Sainsbury’s is to close 420 Argos shops, reducing the number of Argos standalone stores to around 100 by March 2024. At the same time the retailer is to open up to 150 more Argos stores within Sainsbury's and add 150-200 more Argos collection points in its supermarkets and convenience stores. Sainsbury’s says the changes will result in around 3,500 job losses. Sainsbury’s bought Argos for £1.4bn in 2016.
The financial impact the pandemic is having on even the biggest sporting brands is made clear in Manchester United’s newly released annual results. The football club slumped to a £23m loss for 2019/20 compared with a £19m profit the year before. Covid restrictions forced the Premier League to be halted for three months and when matches were resumed spectators were banned. On top of the lost income from match day ticket sales, clubs were forced to pay rebates to broadcasters. Manchester United’s total revenue for the year was down £118m to £509m, exacerbated by the club not qualifying for the
Despite announcing a stronger than expected post-lockdown trading performance, pub and brewery group Marston's has announced it is to cut up to 2,150 jobs. Marston’s, which following the national lockdown has reported sales down only 10% compared to last year, believes the recently announced ‘3 Tier’ system of guidance and restrictions “present significant challenges to us and will make business more difficult for a period of time”.
Nvidia, an American manufacturer of high performance graphics cards and processors, has bought Arm for £30bn. Headquartered in Cambridge, Arm’s processor designs are used by the world’s leading technology companies. Nvidia will invest in Arm’s UK-based research and development, with plans for an Arm/Nvidia-powered AI supercomputer to be used for cutting edge research.
William Hill, one of the most established sports betting brands in the UK, has been taken over by the American gambling giant Caesars Entertainment. The £2.9bn deal combines Caesars’ land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming ventures in the USA, where it already works with William Hill through a joint venture.
Whitbread has started consultations that could lead to the loss of 6,000 jobs at the owner of Premier Inn. The UK hotels sector has been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with government restrictions forcing all hotels to close during the lockdown and a big reduction in the numbers of international travellers visiting the country this year. Whitbread employs more than 35,000 people in more than 1,200 Premier Inn hotels and restaurants across the UK.
The German software distributor Compuwave has been taken over by QBS, specialist distributor of enterprise software delivery platforms. The deal is QBS’s third acquisition since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020.
Perspective Financial Group has made its 36th acquisition since with 2008 with the purchase of Jones Hill. Established in 1996, Jones Hill is an independent financial adviser which currently advises 160 clients and manages £44m of client assets.
Cordia International, a residential real estate developer which operates across Hungary, Poland, Spain, Germany and Romania, has moved into the UK market with the acquisition of Blackswan Property. Headquartered in Birmingham, Blackswan is currently working on a range of mixed-use developments in the West Midlands region.