If you have shares in Ted Baker, you are probably not having a good morning. The price has tanked by almost 7% after news broke that the fashion brand has found a \u00a358m black hole in its accounts.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s being a few hundred thousand or a few million short, but when your market capitalisation (i.e. the total value of your company) is \u00a3142m, suddenly sums of that order begin to look very scary.\r\n\r\nThe problem was found by auditors from Deloitte who were retained last month to investigate what had gone wrong after the company overestimated the value of its stock \u2013 products in storage that is, not traded stock.\r\n\r\nAn internal probe found that the stock value on 26 January last year was between \u00a320-25m, but it would seem somebody is not very good at scanning barcodes, because this was half the actual figure.\r\n\r\nMore stock rather than less sitting in the warehouse is a bad thing, as it suggests that there is not enough \u201csell through\u201d \u2013 for the uninitiated, that means the level of stock which is successfully sold to actual customers.\r\n\r\nNews like this always makes the vultures start circling, and Ted Baker\u2019s lenders quickly became jittery \u2013 they asked their own advisors to review the business in anticipation of the firm suddenly needing to do a whip round for more funding. It is understandable, given today\u2019s overstatement of the accounts amounts to more than the profit the firm generated in its last financial year, of \u00a350.9m.\r\n\r\nIt is worth noting that the overstatement relates to a \u201cnon-cash item\u201d from previous accounting periods, and the firm therefore has not published any new profit forecast for the current one, ending later this month. But it adds to a picture of a company in serious trouble, because the problems just keep on mounting.\r\n\r\n \tLast year, in March, founder Ray Kelvin resigned as chief executive after some employees alleged there were \u201cforced hugs\u201d taking place at work\r\n \tThe company\u2019s share price is worth a quarter of what it was at the start of 2019\r\n \tIt issued four profit warnings last year, and announced an H1 loss of \u00a323m in October, the first time it has lost in over 20 years\r\n \tIt said November and Black Friday trading periods were \u201cbelow expectations\u201d\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s almost painful to write.\r\nJavid provokes American ire over digital tax plans\r\nIn recent years there has been a growing sense that the era of the monolithic tech giants is approaching its twilight years.\r\n\r\nBeing allowed to grow to unimaginable scale and power over a short period of time, firms like Google, Facebook and Amazon have enjoyed what I predict will come to be seen as a sort of early-Internet \u2018wild west\u2019 era, not unlike the great monopoly of\u00a0Standard Oil in the early 20th Century. Spoiler: it was broken up.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s probably too early to make predictions about how breakups of these firms might look, not least because they will be able to make very persuasive arguments that the only way services like theirs can exist is due to a phenomenon called \u2018network effects\u2019.\r\n\r\nThis theory holds that in order, for instance, for Facebook to be useful as a social network, small numbers of people are no good: everyone needs to be on there for it to be good for anyone. Similarly with Google: it is the most popular search engine because it has the largest haul of daily data from which to learn about search habits, refine its algorithm, and deliver better search results.\r\n\r\nBut the first crack in the dam may be appearing, certainly in the more regulation-averse economies, as UK chancellor Sajid Javid has mooted a new digital tax designed to overcome the problem of multinationals incorporating shell companies in low-tax jurisdictions and funnelling all the profits through them.\r\n\r\nThe tax was due to be introduced in April, and while the Americans have pushed back hard, forcing Javid to \u201chold fire\u201d on the plans, it is part of a wider discourse about reining in these mighty technology monsters and forcing them to pay taxes that everyone recognises as being fair. Stories constantly abound of one or other major corporation paying little or nothing in corporation tax in the UK and elsewhere, despite having sales running into the billions in those locations.\r\n\r\nFrance has also delayed a new proposed tax under pressure from Washington, a clear indication that the Americans are very worried about the crown-jewels of their world-beating tech scene being fleeced by foreign governments. But the debate will not end because the Yanks get terse about it.\r\n\r\nThe OECD appears to be taking a lead by saying that a global harmonisation of policy will be required to reach a solution to what is really an unprecedented problem. The Secretary General Angel Gurria told the BBC that the alternative is a \u201ccacophony and a mess\u201d in which dozens of countries do their own thing, causing \u201ctensions [to rise] all over the place\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe UK was planning to apply a flat tax of 2% on UK revenues of major tech categories, like social media sites, search engines, and marketplace platforms such as Airbnb from April this year.\r\n\r\nAs activist clamour against the \u201cone percent\u201d grows, and as more and more power and wealth concentrates in the hands of a tiny number of successful business people, I reckon it\u2019s only a matter of time before politicians promising to take a sledgehammer to their vice grip will be at the levers of power. Watch this space.