The big four

 


Tencent Music IPOs on NYSE

Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the music streaming spin-off of China’s technology giant Tencent Holdings, saw its shares jump by almost 10 percent, on its first day trading in New York on 12 December. The company priced its initial public offering (IPO) at US$13 and closed at US$14, giving the company a market value of about US$22.9 billion, comparable to Spotify’s current valuation of US$23.1 billion. Tencent Music’s IPO is the latest in a series of Chinese companies going to market this year despite the United States-China trade war and the recent downturn in U.S. financial markets. According to media reports, traders were nervous the market volatility would adversely affect the company’s public debut. The company reported about 800 million monthly active users at the end of September.

EY Global Chairman to step down

Mark Weinberger will step down from his role as EY’s Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, effective from 1 July 2019, the Big Four firm announced earlier this month. According to EY, he successfully led the firm through its “Vision 2020” strategy – aiming to make the firm a “US$50 billion distinctive professional services organization” – and believes that stepping down at the beginning of its fiscal year 2020 is the right move. Weinberger, who joined the firm in 1987 and was elected as global chairman and CEO in 2012, said: “When I reflected on the massive changes we have navigated over the last seven years and the strong position we command to enable EY to excel in the years ahead, I realized that the time is right for me to step aside.” The firm expects to appoint a new global chairman and CEO sometime in January.

Xero launches open banking API

Cloud-based accounting software platform Xero launched its open banking application processing interface (API) last month. The API aims to enable banks, FinTech companies and financial institutions to connect to the platform, and provide bank feeds faster for small businesses. Direct access to bank feeds, enabled through the API, help small businesses and their advisors save time on tasks such as managing cash flow, making crucial business decisions, and uncovering deep insights about performance. The move is in line with the Hong Kong government’s recent establishment of the Open API Framework as part of its initiative to drive financial innovation in the banking sector. Xero currently has partnerships with more than 180 financial institutions globally.


Harry Potter star in legal battle for tax refund

Actor Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, is challenging a 2016 ruling that denied him a £1 million tax refund. A tax tribunal judge previously rejected the actor’s appeal against an HM Revenue and Customs block on him using a change in accounting dates to shield his earnings from a higher tax rate. Grint’s barrister said at a hearing on 12 December the previous judge applied the wrong legal test when deciding his case. In the 2016 ruling, the judge described how Grint, following advice from tax advisors, changed his accounting date so that 20 months of income would fall to be taxed in 2009-2010 instead of 2010-2011, the year the top rate of tax increased by 10 percent. The date change would have led to Grint saving £1 million on income, according to his accountants. 


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