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The Business Matrix: Friday 15 March 2013


Sale of Anschutz group called off

US billionaire Phil Anschutz has changed his mind over an $8bn (£5.3bn) sale of the Anschutz Entertainment Group – which owns Greenwich's O2 Arena – and will terminate the sale process for the sports and entertainment empire, the company said. Tim Leiweke, chief executive since 1996, is also leaving the company.

Miller Group returns to profit

Edinburgh-based builder Miller Group returned to the black with pre-tax profits of £6.6m in 2012 after slumping into the red by £30.4m the previous year. Miller, whose operations span housing, construction, property and mining, said total housing sales increased by 5 per cent to 1,831 units.

Northgate warns of trading slump

Vehicle hire firm Northgate warned it was trading towards the lower end of market expectations as tough conditions continue to affect its UK and Spanish markets. The Hemel Hempstead-based group said UK vehicles on hire fell from 45,000 as at 31 October to 44,200 at the end of February.

Investec staff buy £180m stake

Fund manager Investec said around 40 senior employees of its asset management arm will buy a 15 per cent stake in the operation for £180m. In a trading update also released, Investec said earnings for the 12 months to 31 March were expected to be around 20 per cent to 23 per cent ahead of the previous year.

Shell boss paid over £4m in 2012

Shell's Swiss chief executive, Peter Voser, made a total of £4.12m in salary, bonuses and other benefits in 2012, while his British right-hand man, chief financial officer Simon Henry, scooped up £2m. Mr Voser's payout, which includes a £1.3m salary and a £2.8m bonus, was 9 per cent lower than the previous year.

Craven returns on UK-listed oil firm

John Craven, the serial energy entrepreneur who recently sold East Africa-focused Cove Energy to Thailand's PTT for more than £1bn, is due to make another appearance on the UK stock market with the listing of Falcon Oil & Gas. The explorer hired 63-year-old Mr Craven to be its non-executive chairman in September 2011.

Bramson happy with F&C progress

Edward Bramson, the corporate raider who likes to shake up underperforming companies, yesterday signalled his satisfaction with the turnaround at F&C Asset Management but refused to comment on his latest target, 3i. Mr Bramson organised a boardroom coup at F&C two years ago.

Home Retail boss plans to stay put

Terry Duddy, chief executive of Home Retail Group, yesterday insisted he had no plans to step down as its Argos chain showed further evidence of a return to health. There has been speculation that Mr Duddy could step aside this year to let Argos boss John Walden lead HRG.

Bookers/Macro deal gets go-ahead

The Competition Commission yesterday paved the way for a £140m tie-up between the wholesalers Bookers and Makro. It ruled that the deal would not lead to higher prices and poorer service as customers switch between wholesalers.

Air Partner jets see profits take off

Gatwick-based private jet firm Air Partner delivered an 8 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £1.3m in the six months to the end of January as higher margins and cost cutting offset a 15 per cent plunge in revenues to £102.1m.