Clients question Google ads
Some of Google’s clients have questioned its assertion that it does not sell to customers from its London office, a key plank in its ability to operate almost tax-free in Britain, a poll said on Friday. Meanwhile, the company began amending advertisements for London-based jobs on its Web site, which previously said that candidates would have to achieve “sales quotas” and “drive revenues.” Google Inc says it sells all advertising in the UK, France and Germany from its Dublin office. The Drum, a magazine for marketing professionals, asked 80 ad buyers and digital agencies about their dealings with Google’s London office and their interaction with the office in Dublin. Of the 29 that replied to the survey, “Almost 80 percent of respondents said they dealt with London when buying Google advertising. Around 14 percent said they used Dublin, the remainder said they did not know,” The Drum’s Web site said.
Recession likely to deepen
The eurozone’s recession will be even deeper than previously feared this year, the European Commission said, as it slashed its outlook for crisis-stricken Cyprus and downgraded the prospects of the bloc’s biggest economies. The EU’s executive arm now expects GDP in the single currency zone to shrink by 0.4 percent this year, a sharper decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 0.3 percent. The recovery penciled in for next year will also be slower than expected and the unemployment crisis in the eurozone will persist, the commission said in its spring forecasts.
HP investors file complaint
Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) ignored warnings about accounting irregularities at Autonomy Corp and failed to properly vet its finances before acquiring the British software maker, shareholders said in a lawsuit. Hewlett-Packard board members performed “no technical due diligence” and the company’s executives and advisers “misrepresented facts to conceal their own failings,” Joseph Cotchett, an attorney for investors, said in a complaint filed on Friday. Autonomy engaged in “round trip transactions” in which it bought goods from its customers, and engaged in other forms of aggressive revenue recognition to inflate its financial health, according to the complaint. Hewlett-Packard faces shareholder lawsuits stemming from its Nov. 20 announcement that it was taking an US$8.8 billion writedown on the value of British software maker Autonomy, which it agreed to buy for US$10.3 billion in 2011.
Service firms beat forecasts
Hopes that the UK’s economy could be stabilizing have been bolstered by data showing that services companies posted their strongest performance last month since the Olympics. Activity beat expectations with its strongest growth for eight months in the closely watched Markit/CIPS PMI survey of the UK’s services sector, which accounts for 75 percent of GDP. At 52.9 the index for last month was above economists’ forecasts and well clear of the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction. The PMI data came as Olli Rehn, European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said the UK cannot risk a fiscal stimulus program because of high debt levels.