Morning business round-up: Microsoft eyes Skype deal


What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Microsoft is planning to buy the internet phone service Skype, the BBC has learned, with confirmation expected from Microsoft later.

The deal could be worth as much as $8.5bn (£5.2bn), which would make it Microsoft's largest acquisition.

Luxembourg-based Skype has 663 million global users.

China's trade surplus surged in April. It was nearly four times bigger than expected, with exports far exceeding imports.

The trade surplus was $11.4bn (£6.9bn), according to the customs agency, whereas analysts had expected a figure of about $3bn.

Meanwhile, China and US were finishing two days of trade talks.

Many in the US, especially exporters, argue that China's currency is undervalued, making Chinese goods highly competitive in world markets

In the UK, the hot weather and Royal Wedding led to a rebound in retail sales. in April.

Retail sales jumped 5.2%, reversing a 3.5% fall made in the previous month, according to a survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The survey found that champagne and garden furniture were among the items most in demand.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

However, economic woes were still making their presence felt elsewhere. No-frills airline Easyjet reported a near doubling of its half-year losses.

The carrier said its losses had widened to £153m because of higher fuel costs and economic pressures on consumers.

However, one other airline said it had offset higher oil costs by increasing passenger numbers.

Dubai-based Emirates saw profits soar by 52% boosted by a big rise in traffic.

The airline's net profit was 5.4bn dirhams ($1.5bn; £918m) for the year to 31 March.

To hear about some of the wider trends in the world of business, click through to our Business Daily podcast where Tuesday's programme looks at company share buy-backs and hears from a leading fund manager who says company directors may be enriching themselves while destroying value for shareholders.

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