Business Bitesize

Photo credit: Ell Brown

Photo credit: Ell Brown

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been fined £390 million by US and UK authorities following its part in the Libor rate-fixing scandal, over £100 million more than that issued to Barclays last year for similar offences. The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) reported that the misconduct at RBS was “widespread”, with over 219 inappropriate requests for submissions for Libor rates documented along with countless numbers of oral requests.

These wrongdoings took place over a period of nearly five years until as recently as November 2010 – two years after the £45.5 billion bailout. To date the bank is still 81%-owned by the taxpayer, with George Osborne quick to assure the public that “the bill for any US fine related to this investigation should on this occasion be paid for by the bankers, and not the taxpayer”.

According to RBS, all 21 of the employees indicted in the wrongdoing have either been disciplined or left the bank, with Sir Phillip Hampton, RBS Chairman, pledging new measures to “fix the culture in the banking industry”.

Virgin Media has accepted a $23.3bn (£15bn) takeover bid from international cable company, Liberty Global. The US firm reported that the merged entity will have 25 million customers across 14 countries, with the potential to reach almost 47 million homes. The deal, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, will create the world’s largest broadband company and also the second biggest pay-TV business after BskyB in the UK.

Dell Computers is to be bought back by founder Michael Dell, in a $24.4bn (£15.5bn) move that will take Dell off the Nasdaq stock exchange after 25 years. In recent years the firm has struggled to compete with cheap Asian rivals as well as rising sales of smartphones and tablet computers.
It is hoped that this freedom from quarterly reporting and share price worries will allow the firm to refocus on its core markets all the while expanding its ever-growing cloud computing services.

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