December 6, 2023
Business Live: Compass predicts strong growth; MusicMagpie Available for Sale; LSE appoints new finance boss

Companies with reports and trading updates today include Compass Group, MusicMagpie, Ashtead Group, Halma, Qinetiq and London Stock Exchange Group.

Microsoft moves to hire fired OpenAI boss Sam Altman

Microsoft has stepped in to appoint ousted OpenAI boss Sam Altman along with co-founder Greg Brockman to lead a new advanced AI research team, the tech giant’s CEO Satya Nadella has announced.

Nadella also appeared to confirm the reported appointment of Emmett Shear as the new CEO of OpenAI, a company with which Microsoft partners, saying he was “looking forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them.” Eager to work.

Compass Group’s organic revenue grew 19%

Darren Nathan, head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown, comments on Compass Group’s annual results:

Contract caterer Compass Group has delivered a set of full-year results that may satisfy shareholders’ interest. Volume and price contributed growth in equal measure, and encouragingly new business growth of 5% was recorded, above historical norms.

This reflects a structural growth opportunity in outsourcing as more businesses turn to Compass to ease supply chain and regulatory pressures. This is reflected in the fact that 50% of the £2.7 billion of new business achieved during the year came from clients who engaged in outsourcing for the first time.

Compass is the market leader, but with less than 15% share and 50% self-powered, it has a lot to offer. This should provide it some shelter from macroeconomic pressures and may leave some scope for upside given the guidance given for the new financial year.

Fortnums boss pleads, end tourist tax now

This weekend the boss of Fortnum & Mason gave a stern warning to the government to scrap the tourist tax in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement before it is ‘too late’ to stop the French losing sales revenue.

Tom Athron, chief executive of the luxury London food store, said: ‘Paris will be a very attractive proposition for visitors next year as it hosts the Olympics.

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Halfords talks £1.3bn Vans firm tie-up

Halfords has reportedly been approached about a potential merger with Van Hire firm Rede Northgate to create a combined group worth more than £1.3 billion.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the two companies held detailed talks about a ‘zero premium’ agreement – ​​in which neither company receives a premium on the market price of its shares.

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CBI chief’s ‘low growth’ warning increases pressure on Chancellor over taxes

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) will urge Jeremy Hunt to save the UK from ‘low growth and lost opportunities’ as it finalizes its autumn statement today.

This will increase pressure on the Chancellor to ease the burden on businesses by making permanent a rebate on the ‘full spend’ tax, which rewards investment but is due to end in 2026.

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