The round-up of the stories that a budding Student Lawyer should be aware of this week. Sign up here to get these updates in your inbox every week.
Article by Jamie Adair (1st year LLB student at Warwick University)
Blackstone, the world’s biggest private equity firm, is in talks to buy a £900 million ($1.2bn) stake in Butlins’ owner Bourne Leisure, which would value the company at approximately £3 billion ($4bn). The acquisition looks to take advantage of the rise in popularity of staycations and demonstrates the US investor’s optimism that the UK’s hospitality industry can bounce back after the coronavirus pandemic.
Bourne Leisure, a company established in 1964 and headquartered in Hemel Hempstead, owns a number of subsidiaries including Haven Holidays, Butlins and Warner Leisure Hotels and employs approximately 14,000 people in peak season. Butlins reported that it had seen six consecutive years of growth from 2013 to 2019 but the UK’s tourism and hospitality industry has suffered enormously throughout lockdown so the completion of this acquisition could be seen as a vote of confidence in the industry’s ability to recover from the pandemic and to remain competitive post-Brexit.
Blackstone, which previously owned Center Parcs and currently owns Merlin Entertainments, already has other investments in the UK tourism industry such as Madame Tussauds and the London Eye. The private equity group expanded its presence in the leisure industry when it bought the NEC group and its Birmingham arenas for approximately £800 million in 2018. It also helped Merlin take Legoland private in 2019 in a deal valuing the resort company at $7.5 billion. The New-York based investor would be the latest private equity group to acquire a stake in the struggling tourist industry, joining KKR who agreed to buy the Dutch company Roompot, which runs a number of holiday destinations across Europe, in a €1 billion deal last year.
Should Blackstone’s deal go ahead, the Cook, Allen and Harris families, who currently jointly own Bourne, will retain a majority stake in the business. Having what has been described as a “strong balance sheet”, Bourne appears an attractive option for Blackstone who will be eager to capitalise on the resurgence of the tourism industry in order to try and offset some of the losses suffered over the course of the pandemic.
You can read more about the deal here and here.
Article by Advaita Kapoor (3rd year B.A. LLB (Hons.) student at Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, India)
What is the policy?
It is focused on giving more access to Facebook and informing the users of the same. It is concerned with sharing information, such as the IP address of the user account, with third-party services and other Facebook Companies.
It is separate for European and non-European users due to the operation of GDPR in EU which protects circulation of private data and information of the citizens.
The company added that it strives to secure the confidential conversations of people with end-to-end encryption and does not access these private messages from either WhatsApp or Facebook.
How is the policy harmful?
With the new policy, WhatsApp will have the access to all the metadata and will be able to share it with Facebook and other third parties consensually. Metadata is the data about the actual data. With the help of it, the third party can make precise inference about one’s activities by reading the way in which one interacts. Subjecting the user to such surveillance is a clear intrusion of their privacy and criticism faced by the company is just.
You can read more here.