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The Business Matrix: Friday 30 March 2012

Online deals 'half of Tui's revenue'

Tui Travel, the holiday giant behind Thomson, has reported strong sales for the past six months, adding that online deals now account for half of its revenue. Tui reckons the secret of its success is package holidays offering a wider choice of food and excursions. UK sales are up 4 per cent but demand for holidays to North Africa remains weak.

Rank drops bid to buy Gala casinos

Rank has ditched its £250m bid for Gala Coral's casino business after nearly three months of talks. By adding the 24 casinos owned by debt-laden Gala Coral to the 35 already run by Rank, the deal would have created the biggest casino operator in the UK. Gala, which is owned by private equity blamed the price for the breakdown in talks.

ITV boss earned £2.2m last year

Adam Crozier, the chief executive of ITV, earned a pay package worth almost £2.2m in salary, bonus and share awards last year, according to the annual report of the Downton Abbey broadcaster yesterday. Mr Crozier's base salary rose 3 per cent to £798,250 and he was awarded bonuses worth £1.3m in a mixture of cash and deferred shares.

Clinton founder steps down

Clinton Cards' founder Don Lewin is to step down as chairman in July after the greetings card retailer sunk to a half-year loss of £3.7m. The performance of the group, which operates 628 Clintons shops, was dragged down by its struggling Birthdays chain, which delivered an operating loss of £4.36m over the half-year to the end of January.

Laura Ashley plans boutique hotel

Laura Ashley unveiled plans to open a boutique hotel in Hertfordshire yesterday as it posted a 3 per cent fall in full-year profits £19m. The retailer bought the hotel for £5.8m in November to showcase its home accessories, furniture and decorations. The group said it had no plans to open more hotels.

ICG sees strong investment

Intermediate Capital Group said it saw a strong investment performance in 2012 and an increasingly benign environment for raising new funds, even though institutional investors were still wary. The specialist investment firm said it was also on track to complete its fifth European fund, raising nearly £2bn.

HRG chairman is stepping down

The chairman of Home Retail Group is stepping down after a period of falling profits and sales at the owner of Argos and Homebase. Oliver Stocken, who has worked at HRG for 12 years, will leave in July. Full-year profits at the retailer are expected to be down 61 per cent to £99m.

More pressure on Alliance Trust

Katherine Garrett-Cox, the Alliance Trust chief executive, has come under fresh pressure from Laxey Partners after the activist investor called for a rise in the dividend in a letter to her new chairman. Laxey orchestrated a big protest vote at Alliance's AGM last year.

BA's Heathrow offer may win bmi

The owner of British Airways is expected to win the backing of European regulators for its £173m deal to buy its smaller rival bmi today. IAG, which owns BA, said it would be ready to relinquish 14 take-off and landing slots at Heathrow.

Michael Queen ends reign at 3i

Michael Queen, the chief executive of 3i, is bowing out of the private equity group where he has worked for almost 25 years. After restoring 3i's financial health during his three years at the top, he said it was time "to seek new challenges".

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