Your commercial news round-up: West Ham, Warner Music Group, UK-US trade deal, EY, Porsche

updated on 22 September 2022

Reading time: four minutes

On Monday 19 September, Queen Elizabeth’s funeral service was watched by 29.2 million people on television in the UK, official audience data has revealed. The Queen’s passing and preparations for her funeral dominated the news over the past week, so we’ve pulled together some of the other stories that you might have missed as a result. Read this week’s commercial news round-up to ensure you’re staying on top of your commercial awareness.

  • In the sporting industry, West Ham’s main sponsor Betway has been hit with a fine of more than £400,000 as a result of its marketing on children’s web pages. Between 14 April 2020 and 6 November 2021, Betway’s logo and a link to its website had been displayed on a website with printable teddy bear colouring pages, the Gambling Commission found. The watchdog also discovered that the logo and link appeared on the ‘Young Hammers at Home’ page between 24 October and 15 November 2021.

Due to the findings, the Gambling Commission claimed that Betway’s advertisements breached its “socially responsible” marketing rules with Leanne Oxley, director of enforcement, stating: “Protecting children from gambling harm is at the heart of what we do. Although there is no suggestion that the operator was deliberately targeting children, or that children had been allowed to gamble, we take the breach of any rules aimed at protecting children extremely seriously.”

In other sporting news, while the club isn’t officially for sale, former Manchester United board member Michael Knighton claims that his takeover bid for the football club is “moving forward as planned”. The club, which is currently owned by the Glazers, has been facing pressure from fans to make a change. The Glazer family is reportedly looking for an offer around the $4.3 billion mark in order to sell the club.

  • Multinational entertainment and record label firm Warner Music Group (WMG) has filed a lawsuit against Bang Energy and parent company Vital Pharmaceuticals over the alleged infringement of its music in social media adverts. Reuters reported that WMG’s lawsuit was filed in a court in Florida on Thursday 15 September. According to the lawsuit, Bang Energy has “achieved widespread commercial success by infringing” the record label’s music with Instagram, TikTok and Facebook having been “instrumental to Bang’s success”. WMG has claimed that Bang Energy has “misappropriated” nearly 200 of its “most popular and valuable” recordings and compositions, including music from Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa and Lizzo.  
  • Prime Minister Liz Truss has said that a UK-US trade deal isn’t an immediate priority, with no current negotiations taking place with the US. Speaking to reporters en route to the UN General Assembly, Truss explained that she doesn’t have “an expectation” that negotiations between the UK and US will start in “the short or medium term”. Instead, the prime minister’s trade priorities are focused on joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, along with trade deals with India and the Gulf states.
  • Big four firm EY has reported annual revenues of $45.4 billion, while its 13,000 partners are set to vote on a break-up this November, which would see the firm’s consulting division split from its audit business. Its global revenues rose by nearly 14% in the year to June, the fastest pace in nearly two decades and its total employee count increased by 17% to 365,000. EY’s advisory practices witnessed significant growth as companies looked to identify ways to reshape their operations and tech following covid-19 – its consulting division saw revenues increase by nearly 25% to $13.9 billion in the period. Bosses at EY believe the split, which is being voted on later this year, will help the consulting business to grow more quickly as various conflicts of interest rules will be removed.
  • Porsche is due to float on the Frankfurt stock exchange later this month and could be valued at as much as €75 billion, making it one of the largest European public offerings to date, according to the luxury carmaker’s parent company, Volkswagen. Around 49% of the money generated from the floatation is due to be used to pay a one-off special dividend to shareholders, with the rest being used to help fund the move towards electric vehicles and battery technology.

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