The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

United Kingdom

Evan Davis hosts the business conversation show with people at the top giving insight into what matters



If the word auction conjures up pictures of a man with a gavel in a packed room shouting 'going, going, gone' - think again. These days governments and businesses rely on complicated online auctions to buy and sell. Auctions are also the preferred mechanism for the allocation of radio spectrum licences to mobile phone companies and the selling of mineral rights. Auctions come in a huge variety of forms, and the precise design can have a dramatic effect on the outcomes. Do you know a sealed bid from a "combinatorial clock" auction? Evan Davis and guests discuss the business of auctions. Guests include: Dan Maldoom, DotEcon Samantha Collett property developer Stephen Lerner, 3 UK Producer: Lesley McAlpine.

The Future of the Car Industry  

The future of the car industry. How car manufacturers are joining forces with "ride hailing" companies like Uber and why the future might be driverless. Evan Davis and guests discuss. Disruptive technology has made seismic changes to several business models: think Apple iTunes and the music industry or Netflix and our television viewing habits. It seems that the car industry might be next. Unlike their predecessors, car manufacturers are joining forces with the technology companies. Google with Ford, Uber with Volvo, General Motors with Lyft, pooling their expertise and resources. Joining Evan Davis on the programme are three guests who will talk about the hopes and fears for the industry and what this will mean for the rest of us. GUESTS Georg Ell, Director, Western Europe, Tesla Motors Matteo de Renzi, CEO, Western Europe, Gett and Dr. Eberhard Zeeb, Senior Manager, Function and Software Driving Assistance, Daimler Producer: Julie Ball.

The Youth Market  

Evan Davis and guests explore the fast moving world of selling to 18-24 year olds. Collectively, that age group has billions to spend. Individually, many are strapped for cash. So how do companies get their attention and their money? The answer seems to be: market your brand using social media. Link up with a celebrity with millions of followers and watch the money roll in. That's the theory. Forget old style television adverts. That age group isn't watching the box - they're on their mobiles. Joining the programme will be: Josephine Hansom from Youth Sight; Philip O'Ferrall, Viacom International Media Networks and Simon Beckerman from Depop. Producer: Lesley McAlpine.

Selling Corporate Baby  

Starting a business is often compared to bringing up a baby, and with good reason: it's costly, gives you sleepless nights and requires your attention during every waking moment. But what happens when it is time sell the business you have nurtured? Three successful entrepreneurs talk to Evan Davis about the feelings of relief and regret which can accompany selling off a business. GUESTS Liz Earle, Co-founder of Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare William Kendall, Chairman, Cawston Press Jules Coleman, Co-founder of

Activist Investors  

Are activist investors good or bad for the firms they target? They hunt down companies they think are underperforming. They buy a stake in the business, then lobby for change. Critics say activists want to make a fast buck and then head for the exit. But you could regard these investors as doing a valuable service - challenging poorly performing company boards and making more profit for shareholders. Top UK names like Rolls Royce and John Menzies have been affected. Explore the world of activist investors with Evan Davis. Joining him will be: activist investor, Harlan Zimmerman, senior partner at Cevian Capital; Chris Walton, a company chairman and non-executive director; and Sacha Sadan, director of corporate governance at Legal and General Investment Management. Producer: Lesley McAlpine.

Careers without College  

Why are more top employers offering school leavers a fast track career without the need to go to university? Applicants for the top Degree Apprenticeships need to get good A level grades and pass a rigorous selection process. Their reward is the opportunity to earn a living while they gain a degree and qualify as a professional. Evan Davis discusses the pros and cons of such schemes with a high flying apprentice and two employers who are competing with universities for the brightest and best school leavers.

Brexit: What Next?  

How do you do business when you can't see into the future? This may be what businesses always have to do, but Brexit has undeniably made the future even harder to discern than usual. When will it happen, what relationship with Europe will follow, and how will the rest of the world react? For now we don't know, but the answers to those questions will affect every business in Britain. So how are companies planning for an uncertain future while at the same time trying to ensure that whichever model of Brexit emerges is one that suits their needs. Joining Evan Davis are: Karen Briggs: Head of Brexit - KPMG Gerald Mason: SVP - Tate & Lyle Sugars Gavin Williams: Partner - Herbert Smith Freehills Producer: Joe Kent.


Theresa May has promised a bigger role for the state in business. The previously unfashionable concept of a comprehensive industrial strategy is back on the agenda. There is a new wariness about foreign investment in strategic industries such as electricity generation. Mrs May also wants to see employee representatives on company boards. Presenter Evan Davis discusses "Theresanomics" with a panel of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. Guests include: Elizabeth Corley, vice-chair of Allianz Global Investors David Pitt-Watson, former Chair of Hermes Focus Funds and co-author of The New Capitalists Producer: Julie Ball.

How to Build an Olympics  

The Olympics Games is the biggest sporting event on earth. But the road to a successful Olympics can be more gruelling than a marathon. With less than two weeks to go until the opening ceremony in Rio, Evan Davis and guests discuss the difficulties of managing the money, the politics and the people. GUESTS: Neil Wood MBE, Partner, Deloitte and former CFO of London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) Gerhard Heiberg, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and President and CEO of Lillehammer Winter Olympic,s 1994 Professor Andrew Zimbalist, Sports Economist, Smith College Massachusetts, Consultant and Author Producer: Julie Ball Editor: Innes Bowen.

Brave or Naive?  

Is escaping the rat race always a good idea? Many people dream of giving up the day job to start their own business - and we often hear about the success stories. But does everyone have what it takes? Evan Davis and guests compare the dream and the reality. GUESTS: Luke Johnson, Entrepreneur and Founder of Risk Capital Partners Paula Fry, former Director, Fashion Seeker UK Sarah Meredith, Sole Trader, Rock Cakes Deirdre Critchley, former Director, Jammy Cow Producer: Elizabeth Cassin.

The Price of Life  

It's hard to put a value on a human life. When you're well, perhaps you don't think about it. But if you're ill, getting access to the right drugs, whatever the cost, is a priority. But the NHS does not have a bottomless pit of money. And some medicines are judged too expensive to be freely available, so patients miss out on treatments that could save or extend their lives. There are usually two villains of the piece: The drugs companies for charging too much; the NHS for not stumping up the cash. In this edition, Evan Davis and guests explore how pharmaceutical companies price their drugs, the role of the NHS in deciding how much the medicines are worth and, in the case of generic or non-branded drugs, they'll ask whether competition is working properly to keep down the NHS medicines bill. Guests: Erik Nordkamp, Managing Director, Pfizer UK Carole Longson, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Warwick Smith, Director-General, British Generic Manufacturers Association Producer: Sally Abrahams.

Life after Brexit  

How will the vote to leave the EU affect big and small businesses in the UK? Evan Davis and guests discuss trade deals, tariffs and 'passporting' rights that allow UK-based firms to sell financial products and services from Britain to EU customers. They'll also explore how companies can turn the current economic uncertainty into business opportunities. Guests: Anne Richards, CEO, M & G Investments Juergen Maier, CEO Siemens UK Julia Gash, Founder and CEO, BIDBI Jan Atteslander, EconomieSuisse Producer: Sally Abrahams.

How to Negotiate  

Most of us negotiate in some form or other every day - whether it's about who walks the dog, how much screen-time the kids can have or when to visit the in-laws. But too often we treat it like a competitive sport, with only one aim: to win. Which can backfire, especially when you need co-operation later on. It's much the same in business - negotiating to win at all costs is unlikely to result in a long-term, sustainable business relationship. So how to achieve a win-win situation when both sides leave satisfied and ready to do business with each other again? Evan Davis and guests explore the skills that can help settle disputes between individuals, companies and even nations. They'll discuss when to walk away from the negotiating table and they'll find out what happens when doing a deal is literally a matter of life and death. Guests: Tim Cullen, Director, Oxford Programme on Negotiation, Said Business School Bridie Warner-Adsetts, COO, Naylor Industries Sue Williams, Hostage Negotiator Producer: Sally Abrahams.

The Finance of Films  

The business of film. Evan Davis follows the money trail from script to screen. With the help of a top independent film producer, a film distributor and the head of a top cinema chain, Evan discovers who takes the risks and who makes the money behind the scenes. Guests Alex Hamilton, Managing Director, Entertainment One UK Elizabeth Karlsen, Producer and co-founder, Number9 Films Tim Richards, CEO, Vue International.

Old Dog, New Tricks  

It is not easy to teach new tricks to the business world's old dogs. The latest fashionable solution for big corporations slowed down by bureaucracy and traditional ways of thinking is to incubate tech start-ups. The idea is that the big corporation benefits from the creativity and "can do" attitude of the start-up. In return the start-up gets funding, professional advice and help navigating the corporate world to reach the top decision makers. The model is known as "corporate acceleration" and it is growing in popularity. Evan Davis hears how it works. GUESTS: Jess Williamson, Director, Techstars with Barclays FinTech Accelerator David Fogel, Head of Accelerator & Deputy Director at Wayra UK Emily Forbes, Founder, Seenit Producer: Julie Ball.

Profit or plunder?  

Asset management - or asset stripping? This week Evan Davis asks when making a profit from running a business becomes simple plundering. In business, things go wrong at the best of times ... mistakes are made, luck turns bad. But sometimes things can also go wrong not because of bad luck, but because someone makes money out of failure. The "profit or plunder" question has been raised by events at BHS. It was struggling, facing intense competition in a tough retail environment. But the owner took quite a bit of money out of the company. And the staff pension fund went into deficit. Sir Phillip Green, who was then in charge, sold the business to an inexperienced former bankrupt who didn't make it work and it is now in administration. This has made a lot of people angry - but aside from BHS, how do we distinguish between a case that is bad luck, a bad apple, or a system that is badly designed? Joining Evan Davis in the Bottom Line studio this week are Bruce Davis of peer-to-peer lender Abundance, Breffni Walsh of Brands Are Best and Garry Wilson of private equity firm Endless LLP.

EU Referendum  

What does EU membership mean for UK business and how might that change if Britain votes to leave? Business leaders join Evan Davis to discuss how trade agreements and red tape can both help and hinder corporate success. What can Switzerland teach us about trading with Europe and beyond, despite being outside the EU? Guests: Jan Atteslander, EconomieSuisse Julia Gash, CEO, Bidbi Christopher Nieper, Managing Director, David Nieper Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO, Virgin Money Jon Moynihan, Chairman, Ipex Capital Producer: Sally Abrahams.

Life after a Blockbuster  

Whether it's creating Angry Birds, the best-selling mobile app, or developing the best-selling Alzheimer's drug or discovering one of the world's biggest oil fields in recent years, every company dreams of blockbuster success. But what happens after you hit the jackpot? How do you sustain that level of success? And what's needed to adapt from small start-up to big business? Evan Davis and guests share the secrets of success and explore their experiences of trying to maintain their market position. Guests: Kati Levoranta, CEO, Rovio Entertainment (creators of Angry Birds) Dr David Jefferys, Global Senior Vice President, Eisai Pharmaceuticals Jón Ferrier, CEO, Gulf Keystone Petroleum Producer: Sally Abrahams.

Lonely at the Top?  

Many senior executives now employ personal coaches to help them through their toughest business challenges. Coaches can provide confidential, independent support for senior managers who find life lonely at the top. But shouldn't the boss be capable of making decisions on his or her own? And are coaches sometimes the hidden power behind the senior executive throne? Guests: Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Group Melanie Richards, Vice Chairman and Partner of KPMG UK Jonathan Bowman-Perks, Coach and Mentor Producer: Ruth Edwards.

Horse Racing  

Horse racing is the second most popular spectator sport in the UK but it is also a business. Presenter Evan Davis and guests discuss who makes the money: the horse owners, the jockeys, the race courses or the bookmakers? Guests: Simon Bazalgette, Chief Executive, The Jockey Club Rachel Hood, Director, The Horsemen's Group Ciaran O'Brien, Group Communications Director, William Hill bookmakers Producer: Julie Ball.

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