “influenced the pricing and provision of goods and services . . . and the amount of investment and innovation undertaken”, Mr Haldane said. They may also “exercise monopsonistic [sole buyer] power over workers”, he added. “There is some empirical evidence linking market concentration to a lower labour share.” Philip Aldrick, The Times.
  • Aug.24.2018: Watchdog will block Asda merger if it hits shoppers. The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) said it needed to ascertain how the deal could affect competition for consumers as Sainsbury's and Asda were not only large grocery retailers, in stores and online, but also competed to sell fuel, electricals, toys and clothing. The inquiry will consider whether the deal could reduce choice, increase prices and lead to a deterioration in the quality of service. The Times has this week published a series analysing the impact of the multibillion-pound merger, which identified fears that suppliers will bear the brunt of cost savings and workers could lose their jobs. Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said the CMA would also look at whether the merged company could use its increased buyer power to turn the screw on suppliers, which could hit shoppers. Deirdre Hipwell, The Times. My comment: Apart from the suppliers - who will most definitely be sacrificed at dawn - even the rabid neoliberals over the pond are asking themselves this week if allowing companies to get too big is the reason for wage stagnation. FFS - it doesn't take an Einstein to work out that a surplus of workers plus the gig economy (hire 'em & fire 'em at will) is the perfect recipe for low wages. And this merger will just exacerbate the situation. Morons! Why is this being allowed? It's NOT just about consumers, the issue is far, far bigger than that!
  • May.21.2018: Big mergers and tiny factories can each pose problems for workers. A spate of multibillion-dollar mergers is redrawing the corporate landscape, keeping armies of lawyers, bankers and regulators busy. Some economists believe it is changing the shape of the labour market, too. We usually fret about the impact mergers might have on consumers: fewer, bigger companies can mean less competition and higher prices. But what about the impact on workers? Cetus News.

Food & Drink Industry

Junk Food

  • Feb.15.2017(?): Channel 4 Dispatches: Tricks of the Junk Food Business, YouTube.
  • Oct.25.2016: Dispatches: The Secret Plan to Save Fat Britain, Video.me, Channel 4 page. Dispatches looks at how Theresa May’s government dismantled David Cameron’s obesity strategy in 36 days. Obesity is costing the struggling NHS billions every year and threatening the next generation. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has described tackling the childhood obesity crisis as a national emergency. In the wake of the heavily criticised government childhood obesity strategy, Channel 4 Dispatches reveals the details of a much more ambitious plan that never saw the light of day.

Pharmaceutical Industry

  • 2018.01.02: Activist investor Elliott has been putting pressure on the drugmaker @WSJ >> Alexion Agrees to Work With Hedge Fund Elliott on Filling Board Seat Wall Street Journal, Aisha Al-Muslim
  • 2018.01.24: Drugmakers "flush with cash" and hunting for deals This year, the pace of those discussions was more frenetic than it has been for a decade, many are predicting the tentative talks will morph into a bumper crop of mergers and acquisitions in 2018. Financial Times, David Crow, James Fontanella-Khan