Breakfast Briefing

Emmanuel Macron to be the next French President

May 8, 2017

Centrica - the company behind British Gas is struggling as consumers become more savvy over their ability to switch energy providers. A trading update published this morning showed the company has lost over a quarter of a million customers already this year. Although they are claiming this is due to them no longer supporting ‘collective switching agreements’, the market is clearly getting tougher for the UK’s big six energy supply firms.

Facebook - is reported to have launched a feature that will automatically spot fake news, based on the use of a series of algorithms. However, it’s perhaps the company’s support - along with Google - for third party fact checking services that is worthy of the biggest note. The service is set to be live ahead of the UK general election.

Pearson - we noted at the end of last week that the company’s management was set to face a stormy shareholder meeting.  Despite the jump in the share price that was seen on Friday morning, two thirds of investors rejected the idea of giving the Chief Executive a significant pay rise. As we have said before, activist investors do have the ability to make a real difference to the way a company is run.

Liberty Global - the US listed cable TV operator that has been tied to many a prospective media acquisition in the UK in recent years announced an 18% fall in profits from its European divisions, with high costs overshadowing growing customer numbers. The company bought Virgin media back in 2013 but it’s clear that the entertainment market remains a tough one to make money in.

France - voted for the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron to be its next President - a move that is seen as being good both for the French economy and the remainder of the European Union, too. There are some suggestions that the result will make the Brexit process even more difficult, although with a clear agenda of sweeping reforms to employ at home, this may be little more than media hype.