Friday, April 10, 2015 at 11am

Business News Weekly Roundup: April 10 2015

business news roundup

LinkedIn acquires online learning company

LinkedIn has acquired California-based online learning firm, lynda.com in a deal worth US$1.5 billion – its largest acquisition to date. California-based lynda.com offers a range of business courses to its users for an annual fee of US$375, and has enjoyed strident growth in the past two years, reports the BBC. Shares in LinkedIn rose by 1.5% on the NYSE after the announcement.

Lynda.com’s courses, ranging from those aimed at individuals to those designed to be used by business, government and educational institutions, are offered in English, German, French, Spanish, and Japanese.

Banks’ warnings on clearinghouses begin to resonate with regulators

Clearinghouses played a key role in restoring calm after the drama of 2008, ostensibly providing a safety net to ensure that the failure of any one institution would not imperil the whole system. However, this is to overlook the fact that, JPMorgan Chase & Co and BlackRock Inc. have warned that clearinghouses themselves are by no means impervious to collapse – an outcome that would cause mass chaos which could easily measure up to, if not exceed, what has already happened, reports Bloomberg, in that they would take down any number of institutions with them. Recommendations center on clearinghouses putting some of their own money to one side in case of a crisis.

Regulators, it seems, have also come round to this view, with Federal Reserve governor Daniel Tarullo entering into dialogue with Wall Street to assess the level of risk. Staff have been assigned to strengthen oversight of clearinghouses and new Federal Reserve deputy director, Matthew Eichner, is charged with being alive to the potential dangers posed by entities such as clearinghouses.

A letter to treasury secretary Jacob J. Lew, signed by CME, ICE, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. and the Options Clearing Corp. responded to the warning by suggesting that banks were acting in their own interests, and further countered the concerns raised by stating the clearinghouses were not risk-taking organizations.

FTSE performance nears record levels despite UK political uncertainty

Reuters reports that the FTSE 100 Index neared record highs today (Friday April 10 2015), in spite of a weakening of the pound, which fell to its lowest level against the dollar in five years (although it is faring well in comparison to the euro, which is at a 10-year low against the dollar, and having its future as a reserve currency being called into question as a result of quantitative easing – a policy which has drawn criticism from the Obama administration).

With a 5.2% gain in share prices, pharmaceutical firm, Shire, enjoyed the biggest gain, with the US FDA giving priority review to a dry-eye treatment called lifitegrast. Real estate also fared well, with homebuilders Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey benefiting from rebounding property prices.

A weakened currency could actually work in the UK’s favor, with traders pointing out that it could help exporters. 

Meanwhile in Japan, finance ministry leads mascot cull

Japan’s passion for brand mascots is well known. However, it seems that some believe that said passion has spiraled out of control. Indeed, even those with a weak spot for kitsch might raise an eyebrow at the idea of Mirai – the dog who represents Osaka’s local tax office.

Well, represented. Mirai is one of the victims of a cull instigated by Japan’s finance ministry, which has called for local governments to cut back on those mascots deemed not to be cost effective, The Guardian reports.

Osaka was deemed to be worst-offending prefecture, which had no fewer than 92 of the things – over 20 of which have been shown the door, presumably being forced to make a living in the private sector. One district (Rumoi) saw eight animal-style mascots combining to form a robot, which may go some way towards lowering its ration of one mascot to 6,500 people.

On top of the sizeable pile of mascots, we find Funassyi, mascot for the city of Funabashi. We can’t link to Funassyi, because quite frankly, it is too terrifying…

 

 

 

 

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Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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