The Business Matrix: Friday 3 April 2015


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EU investigates Apple deals

European Union competition regulators are investigating Apple’s deals with record labels and online music streaming services to see if it is blocking rivals’ access to its planned streaming platform. Apple bought Beats Music, co-founded by rapper Dr Dre, for $3bn (£2bn) last year as the market shifts towards streaming.

Booker chairman Rose checks out

Booker’s chairman is to check out of the cash-and-carry giant, which posted a 1 per cent rise in annual sales helped by smoking cigarette sales yesterday. The company has begun a hunt to replace Richard Rose, the former boss of the tea and coffee specialist Whittard, who will leave the wholesaler in July after nine years at the company.

Diageo takes full control of UNB

Diageo has picked up the 50 per cent interest in United National Breweries’ traditional sorghum beer brewing business in South Africa for £14.8m. It has bought out the remaining holding from Vijay Mallya, the self-styled “King of Good Times” Indian entrepreneur whose Kingfisher Airlines was grounded two years ago.

Sorrell gives £21m to his charity

Sir Martin Sorell, the chief executive of WPP, has given £21.4m worth of shares in the ad giant to his charity. The JMCMRJ Sorrell Charitable Foundation supports educational institutions, cancer research and general good causes. Sir Martin recently collected a £36m pay packet from WPP.

Pre-election jitters hit builders

The building industry’s recovery “has lost some of its swagger” amid pre-election nerves, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply said. The pace of growth – while still strong – hit a three-month low in March over concerns about the looming general election, Cips said.

A spoonful of sugar from Tate

Tate & Lyle has offered a sweetener to the City following three profit warnings in a year, and stuck by its most recent lowered full-year outlook. The ingredients group said its profits for the year to 31 March will be “modestly below” the £230m to £245m range stated last September.

Benefit numbers in surprise fall

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week. Sustained jobs market strength supports views that the sharp slowdown in US economic activity could be temporary, affected by factors such as the strong dollar and bad weather.

Premier hits oil in Falklands drilling

Premier Oil and Falkland Oil and Gas said they made an oil and gas discovery off the Falkland Islands, the first in a nine-month drilling campaign. The pair said the discovery was better than expected, although a decision on whether or not to develop it is unlikely to occur soon.

Massoud to set up new hedge fund

Michel Massoud, a former partner at the hedge fund Cheyne Capital, is preparing to launch his own hedge fund this autumn, according to Reuters. Mr Massoud’s new Melqart Asset Management will launch an “event-driven fund”.

Candy buys a stake in Brand

The property developer Nick Candy has taken a £1.3m stake in Audioboom, the online “radio” group that recently signed Russell Brand as its flagship presenter. Mr Candy developed One Hyde Park with his brother Christian.