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  • Today's business and finance round up 10th February 2022

Today's business and finance round up 10th February 2022

💊Pharma giant GSK plans ‘landmark year’

10th February 2022

Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond

Good morning  It’s only February but it’s safe to say that the arrest of a wannabe rapper for laundering a record $5bn in bitcoin will be one of the strangest stories of 2022.Heather Morgan, also known – largely to herself – as "raunchy rapper" Razzlekhan, was arrested along with her husband Ilya "Dutch" Lichtenstein in New York on Tuesday. Since then the internet has been marvelling at the couple’s bizarre online presence. 

Today's stories

  • Pharma giant GSK plans ‘landmark year

  • Amazon backs UK TV industry with first studio

PHARMAPharma giant GSK plans ‘landmark year

What’s going on?GlaxoSmithKline has promised that 2022 will be a ‘landmark year’ with a ‘step change in growth’ as it prepares to spin off its consumer healthcare division. The news came as the pharma giant delivered better-than-expected 2021 results driven by strong Covid-related sales.

Why is this important?

GSK is one of the world’s biggest drugs companies making a wide range of prescription medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products.In 2021 it announced that it would separate its consumer healthcare division, which makes brands like Aquafresh, Sensodyne and Panadol, from its vaccines and medicine division so it can throw more weight behind getting better results in research and development. Last month it was revealed that it had turned down Marmite-maker Unilever’s offer for the consumer arm not once but three times, saying that the £50bn bid was too low.Yesterday GSK reiterated its 'plan A' to list the division on the stock exchange later this summer. Following the demerger the remaining business will target sales growth between 5-7% and profit growth of 12-14%. 

In recent times GSK has lagged behind rivals like AstraZeneca and Pfizer in its sales and profit growth. On top of that it still doesn’t have a Covid vaccine on the market (but it does have an antibody drug that generated almost a £1bn in sales).All of this has led shareholders to call for a shake up at the company with activist investors Elliott Management and Bluebell Capital Partners calling for the CEO Emma Walmsley to reapply for her job.

Zooming out

With the rejection of the £50bn Unilever offer still fresh in investor minds, the pressure will be on for GSK to execute a successful float of the consumer arm and prove that it made the right decision by turning down the offer.

MEDIAAmazon backs UK TV industry with first studio 

Amazon’s streaming arm, Prime Video, has signed a multimillion-pound long-term deal to lease 450,000 sq ft of space at Pinewood’s Shepperton Studios just outside London. It will be the tech giant’s first UK production unit and comes ahead of launching several British original series in the next two years.Pinewood’s world-renowned studios have been used for blockbusters including Star Wars, Harry Potter and Marvel’s Avengers.In 2020 it announced plans for a £500m expansion of its production and training facilities. Once construction is completed in 2023, Shepperton will be the second-biggest studio in the world. A record £5.6bn was spent on British TV and film production last year and streaming services have taken a huge interest, reflecting the talent in the UK creative industry.Amazon’s deal means it will be next door to rival Netflix which opened a production unit at Shepperton in 2019.Apple’s huge hit Ted Lasso is filmed at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park ground, and Disney, has announced its first slate of UK productions last April.In the fight for subscribers these streaming platforms are set to spend more than $100bn worldwide on production this year alone to create exclusive content.

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Airbnb hosts have earned $150bn since the company started in 2008

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