The Business Matrix: Friday 7 November 2014


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Muller pays £80m for Dairy Crest

Germany’s Muller is buying Dairy Crest’s struggling dairy operations in a £80m deal that analysts say should provide some relief to farmers. The deal means Muller, which paid £100m for Glasgow’s Robert Wiseman in 2012, controls a quarter of the UK milk market, alongside the global co-operatives Arla and First Milk.

House price growth falters

House price growth fell back in October to its weakest levels in almost two years in further signs that the market is cooling, according to Halifax. Property values in the three months to October were 0.8 per cent higher than in the previous three months, the slowest quarterly growth seen since December 2012.

Noisy workplace claims soar

“No-win, no-fee” lawyers are targeting noisy workplaces and persuading staff to make deafness-related claims, according to RSA, which said UK cases have tripled from 3,000 a month last year to 10,000 now. The insurer also posted a 9 per cent fall in net written premiums in the first nine months of the year to £5.7bn.

Industrial output increases 0.6%

The UK’s industrial sector bounced back from a summer slowdown to raise output 0.6 per cent in September, official figures showed yesterday. The figures were bolstered by a major oil field coming back on stream and a rebound in car production after assembly lines reopened, the Office for National Statistics said.

Prezzo in £300m buyout deal

The buyout firm TPG Capital is buying the restaurant chain Prezzo in a £304m deal. The private equity group has offered 126.5p a share in cash for the Aim-listed pizza chain and has got approval from about 62.3 per cent of its shareholders, including the Kaye family who founded the chain.

C&W in $3bn swoop for rival

Cable & Wireless Communications is to buy Columbus International – its South American rival where the US mogul John Malone is an investor – in a $3bn (£2bn) deal. But its shares fell 7 per cent as investors worried about the $1.2bn debt that it will take on to acquire the business.

Founders to cash in as Fetch is sold

The founders of the London mobile advertising agency Fetch are in line for big windfalls after selling out to Dentsu Aegis for an estimated £30m. James Connelly, 28, and Declan Reddington, 41, set up Fetch in 2009. Clients include eBay and William Hill.

Halfords going for growth

The car parts firm Halfords is to roll out a chain of cycle shops across the UK. The move, unveiled alongside an 11 per cent rise in underlying half-year profits to £49.4m, comes four years after its standalone stores under the BikeHut and Cycle Republic names were ditched.

Profits down 35% at Shanks

The waste management firm Shanks said half-year underlying profits were down 35 per cent to £11.2 m as a result of strong competition in the construction and demolition sector in the Netherlands. UK profits rose 13 per cent to £5.3m.

Adidas warns over 2015 sales

Competition from rival Nike, issues in Russia and its golf business forced the German sportswear group Adidas to warn sales growth will slow next year. But its quarterly profits of €405m (£317m), on sales of €4.1bn, beat forecasts.