Digital Transformation » 5 things FDs need to know this week

1. Vantiv and Worldpay reach agreement on merger

Vantiv and Worldpay have reach an agreement on the terms of a merger between the two companies. The merger values Worldpay at £9.3bn, and under the agreed terms, Vantiv shareholders will own 57% of the combined company, with Worldpay shareholders owning 43%.

A statement released on Wednesday said that following the merger Cincinnati, Ohio, would become the company’s new global and corporate headquarters, with London as the international headquarters. The combined company’s name will be Worldpay.

Charles Drucker, current president and CEO of Vantiv, will lead the company as executive chairman and co-CEO. Existing CEO of Worldpay, Philip Jansen, will become co-CEO, reporting to Drucker, along with Stephanie Ferris as CFO. Ferris is currently CFO of Vantiv.

Drucker commented: This is a powerful combination that is strategically compelling for both companies. It joins two highly complementary businesses, and will allow us to achieve even more together than either organisation could accomplish on its own.”

Jansen said: This is a merger of two world class payment companies, which will create a global omni-commerce leader, with substantial opportunities to capitalise on the rapid evolution of payments… Our unique combination of scale, innovation, technology and global presence will mean that we can offer more payment solutions to businesses, whether large or small, global or local, enabling them to meet consumers’ increasing demands and helping them prosper.”

Earlier this week, Paddy Power Betfair named the existing Worldpay UK CEO Peter Jackson as its new CEO.

 

2. UK government publishes statement of intent on GDPR

The government has committed to tightening data protection laws under the General Data Protection Regulation.

The government’s Data Protection Bill will transpose the EU-led GDPR into UK law. The provisions include holding data handlers to account for the data they process, and allowing the public greater control over their personal data. Businesses that fail to meet the data protection requirements will be subject to increased fines up to a maximum of 4% of turnover or €20m, whichever is higher.

The GDPR applies from 25 May 2018.

One company sure to be taking note of the new rules will be TalkTalk. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced on Thursday that it has fined TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC £100,000 as it “failed to look after its customers’ data and risked it falling into the hands of scammers and fraudsters”.

An investigation found that TalkTalk staff had access to “large quantities” of customer data, and that a lack of security left the data “open to exploitation”. The ICO had begun the investigation into how customer data had been released after TalkTalk received complaints of scam calls from customers in September 2014.

Learn more about how to comply with GDPR with our 10 key steps to take in preparation of the new rules.

 

3. Lord Darling recalls being ‘shook to the core’ during financial crisis

Ten years on from the financial crisis and former chancellor Lord Darling has recalled “the most scary moment” of the financial crisis. Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Darling said that a morning conversation with the then-chairman of RBS in which it was disclosed that the bank was “haemorrhaging” money and would run out by the afternoon “shook me to the core”.

“Remember this is a bank that not only was the biggest in the world, it was about the same size of the entire UK economy – it was that big,” said Darling.

Without the government bailout, there would have been “blind panic throughout the entire banking system, not just in the UK, but in America, in Europe – we were that close to a total collapse,” he added.

Asked whether he would like to return to the chancellor position, juggling interest rates, a slowing economy and Brexit, Darling asserted that he would not want a return to politics, but voiced concern over the UK’s exit from the EU.

“What on earth are we going to go post-Brexit?” he asked. “Because just at the moment it looks like the government hasn’t a clue.”

 

4. Amazon faces criticism over tax bill

Amazon has encountered fresh criticism this week, as statements filed by on Companies House this week revealed that the retail giant had halved its corporation tax bill in the UK to £7.4m in 2016, compared to £15.8m paid in 2015.

The filing revealed that while the tax bill was cut, turnover for Amazon UK Services increased by 54% from £946m in 2015 to £1.46bn in 2016.

A spokesperson for Amazon UK said: “We pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate. Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly competitive, low margin business and our continued heavy investment.”

 

5. Tata Steel UK announces new pension scheme arrangement

Tata Steel UK has announced that it has signed an arrangement to separate the British Steel Pension Scheme from the company.

Following a 28-day period, the Pensions Regulator was expected to approve the arrangement, said the Tata Steel statement, and the arrangement would enter into effect once the company had made a payment of £550m to the British Steel Pension Scheme.

Tata Steel UK also announced that it had reached an agreement for the sponsorship of a new pension scheme, to which all members of the British Steel Pension Scheme would be invited to transfer.

Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director of Tata Steel, said that the arrangement was “one important milestone in Tata Steel UK’s journey towards a sustainable and enduring future”.

The arrangement is thought to remove existing obstacles to a merger between the European businesses of Tata Steel and Thyssenkrupp.