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Europe’s tech start-up scene is giving Silicon Valley a run for its money.

Europe is home to more than twice as many tech initial public offerings (IPOs) as the U.S. so far this year, while newly-listed European companies are outperforming their American counterparts, according to a report by venture capital firm Atomico.

The research, released Tuesday at the Slush tech conference in Helsinki, Finland, suggests investors could reap big returns from Europe’s technology start-ups. Citing data from the London Stock Exchange, it found 69 tech companies have gone public in Europe so far this year, compared to 28 in the U.S.

European tech companies that went public in 2018 saw their share price increase by an average of 222 percent. By contrast, U.S. tech IPOs had average gains of 42 percent.

“This year has been an incredible year for the European tech ecosystem,” Tom Wehmeier, partner and head of research at Atomico who authored the report, told CNBC.

The fourth annual report surveyed 5,000 respondents across Europe. It said one reason the continent outpaces the U.S. in the tech IPO market is that European exchanges are more supportive of smaller companies that want to go public. Sixty-two out of Europe’s 69 tech IPOs had a market cap below $1 billion.

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Theresa May offers UK lawmakers a vote on second Brexit referendum



British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives to speak to the media at the end of the first of a two-day summit of European Union leaders on March 21, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has offered lawmakers a vote on whether to have a second Brexit referendum if they approve her withdrawal agreement.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, May outlined her new Brexit proposals which are being voted on by politicians next month. Her previous agreement has been rejected three times by U.K. lawmakers.

Detailing her new deal, she said that the government would include a requirement to vote on whether to hold a second Brexit referendum. May’s new proposal is seen as a last-ditch attempt to get her Brexit deal through Parliament, and the promise of a vote on a referendum could sway many pro-Remain politicians to back her deal.

“For those MPs who want to a second referendum to confirm the deal, you need a deal and therefore a withdrawal agreement bill to make it happen,” May said Tuesday.

“This (vote) must take place before the Withdrawal Agreement can be ratified,” May told reporters.

“And if the House of Commons were to vote for a referendum, it would be requiring the government to make provisions for such a referendum including legislation if it wanted to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Sterling jumped Tuesday afternoon just before her speech, following a report that May would allow lawmakers a free vote on a second Brexit referendum. A free vote would mean politicians could choose their own preferred option — and not be “whipped” into a decision by party chiefs — potentially improving the chances of another Brexit referendum as lawmakers in the U.K. Parliament are largely pro-remain.

The Bloomberg report, citing sources, said that May had proposed the idea to her senior politicians, sparking a backlash from pro-Brexit ministers in her cabinet.

The pound jumped 0.7% to $1.2815 from $1.2725, its highest since Friday, according to Reuters, before giving up some of those gains. By 4.40 p.m. London time, sterling was trading at around $1.276.

May’s new Brexit bill also contained new guarantees on workers’ rights, the Irish backstop and a customs “compromise.”

On Friday, six weeks of talks between the most senior lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party and main opposition Labour party ended with no deal. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that talks had “gone as far as they can go” and his party will now oppose her Brexit proposal.

Corbyn added that the lack of support behind May and the likelihood that she will soon be replaced as prime minister had undermined talks. On Thursday last week, May met with a powerful committee of MPs (Members of Parliament) within her own party, with reports suggesting that she has been told to depart by June 30 at the latest.

—CNBC’s David Reid contributed to this article.

WATCH: UK needs to get on with Brexit, says former trade minister

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Boris Johnson to be the next UK leader by September, JP Morgan predicts



Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May (L) sits with Britain’s Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

LEON NEAL | AFP | Getty Images

Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson will win the race to be the next leader of the United Kingdom and quickly call a general election to gain support for his Brexit plan.

That’s the new base-case scenario from the investment bank J.P. Morgan, who said Tuesday the probability that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal has also risen.

The bank predicted in a research note that Johnson would win a leadership contest and be in place by early September. It added that within days of this, the EU will reject Johnson’s call to remove the controversial Irish backstop arrangement from any Brexit withdrawal deal.

The backstop plan is essentially a legally-binding insurance policy to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It has been provisionally agreed between the EU and the current U.K. government led by Prime Minister Theresa May, but Johnson and other “Brexiteers” consider it a means by which Europe can continue to dictate terms.

J.P. Morgan said that while Brussels will deny Johnson’s fresh Brexit plan, it will grant the U.K. a further extension of membership until the end of December. This would allow the time for a new a U.K. general election.

The bank’s analysis has increased the chances of a “no-deal Brexit” to 25% from the previous 15% level, reflecting fears that a U.K. leadership contest could spice up anti-Brussels sentiment.

“It is not difficult to imagine one or more EU leaders responding to a bellicose turn in U.K. rhetoric by stating they will not support a further extension of Article 50,” said the note.

The investment bank also noted that a leadership victory for Johnson would likely trigger a number of defections from within the Conservative Party, strengthening the case for a general election.

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‘Junk news’ gets higher engagement on Facebook ahead of EU elections



A tablet with the word fakebook is seen in this photo illustration on October 6, 2017.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Misleading news stories from doubtful sources drew in as much engagement on Facebook as articles from legitimate sources in the run up to European elections, according to a study from Oxford University.

The findings, published Tuesday by the Oxford Internet Institute, said individual so-called “junk news” stories got up to four times as many shares, likes and comments as content from reputable sources.

Junk news was defined by the institute as articles from outlets that publish “deliberately misleading, deceptive or incorrect information,” typically with an ideological slant.

“On Facebook, junk news outlets tended to receive more engagement per story, but are seen, shared, and liked by far less people overall,” academics at the university wrote in a research paper.

“Most viral junk news stories in our data set revolved around controversial political issues such as immigration and security rather than focusing directly on European politics.”

On Twitter, by contrast, researchers said junk news appeared much less prevalent, with less than 4% of news content shared on the microblogging site coming from less trustworthy sources. In Poland, however, the level of junk news in circulation was higher at 21%.

Oxford researchers say they monitored almost 600,000 tweets related to upcoming European Parliament elections for the study, across a two-week period ending April 20. They also observed Facebook interactions with 70 junks news and mainstream news outlets between April 5 and May 5.

Notably, almost none of the dubious news discovered in their study came from Russian sources, the researchers said.

Twitter declined to comment on the study. Facebook was not immediately available when contacted by CNBC.

The findings could add to concerns around the potential impact of online misinformation on upcoming European elections. Voters in the European Union are set to cast their votes to decide the makeup of the next European Parliament from April 23 – 26.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have ramped up efforts to counter misinformation in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and others votes, which were clouded by claims of Russian interference.

Facebook for example recently set up an operations room in Dublin to monitor online disinformation and election interference, similar to the widely publicized “war room ” it established ahead of U.S. midterm elections last year.

Twitter meanwhile publishes biannual transparency reports to show how its tackling attempts to manipulate the platform.

Such online content sharing services have faced heightened regulatory scrutiny, not only over the sharing of fake news and toxic content, but data privacy as well.

The European Union for instance last year introduced sweeping new privacy reforms known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which gave sweeping new powers to individuals in how they can control their data.

GDPR arrived after reports emerged of the leak of Facebook user data to the controversial political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

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