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Alibaba’s Jack Ma invited to bid on The Body Shop … Unions ramps up fight on penalty rate cuts … Optus to compensate customers after ACCC probe

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Alibaba blockchain

Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn.

An investing group backed by Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma has been invited to submit a joint bid of €800 million ($1.2 billion) for international cosmetics and beauty brand The Body Shop, reports Reuters.

Private equity firm Investindustrial reportedly extended the offer to Blue Pool Capital on Friday, which Bloomberg reports invests capital from Ma and Alibaba’s vice chairman Joseph Tsai.

The Body Shop is owned by global cosmetics giant LÓreal, which purchased the chain in 2006. The retailer has more than 3,000 stores across the globe, around 90 of which are in Australia.

Union ramps up objections to penalty rates cuts

The union movement is ramping up its fight against to planned cuts to Sunday penalty rates for workers in the hospitality and retail sectors, which could start coming in this July, saying workers will lose tens of millions of dollars.

UnionsWA secretary Meredith Hammat has highlighted statistics from think tank The McKell Institute’s report into the impact of the Fair WorkCommission’s decision on disposable incomes, which suggests Perth workers could stand to lose close to $80 million annually.
The McKell report warns more than $600 million in disposable income will be lost across the country, with people in rural and regional areas having less to spend in local businesses due to the close to $290 million in income that will be lost in regional communities.

Optus agrees to compensate customers after ACCC investigation

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted an enforceable undertaking with telecommunications provider Optus, after an investigation from the Commission in 2015 and 2016 found Optus was reducing the data provided to customers on certain pre-paid plans without notifying them.

Optus has agreed to compensate the affected customers via crediting them with data or call credit equal to the amount they were denied through the changes.

“Customers who chose an Optus Prepaid plan based on its advertised value, but who activated or recharged their SIM card after Optus changed allowances for calls, text and data, received less than they were promised at the time they purchased the plan,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement this morning.

“Mobile providers must provide the ‘value’ and benefits they advertise. Optus Prepaid customers who may be entitled to a credit should visit the Optus website or the outlet where they bought the prepaid product.”

A spokesperson for Optus told SmartCompany the company has taken a number of steps to rectify the issues raised by the ACCC. These include credit refunds “and/or equivalent benefits” for affected customers, public notices published in Optus stores and on its website, and an undertaking “to implement an upgraded and enhanced compliance program for its prepaid products”.

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