The Business Matrix: Friday 21 March 2014


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The Independent Online

Airbnb seeking funding injection

The online room-finder service Airbnb is reportedly in advanced talks to raise up to $500m (£300m) from the private equity firm TPG, which would value it at $10bn – making it worth more than several leading hotel chains.

Majestic hit by ‘dryathalon’ trend

Majestic Wine’s shares were hit yesterday thanks to drinkers cutting back after Christmas and the trend for “dryathlons”. The shares tumbled 18 per cent or 96p to 409p as Majestic flagged up flat sales and profits for the year to 31 March. Investment in offices and warehouse space will also see slower profit growth next year.

Bank’s Weale sees inflation ahead

The economy is likely to run out of spare capacity faster than most Bank of England officials expect, a member of its rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee said yesterday. Martin Weale estimated that there was less slack in the economy than the Bank had presumed, and that this in turn could lead to higher inflation.

Saatchi sales point to recovery

The Conservatives’ advertising agency M&C Saatchi offered a fresh sign yesterday the British economy is growing strongly as it posted record annual revenue and operating profit, fuelled by a 13 per cent jump in UK sales. Chief executive David Kershaw was upbeat about 2014, saying revenue growth should match last year’s 8 per cent.

Savills enjoys bumper year

The estate agent Savills sold more than £6bn worth of UK homes last year as London’s housing recovery rippled out to the regions. The company saw profits from its UK estate agency business jump 34 per cent in 2013, chief executive Jeremy Helsby said, as the value of property sold jumped 15 per cent to £6.1bn last year.

Across-the-board gain for Ted Baker

The London fashion house Ted Baker has “truly become a global fashion brand”, according to its boss, as it reported a 26.7 per cent pre-tax profit jump to £40m. Reporting its full-year results, the founder of the quirky fashion brand, Ray Kelvin, said it has been performing well across all its markets.

Profitable year for Deutsche board

Bosses at Germany’s top bank saw their total pay rise by nearly 40 per cent, despite a recent profit warning. Deutsche Bank revealed that it had paid its 10-member management board €40m (£33m), up from €28m the previous year. The awards included €9m to joint chief executive Anshu Jain.

Arbuthnot gains ground on rivals

Arbuthnot Banking Group gained further ground on the mainstream banks last year ahead of a push into the small business lending market. The company posted pre-tax profits of £15.7m in 2013, up 24 per cent year on year, with customer deposits growing 4 per cent.

Intu takes over Westfield centres

The shopping centre owner Intu is to acquire Westfield’s 50 per cent interest in the Merry Hill centre in Dudley as well as 100 per cent of Westfield Derby and the Sprucefield retail park in Lisburn for a total of £867.8m. The deal will be funded by new debt and a rights issue.

ITV boss’s pay trebles to $8.4m

ITV’s chief executive, Adam Crozier, saw his total pay almost treble to £8.4m against £2.9m a year earlier. That included a £3.4m bonus after ITV posted a 27 per cent leap in profits. But the biggest windfall was a £4m “joining award”.