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  • Daily business and finance update 8th April 2024

Daily business and finance update 8th April 2024

Mobile merger hits hurdle

Good morning. Today we're talking about the Vodafone-Three merger, store inflation and Google search.

Big Stories

Mobile merger hits hurdle

Plans for Vodafone to merge its UK operations with Three have hit a roadblock. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an in-depth investigation due to concerns the £15bn deal could lead to higher prices and harm competition. The CMA also expressed worries about reduced service quality and a potential disadvantage for smaller mobile networks like Sky Mobile and Lebara. Vodafone and Three didn't offer solutions to address these concerns, prompting the investigation. The proposed merger, announced last year, would bring 27m customers together under a single provider and create the UK's largest mobile network. The CMA investigation could take at least 24 weeks and potentially block the merger entirely. Vodafone and Three argue the deal allows for greater investment and competition against rivals like BT/EE and Virgin Media-O2.

Store inflation drops

Store inflation in the UK has reached its lowest point in over two years, with food prices leading the decline. The trend is attributed to intense competition among supermarkets offering deals and price cuts, particularly around Easter. According to industry body the British Retail Consortium, overall inflation dropped to 1.3% in March, down from 2.5% the previous month. Food price inflation, which has been steadily decreasing for 10 months, now sits at 3.7%, compared to 5% in February. While Easter treats saw some price increases, shoppers benefitted from lower costs on chocolate, sugar, jam, dairy products, electrical goods, clothes and shoes. This decrease in inflation fuels speculation that the peak of the recent price surge may have passed.

Google considers search pay wall

After nearly 25 years Google may be rethinking its free-for-all approach to search. The tech giant is reportedly considering charging for access to AI-powered search features powered by their technology, Gemini. This potential shift marks a first: Google has never charged for its core search engine. The move is seen as a response to competition from AI chatbots like ChatGPT, which offer comprehensive answers instead of just links. However, running AI search is expensive due to the immense computing power required. This cost may translate to users paying for access to these advanced features, potentially disrupting the traditional ad-based search model. Google's decision could significantly impact the future of search by influencing the ad market and website traffic generation.


Troubled waters: Thames Water has seen its troubles deepen after its parent company defaulted on part of its huge debt pile.

Banned ad: A Nationwide advert featuring actor Dominic West that claimed the building society was not closing branches has been banned.

Exit carrot: McKinsey is offering some staff 9 months of pay and career-coaching services to leave the firm.

Password protection: Disney+ will begin cracking down on password sharing within months, it has been announced.

Cutting back: Amazon has announced job cuts affecting hundreds of staff at its cloud computing business.

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$1.1 billion

The estimated net worth of popstar Taylor Swift according to Forbes magazine. She’s the first musician to become a billionaire solely based on her songs and performances.

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