MT's week in 60 Seconds

The best of this week's business news: Gordon stumped, bankers bumped and Sony trumped...

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

The week began with Gordon Brown jetting off to Jeddah to try and convince OPEC to sell more oil at a lower cost. Not surprisingly, he couldn’t have been less popular if he’d popped round to David Davis’s house for tea. And as the oil price nudged disdainfully above the $140 mark, there were more restorative measures in the City: news emerged that some of the big investment banks were sacking lots of staff, while Barclays welcomed in some deep-pocketed Eastern investors. But investors at Bradford & Bingley weren’t happy about their potential US backers, TPG; four put together an alternative rescue package (although it received short shrift from the board).

And they weren’t the only gloomy shareholders this week: Currys owners DSG said it ended the year £200m in the red, Sony admitted it has lost $3bn on the PS3, and Siemens was criticised for being too German by its own CEO (what are the chances). Meanwhile two big names were doing damage control on key brands; Heinz pulled a new ad that showed two men kissing after it received hundreds of complaints, while brewer InBev (which this week was rebuffed by Anheuser-Busch) said it was launching a lower-alcohol version of Stella Artois to arrest sliding sales – and hopefully kill off its ‘wife-beater’ tag.

One brand with an altogether more positive (and lucrative) brand image around the world is the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which started this week amid glorious sunshine (that’ll never last). The UK train network also seems to be undergoing a bit of a renaissance, thanks to over-crowded roads, climate change and fuel prices – just a pity that the latest set of upgrades are behind schedule yet again (perhaps they should read our piece on how to be a great project sponsor).

Elsewhere, the Government announced plans to stamp out discrimination – by encouraging more discrimination. But it’s unlikely to salvage its reputation, particularly among small businesses, who are already irate about red tape and rising bills. Some people are even working two jobs to make sure they can afford to turn on the central heating next winter…

And our editor’s been out in Sri Lanka, where he reported back on a meeting with a former terrorist and the problem with aid agencies. We can’t imagine those displaced by the 2004 tsunami would lose too much sleep over a risqué mayonnaise ad...

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