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Between the lines Week 23 - June 2022

Date: 09 June 2022

UK inflation poised to hit double-digits

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now forecasts average inflation to hit 8.7% in emerging markets and 5.7% in developed nations this year. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the IMF revised its projections upwards by 1.8% for developed countries and 2.8% for developing nations, taking its forecast global average for 2022 to 7.4%.

Inflation projections as of April 2022 in various countries

Losing its shirt?: Ted Baker

Last month, the troubled UK fashion retailer, Ted Baker, revealed that it had selected a preferred bidder after putting itself up for sale in April. However, on Tuesday (7 Jun), the fashion chain confirmed that this suitor will not be making a takeover offer. The news sent shares in Ted Baker tumbling 24%.

The company, which listed in 1997, did not disclose its preferred bidder but a media report last month suggested it was the New York-based Authentic Brands and that it was apparently willing to offer more than £1.50 per share.

The company’s value has plummeted since the forced departure of founder and former CEO Ray Kelvin amid accusation of misconduct in 2019. This was followed by an accounting scandal in 2020. By Tuesday morning, Ted Baker shares were down to £1.03 from a 2015 peak of £29.72 each.

Mr Kelvin has always denied any wrongdoing and still owns nearly 12% of the company he founded in 1988.

Musk escalates his spam war on Twitter

On Monday (6 Jun), Elon Musk escalated his previous threat to walk away from his $44bn offer to acquire the social media giant Twitter if it fails to provide the data on spam and fake accounts that he has been requesting ever since.

In a letter from Mr Musk’s lawyers to Twitter’s chief legal officer, he accused the microblogging company of being in a “clear material breach” of its deal obligations for failing to provide accurate data on the number of ‘bots’ and fake accounts infesting its platform.

The news saw Twitter shares fall another 1.5% on Monday to hit $39.57, some 25% down on the $52.20 a share deal proposed by Mr Musk.

Twitter has claimed that less than 5% of its total users are fake. Meanwhile, independent researchers have estimated that between 9% and 15% of all Twitter profiles may be bots while Mr Musk has tweeted that he believes it may be as high as 20%.

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Between the lines week 23

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