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Tuesday newspaper round-up: City donations, Apple, Edinburgh Worldwide

(Sharecast News) - Concerns have been raised over the City's influence on Westminster, after a report found financial firms and individuals tied to the sector donated £15m to political parties and gave £2m to MPs during the pandemic. The campaign group Positive Money tallied the gifts, expenses and donations handed to MPs, peers and their parties, as well as the value of income from politicians' second jobs, saying it contributed to finance's "oversized influence" on policymaking. - Guardian Apple is taking on Klarna and ClearPay with a new "buy now, pay later" feature for iPhones, the company has announced at its worldwide developer conference. The company is also redesigning the iPhone's lock screen, in the most substantial visual redesign the operating system for iPhones has received since the introduction of the iPhone X, and introducing a new version of the MacBook Air built around its M2 chip. - Guardian

A shared office space company founded by former Downing Street adviser Rohan Silva is on the hunt for a buyer amid uncertainty over its future. Second Home, which was co-founded by the ex-aide to David Cameron, is understood to have kicked off an accelerated sales process as a "plan B" option if it is unable to close an emergency cash injection. The process at the company was first reported by City AM, and comes weeks after it began work to raise £6m in emergency cash to stave off a collapse. At the time, Sky News reported that Second Home had hired FRP Advisory, the restructuring and insolvency firm. - Telegraph

UK public companies are trading at a valuation discount totalling about £500 billion since the "scarring impact" of the Brexit vote six years ago, according to research by a City stockbroker. Since 2016, when Britain voted to leave the European Union, the valuation of companies on the FTSE all-share index has settled at a 20 per cent discount to the rest of the world, on an adjusted basis, Panmure Gordon found. It is the largest divergence since the early 1990s. - The Times

Edinburgh Worldwide, Baillie Gifford's investment fund focused on early-stage companies, has been hit by the broader downturn in technology stocks as it warned that its portfolio was in the "eye of the storm". The backer of entrepreneurial companies with "long-term growth potential" said net asset value per share decreased by 34 per cent in the six months to the end of April. - The Times

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(Sharecast News) - A development company that sells off land no longer needed by Thames Water has paid out a £14m dividend despite warnings that it could become engulfed by the water group's financial woes. Accounts filed at Companies House show Kennet Properties paid out a £14.5m dividend in the year to 31 March 2023 despite the difficulties faced by the wider group, which is facing going into administration. - Guardian
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(Sharecast News) - Asset manager Redwheel told regulators they should reduce the UK postal service's legal obligations. The move followed a failed buyout attempt by Daniel Kretinsky for International Distributions Services, its parent company. The billionaire investor was said to be evaluating a possible improved bid. The company meanwhile has petitioned Ofcom to let it cut the number of days per week during which it must deliver second-class mail from six to two or three. That would save the company £300m and see it shrink its workforce by 1,000. According to Redwheel, as first reported by the Sunday Times, the enforced costs of its legal obligations left the company "vulnerable to corporate predators". - Guardian
Friday newspaper round-up: Thames Water, Netflix, consumer confidence
(Sharecast News) - "Misleading" and "inconsistent" labels make it hard for shoppers to know where their food comes from, the consumer champion Which? has said, as it found supermarket chains were selling products with "meaningless" statements on their packaging. Retailers must supply the "country of origin" for specific foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed meats, fish, wine and olive oil but the rules do not generally apply to processed meat or frozen or processed fruit and vegetables. - Guardian

Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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