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This is Business Live from BBC News
with Sally Bundock and Ben Thompson.
Stopping the sales.
The EU looks at how it can prevent
foreign takeovers it doesn't like.
Live from London, that's our
top story on Tuesday
the 27th of February.
Protectionism or keeping
crucial assets in-house?
Europe is deciding on its actions
in the face of growing
investment from China.
EU ministers are
meeting in Bulgaria.
you all you need to know.
Also in the programme.
The Sky's the limit.
US cable TV giant Comcast
makes a $30 billion bid
for Rupert Murdoch's
European TV operation.
And the trading day has
just begun in Europe.
This is how the main
markets are faring.
The new Fed Chair Jerome Powell
is speaking in Washington today.
And how and why do
things go viral online?
We meet one of the firms
that says it can do it
all for you - for a price.
We'll get the inside track
on the world of online marketing.
Today, we want to know
do social media ads reel
you in or switch you off?
Let us know.
Just use the hashtag BBCBizLive.
Hello and welcome to Business Live.
Packed as usual so let's get
Does Europe need to do
more to protect itself
from foreign takeovers?
From German manufacuring to Greek
ports and UK data centres, there's
growing concern about how to make
doesn't cost know-how.
And EU trade ministers
are discussing this at their meeting
in Bulgaria today.
Foreign direct invesment into the EU
- that's when companies
invest their money in foreign
countries - came in at $370
billion last year.
Not all of it is considered
The President of the European
Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said
in September, "Europe must always
defend its strategic
interests" such as technology,
defence and infrastructure.
One of the biggest deals to spark
concern was the 2016 purchase
of Kuka, Germany's largest maker
of industrial robotics,
by China's Midea for $5.5 billion.
And there is particular concern
about companies linked
to foreign governments.
As China looks increasingly overseas
at technology and manufacturing
interests, its investors spent
a record $43 billion
on EU purchases in 2016.
That's almost double
the previous year.
Just yesterday, Germany's financial
regulator said it would look
into the $9 billion investment
in the car-maker Daimler,
which owns Mercedes,
by China's Geely, which hopes
to access Damiler's technology.
With me is Miriam Gonzalez,
an expert on European
trade law at Dechert LLP.
Thank you for joining us. Sally
running through the details on what
strikes me about this is about
trying to decide which investments
are welcomed and which are not and
that is the difficult thing, isn't
it? Some industries will say, "We
need access to this intellectual
property and technology", but then
the government might say, "Yes, but
it's a crucial industry". How do you
decide what is important?
there are no new things in this
proposal, the EU members, including
the UK, by the way, carry on these
reviews significant foreign
investment in certain sectors like
nuclear energy, cyber security,
financial services. This is
something countries have been doing
for a long time. It is done outside
the EU regularly, the US have a
particular mechanism and in
Australia, likewise, and in Canada,
they have investment reviews. These
things have been happening for a
long time. All the EU is doing is
two things, one, to ensure there is
more coordination and transparency
between the different EU member
states and something which is truly
new is that the EU will have a say
it's self whenever there is EU
programme at stake and I think that
is particularly in the area of
energy where we will see the impact
of that but there's nothing
revolutionary in this.
One of the
particular concerns right now is the
role China plays around the world.
We know it is expanding its reach in
all sorts of industries,
particularly energy but also
security and that is where there are
concerns about how closely linked to
the state many of the Chinese firms
Yes, that is absolutely
right but it is only in certain
areas that are clearly defined that
the EU member states are going to be
doing this and what the EU
Commission and Jean-Claude Juncker,
who presented the proposal in
September last year is telling them,
what you are doing, we want to see
more coordination and crucially more
transparency. So the more
transparent these processes are, the
better for everybody. It is a system
in the general international trade
system, it is allowed to do
something like this so there is no
mystery in it.
The US is
particularly tough when it comes to
vetting foreign investment, and
also, as you've touched on, places
like Japan. Is Europe still seen as
a bit of a soft touch when it comes
to foreign investment in that they
can buy up crucial assets?
know whether a soft touch. I think
the fact we have the EU market as a
whole and yet some of these reviews
are being done at the national level
opens up some possibilities that you
may not find, for example, in the US
between the federal, state and the
estate themselves. There is a bit
more of a gap but I don't think it
says much as to how tough or not you
may be. It is normal that there may
be some skin purity with -- some
security concerns, for example, on
anything related to cyber security.
Provided you do the review in a
transparent and accountable manner,
I think that should be OK.
debate will run and run, I'm sure
but for now, thank you.
There could be a battle for control
of the European pay-TV giant Sky.
In the last hour or so,
US cable giant Comcast has launched
a $31 billion bid for company.
That's despite Rupert Murdoch's 21st
Century Fox already having agreed
a deal worth more than $25 billion
for the 61% of Sky it
doesn't already own.
Our correspondent Theo Leggett
is in the Business Newsroom.
This is interesting. I notice Sky
shares up 18% this morning.
reason for that may well be that now
21st-century fox might have to
improve its own offer in order to
pull off the deal it really wants.
This announcement has really
throwing the cat among the pigeons.
Basically, pitting three of the
world's biggest media giants against
each other. On the one hand, you
have 21st to three fox which wants
to buy their share of Sky it does
not already own. That would be part
of a package sold onto the Walt
Disney company which wants to buy
21st-century fox's film and TV
assets and on the other hand,
Comcast, which has come in with a
surprise, all-cash offer, which it
says is superior to what Sky is
offering and Comcast says it wants
to take control of Sky because it
wants to expand internationally. It
says it would be happy to share
ownership with the Walt Disney
company but only if it has more than
50%, in other words, only if it has
full control and maybe Walt Disney
would not be particularly happy with
that. What we are going to see now
is a whole lot more toing and froing
and potentially higher bids as well.
Interesting as well because from
Rupert Murdoch's perspective, this
is another spanner in the works.
He's been desperate to acquire the
remainder of Sky for some time.
and he's been stymied for a long
time by regulators in Britain who
are concerned he was acquiring too
much influence in the British media.
Yeah, it's going to be interesting
to see what happens.
Thank you for
joining us. We will keep you right
across that story as we get more on
it this morning.
Let's take a look at some of
the other stories making the news.
The UK's minister for
International Trade is set to argue
that any form of customs union
with the EU after Brexit would be
a complete sell-out.
Liam Fox is expected to say having
EU limits on doing other deals
would make the UK less attractive.
On Monday, the leader of the Labour
opposition argued that staying in a
customs union would be best for
Pre-tax profits at
Standard Chartered have
jumped to $2.4 billion
over the past year,
after a period of
Despite surviving the financial
crisis relatively unscathed,
the bank struggled when commodity
prices later crashed.
The firm makes the bulk
of its revenue in Asia.
South Africa's former finance
minister Nhlanhla Nene has been
re-appointed to the post
by the country's new
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mr Nene was controversially
sacked two years ago.
In a wide-ranging reshuffle,
the new president has ousted several
former allies of Jacob Zuma.
He's called it a new
dawn for the country.
China's top economic advisor
will visit the US today
to talk about trade,
a tricky subject between
the two countries.
US trade officials recently
threatened to impose
a tariff on steel imports,
leading to threats of
retaliation from China.
Sarah Toms is in Singapore to tell
us how significant this is.
We have heard from both sides come
if you impose tariffs, we will do
the same but it's just ratcheting up
the pressure, isn't it?
but this is actually pretty
significant. China's top economic
adviser shows that China is taking
the mounting trade tensions with the
US very seriously. Mr Lu is seen as
a close ally to Xi Jinping and it is
likely the trusted deputy on a
mission to lobby the US and restart
trade talks. As you said, there are
a couple of problems between the US
and China at the moment. The first
is, there's an investigation into
whether Chinese companies have
infringed intellectual property
rights. Mr Trump must make a
decision in the next few weeks.
Secondly, it has got a problem with
the Chinese steel imported into the
US, as you mentioned. That comes
after tariffs were slapped on solar
panels. It is not clear who Mr Lu
will meet in Washington and we don't
know if the talks will be successful
until the US makes a decision on Day
Thanks, Sarah. We will
keep an eye on how he gets on in the
US. Let's take a quick look at the
Japan closing up over 1% higher
again, and Hong Kong, spoiling the
party a little bit. That is the
night before in the US. Moving on to
Europe, in the US on Wall Street, we
saw shares moving up to a four week
high, and in Europe right now,
markets across the board doing well,
Sky shares as we have mentioned up
some 18%, Liam Fox speaking today,
we have mentioned that as well so
keep an eye on the pound and the
euro for reaction to what he says.
In terms of Wall Street, let's go to
New York and find out what is on the
Ever since Jerome Powell took over
as chair of the Federal Reserve
earlier this month, markets have
been extremely volatile. He is not
to blame. It is because of
speculation about the pace of
interest rate rises in the US thanks
to strong economic data but
certainly, that timing -- bad timing
for Mr Powell. On Tuesday he will
present his first-ever semiannual
report to the House financial
services committee and is sure to be
grilled by lawmakers. Wall Street
will be watching with bated breath.
Department store chain Macy's will
report fourth-quarter results. Last
month the company announced it was
cutting thousands of jobs as it
struggles to compete with e-commerce
firms. And in a case which could
have wider implications, the US
Supreme Court will decide whether
Microsoft needs to turnover data
stored overseas to prosecutors in
America in a drug trafficking
Joining us is Maike Currie,
Good morning. Let's pick up on the
US theme because if you look at the
numbers now come you would be
forgiven for thinking one of the
volatility over the last couple of
weeks was never there, we're back up
to the levels of before.
We are, the
US markets as recouped a lot of
losses. All eyes on Jerome Powell.
This is his chance to draw a line in
the sand between him and his
predecessor, Janet Yellen. But of
course, she did a very good job on
reassuring markets, navigating the
path towards monetary normalisation.
The big question investors will be
looking for and scrutinising is
whether the US will have four
interest-rate rises this year. We
know three are on the cards but if
there could be another one.
I want to get your take on the
changes in South Africa. You are
from there, Cyril Roma Poser
announcing late last night a
brand-new cabinet with a new finance
minister, your thoughts?
positive, I think Mr Nene is right
for the job. Cyril Ramaphosa is a
businessman, we need him to bring
about the change, economic growth
was nonexistent under Jacob Zuma and
unimportant at record highs so very
positive for the country and of
course a lot of companies are dual
listed on the Johannesburg stock
exchange and the FTSE 100 and those
companies like old mutual and
Anglo-American has benefited from
the regime change.
We will keep a
close eye on it. For now, thank you.
Still to come...
Is that must-watch video
really going viral -
or just some clever marketing
from big business?
We'll meet one of the firms
that promises views,
likes and clicks - for a price.
You're with Business
Live from BBC News.
First, let's talk about the Great
Northern Exhibition, which promises
to exhibit great art and innovation
from the North.
Steph is in Gateshead to find out
what is planned.
Hello, today they are launching the
great exhibition. In the summer for
80 days across the region there will
be various events celebrating the
art, culture and history of the
whole of the North region. It is
about inspiring the next generation
of people to come up with future
innovations, but it is also about
celebrating the past as well. One of
the things that is part of it is a
water sculpture. That will run along
the time in Gateshead, it separates
Newcastle from Gateshead. There is a
lot more to it as well. You are the
executive director, tell us a bit
We have got a great example of
things we are showcasing in Lego and
some things from the Beatles to
grapheme, we are also creating a
virtual reality rocket. We have an
amazing, new 21st-century transport
port that will get you from Scotland
to Manchester in ten minutes. The
great North run. We are also
encouraging young people to be
inspired and create their own
And we have got this
driverless car. Hello. It is a car
you can sleep in. Something for the
future. There is a competition
running as well which will see a lot
of little inventors. Some of them
are here. They have come up with
some great ideas about life in 2030.
A lot going on to celebrate and even
in the background we have got a
wonderful choir and band. Hello! I
will leave them to play us out. You
get it all on this programme.
It is all happening out there today.
Our business life page has the
latest on one of my favourite
subjects, pasties, pies and food.
Profits up at Greggs, but they were
down at the end of last year.
You're watching Business Live.
Our top story:
EU trade ministers are meeting
in Bulgaria to work out
what they can do to stop foreign
takeovers they don't like.
There's growing concern
about companies with government
links buying companies just
to access their technology.
Some particular criticism has been
levelled at many Chinese firms and
they deny that.
they deny that.
A quick look at how
markets are faring..
Sky and shares are up 18% with the
news that Comcast is making a play
for Sky, which sparks a whole new
story in that. That is all on our
The chances are we will be talking
about that for the rest of the week.
In other news:
Companies are forever trying to come
up with ways to drum up sales
or increase clicks and views online.
And the best way to get
a brand or product to viral
is via social media.
But according to our next guest,
things don't just go viral by luck.
There's a whole industry behind it,
which two young British
entrepreneurs have built
a business around.
Social Chain is a social
marketing agency and social
media publishing house.
It owns and runs hundreds
of popular social media
accounts covering sport,
video games, fitness and food -
which have millions
of young followers.
Established by two then-students
in 2014, the company has grown
from just five staff two years
ago, to over 200 today.
And has an annual turnover of over
$12.5 million dollars.
that is £9 million.
that is £9 million.
Joining us is Steve Bartlett,
Co-founder and Chief Executive
of social media marketing agency,
Welcome. We have done a little bit,
but explain in more detail how your
There I2 companies
within the group and that is the
media business which is called Media
Chain, and then the marketing agency
which takes all the things we have
learnt from running these big global
channels and works with the world's
biggest brands to help them reach
Explain how this
began. This is about you spotting
what people are genuinely interested
in. Then finding out why people are
watching and relating back to
brands. How do you find those
interesting things in the first
I was an 18-year-old
university dropout building a
website and in doing so I became a
marketeer as well. I had to find out
how people came to my website. I had
a couple of thousand pounds, but I
needed a 1 million people for it to
prove the concept. I tried taking
ads out in newspapers and the
conventional things and they did not
work. It was not until I bought a
small Facebook page and posted my
website there that people came. I
doubled down on that and I found
myself going around the world
meeting every person I could who had
built a big social media channels in
their bedrooms. They all happen to
be super young. I met a 17-year-old
kid who had 15 million followers who
was running a fitness channel. We
all came together and acquired all
those assets and a few years ago we
started Social Chain.
who want to sell things, that is a
gift for them and you are giving
We never meant to start
marketing business or a media
company, that was never our design.
We were trying to figure out how to
get people to come to our product.
Then I got a call from a big brand
and I realised the website I was
building was less effective than the
social media site. Six or seven
years ago nobody would have
considered posting a brand on a
social media page.
How do you make
money from all of this?
media side brands will come to us,
we have 370 million followers across
different niche is, sports, food,
parenting, and they will come to ask
if they want to appear on these
slots. On the marketing side they
will come to ask if they want
challengers to solve. They might be
working out how to use social media
to get them to check them out.
I don't get is if there is a good
bit of content, a funny video, a
cute video of a cat, I can see how
that might go viral. But if I am a
brand and I come to you with a
corporate video and I wanted to go
viral, how do you make people watch
content that they don't want to
We might say no. We say no
much more than we say yes. When it
comes to our own video service we
note in the audience is we gave them
content and made them feel that the
content they cared about was what
they wanted. If it was tough to talk
about, our job is to try and find
the story in the brand that will
resonate with our audience. It is
like making movies. We are trying to
make content that will entertain and
make people feel something and if
they do, they will earn a share of
the brand's life.
Briefly, we are
out of time. Do you feel a
responsibility when it comes to your
100%. We will never speak
to our audience that will make them
feel inadequate orally to
addictions. We have a strong ethical
code and with power comes
Thank you for coming
in. Absolutely fascinating.
China's Huawei is the world's third
biggest smartphone maker but it's
having big problems trying
to sell its handsets in the world's
biggest economy, the United States.
The company's mobile boss has
told our correspondent
Rory Cellan-Jones it's
because of commercial reasons and US
security concerns are misplaced.
Every year we have strong
growth, every year.
We have the chance to be the number
one, maybe not far away.
Do you really think one day
you could be number one?
We have a chance.
Now, one of the problems
for you in achieving
that is trying to get
into the US market.
You are nowhere in the US market
because American politicians
don't trust you.
Why do you think that is?
Because, you know, some guy,
some political things trying to
keep us out because we are too
competitive but we have leading
technology, leading innovations.
They worry about that.
We're too strong.
Is that why American politicians
want to keep you out
because you're too competitive or
because they worry you are too close
to the Chinese government?
They are trying to say
that but actually we
are an independent company.
They are trying to use
kind of political
things to keep us out.
An interesting conversation. You
have rejoined us to talk about some
of the stories in the papers. We are
asking people related to our
previous guest about social media
ads and whether they are turned on
or turn off. Have you ever bought
anything from an advert on social
No. I think the whole point
of social media was to connect with
people you have not seen in a long
time or people who share common
interests with you and adverts are a
distraction and they are an invasion
of privacy because they look at what
you are browsing. I have never
Luke says the same,
I am not interested in the
slightest. Ian says, if they are
about things I am interested in I
Good content is far more
powerful than advertising.
has changed. Time is tight, but
really nice to see you this morning.
Thank you for your company, we will
see you tomorrow.