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  • Daily business and finance update 5th January 2024

Daily business and finance update 5th January 2024

BT overcharging claims

Good morning. Today we're talking about allegations of BT overcharging, Big Tech’s big earnings and a Chinese property giant in trouble.

Big Stories

BT overcharging claims

Over 3m BT customers, many from elderly and low-income households, are seeking up to £400 each in a £1.3bn class action lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the telecoms giant, overcharged them for landline services. Spearheaded by a former Ofcom executive, the lawsuit accuses BT of exploiting its market dominance to impose "excessive" charges on landline users. This follows a 2017 Ofcom investigation that concluded people relying solely on landlines received "poor value for money.” If successful, the lawsuit could result in significant payouts for affected customers and potentially force BT to reform its pricing practices. The company denies the allegations, claiming their bills are accurate and compliant.

Tech firms surge

Apple, Amazon and Meta released their latest financials with all three beating analyst revenue expectations. Amazon posted a huge $170bn revenue for the last three months of 2023. The news came after the ecommerce giant abandoned a planned $1.4bn acquisition of the robot vacuum cleaner company iRobot amid European opposition to the deal. Meta announced it will pay out its first-ever dividend to shareholders, sending its valuation past $1.2tr. Apple reported a revenue increase for the first time in a year and launched the Vision Pro mixed-reality device. Apple, however, also revealed a 13% sales decline in China amid local competition with Huawei.

Property giant collapses

China’s Evergrande, which owes $300bn, has been ordered to wind-up by a Hong Kong court. The debt-burdened real estate firm, which defaulted in 2021, has become a symbol of the property bust in China, which has so many homes sitting vacant that an ex-official admitted even its population of 1.4bn could not fill them. Now, investors around the world will be watching the liquidation process to see how foreign investors fare as a test of how China’s system treats international businesses. Trading in Evergrande shares was suspended after the stock tumbled 21%.


Happy birthday: Facebook turns 20, how the social media giant changed the world.

Cutting back: PayPal says it will cut another 2,500 jobs, or 9% of its global workforce, a year after making a similar move.

Retail revival: The co-founder and boss of Superdry is hoping to buy back the struggling fashion brand as it considers store closures after a slump in sales.

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Number of the Day

$55.8 billion

The value of the Tesla boss Elon Musk’s compensation package that has been rejected by a judge.

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