Apple hit with multi-million Euro tax charge in France
Paris, France: Apple has been ordered by the French Tax authority to pay additional taxes believed to run into hundreds of millions of Euro, following an examination of the US tech group’s operations in the country over the past decade.
The audit of Apple’s business in France, dating back to 2008, comes a year after the the company was forced to pay an extra GBP 136 million in taxes in the UK, following a similar probe.
European governments have been grappling with how to extract more tax from US tech companies, many of whom choose to base their operations in lower-tax jurisdictions.
Two years ago, Google succeeded in overturning a French ruling that claimed it owed an extra €1.12 billion in back taxes.
Manwhile, Apple is still contesting a record-breaking €13 billion tax penalty after the European Commission found in 2016 that Ireland provided it with illegal state aid.
Facebook in 7 data-protection investigations in Ireland
Dublin, Ireland: The Irish data protection commission has confirmed that Facebook is currently dealing with 7 separate data-protection investigations.
The investigations are among 16 cases targeting big technology companies including Twitter, Apple, Linkedin, and also Facebook’s WhatsApp and Instagram.
As European regulators look to increase the level of fines they issue under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which enable penalties of up 4 per cent of a company’s annual revenue to be levied.
A record €50 million French fine against Google last month showed that the EU watchdogs are taking and applying the new guidelines seriously.
Last year, Facebook became the first big test-case under the new EU rules, when the Irish authority opened an investigation into a security breach that affected as many as 50 million user accounts.
In December, they announced a second probe into several other breach notifications by Facebook including investigation into a possible breach caused by a software bug that gave external developers broader access to the photos banks of millions of users.
U.S firm Jamf Inc acquires Dutch edtech start-up
Emmen, Netherlands: Minneapolis-based SaaS company, Jamf has acquired Netherlands start-up ZuluDesk.
Founded in 2002 by a University of Wisconsin student, Jamf makes software used to manage Apple devices in the enterprise, schools and government sectors.
Its lead product, Jamf Pro, is currently used by more than 8,000 schools in the U.S.
Zuludesk which is based in Emmen, Netherlands, serves more than 6,000 schools with its education technology.
This is the second acquisition for Jamf over the past 6 months. In September last year, it acquired Austin based, Orchard & Grove, a company that made tools for administering Mac computers.
Dog-walking and sitting start-ups to merge
Belfast, Northern Ireland: Housemydog, a UK based online platform that enables dog owners to find and book local dog walkers and sitters, is to merge with the Spanish dog sitting platform, Gudog.
With both firms having already gained traction in their own domestic markets, this merger will help to consolidate those positions.
In a market sector that continues to grow rapidly in the UK and Europe, consolidation is also becoming more evident.
Last year, Seattle based dog-sitting firm, Rover.com acquired UK’s DogBuddy – a dog boarding, day care and walking service similar to its own.
German Fintech lands USD 144 million in Series D
Berlin, Germany: Raisin, a Berlin based fintech firm has closed a USD $144 million Series D round.
Existing investors Index Ventures, PayPal, Ribbit Capital and Thrive Capital all participated, bringing the total raised to date by Raisin to $200 million.
Originally founded in 2013, Raisin set out to crack the European savings deposit market, by taking advantage of EU-wide banking regulations.
The chink they identified is the fact that saving deposit rates differ, not only from one in-country bank offer to another but even more strikingly, across Europe as a whole.
Following launches in the Netherlands and the UK in 2018, Raisin is planning to add at least two additional markets to its platform this year.
The fintech is based in Berlin but has a subsidiary in Manchester, England and has plans to expand its international team and its line of investment products.
Raisin plans to use the new capital for strategic acquisitions and further internationalisation.
French fintech raises USD 34 million to shake-up meal voucher market
Montpellier, France: Lunchr, a French fintech start-up, has raised USD $34 million to fund further growth to modernize the current system of meal vouchers given as an employment perk by employers to employees as a food purchase subsidy.
The funding was provided by Index Ventures, with existing investors Daphni, Idinvest and Kima Ventures also participating.
Lunchr was founded in 2016 by Loïc Soubeyrand, who had previously co-founded a media-tech start-up.
‘Lunch’ vouchers are still typically distributed in the form of paper coupon books.
However, Lunchr now offers a MasterCard-backed card, along with a mobile app that tracks both usage and purchases.