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The Business Matrix: Friday 1 November 2013

Busy Bees hived off to Canada

The owners of the Busy Bees nursery chain has agreed to sell the business to a Canadian pension fund for a reported £220m. Busy Bees was founded in Staffordshire in 1983 and now looks after 20,000 children in 213 nurseries across the country. The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is now the majority owner of the group.

Inflation falls to 0.7% in eurozone

Inflation in the eurozone slumped to 0.7 per cent in October, from 1.1 per cent the previous month, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat. City analysts had expected the rate to remain flat and the drop will renew pressure on the European Central Bank, which has a 2 per cent target, to support the economy and prevent deflation.

Top lines put icing on Premier's cake

Premier's eight best-selling lines, including Hovis, Ambrosia and Bisto, rose in value by 2 per cent to £125.9m in the three months to the end of September compared with a year earlier, after its Mr Kipling subsidiary found its exceedingly good cakes making their way into the nation's lunchbox, replacing packs of crisps and chocolate bars.

Bwin.Party pair pool their stakes

The two divorcing founders of the popular online gaming firm Bwin.Party digital have agreed to put their combined 14 per cent stake in the firm – which is worth a total of £140m – into a trust if the company is successful in winning a licence to operate in New Jersey, which is the third US state to allow online gambling.

Dunelm founder has 3% M&S share

The former chief executive and son of the founders of the homeware retailer Dunelm has been revealed as a major shareholder in rival Marks & Spencer. William Adderley increased his shareholding in M&S to just over 3 per cent, triggering a stock market announcement yesterday.

City trio relaunch Robertson Robey

Three of the City's top dealmakers will team up on Monday to relaunch boutique advisory firm Robertson Robey Associates. Simon Warshaw, former co-head of investment banking at UBS, will join ex-Goldman Sachs banker Sir Simon Robertson and former Morgan Stanley rainmaker Simon Robey.

Countrywide's revenue up 12%

The UK's biggest estate agency chain, Countrywide, said yesterday it expected a sustained recovery in the housing market, as it reported strong revenue growth in the third quarter. Revenue at the owner of Hamptons and Bairstow Eves climbed 12 per cent to £154.9m.

Henderson adds £1.2bn to its funds

Anglo-Australian fund manager Henderson attracted £1.2bn of new money into its funds during the three months ending September, it emerged yesterday. The group benefited from improved investor sentiment in the period, and its assets rose 4.3 per cent to £70.8bn.

NatEx gains from railways' pain

The St Jude's storm that plunged Britain's railways into chaos on Monday triggered bumper bookings for National Express coaches. Demand was 34 per cent higher than normal and an extra 67,000 passengers piled onto its coaches on the day.

Bill Gross appeals to 'privileged 1%'

Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest bond fund, Pimco, urged fellow members of the "privileged 1 per cent", who earn the highest incomes, to support higher US taxes on carried interest and capital gains to help the economy.

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