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The Business Matrix: Monday 03 March 2014


XL Media to float on AIM today

XL Media – an online marketing company which drives internet users to online gambling sites – will announce plans to float on the Alternative Investment Market today. The firm (clients include Ladbrokes, Bet365 and 888.com) had revenues of $26.1m (£15.7m) in 2012. Chris Bell, formerly of Ladbrokes, is among its chief executives.

Maplins for sale – for at least £100m

High-street electronics retailer Maplin has been put up for sale with a price tag of up to £200m. Owner Montagu Private Equity is understood to have hired accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to handle the sale. It is thought the business could fetch between £100m and £200m. Montagu declined to comment.

Bank of England to keep to 0.5%

Five years of low interest rates will be marked this week when Bank of England policymakers will vote once more to keep the cost of borrowing on hold at 0.5 per cent. The decision follows a flurry of recent comments from members of the Monetary Policy Committee, signalling that rates will start to rise from the spring of next year.

Guinness brewery to be redeveloped

Industrial property firm Segro is to press ahead with its overhaul of the former Guinness brewery at Park Royal in west London as the site – near the route of the HS2 rail link – is no longer “safeguarded” from redevelopment. Segro will develop the site in two phases, potentially creating up to 1,400 jobs.

City firms creating 25% more jobs

The number of new jobs created in the City has jumped 25 per cent in February compared to a year ago, according to recruiter Astbury Marsden. The firm says 3,220 new jobs were created in the City in February. City firms have created 34 per cent more jobs over the past three months than a year ago.

Foreign-owned firms neglected

“Unloved” foreign-owned businesses are not making enough profits because of parental neglect, experts claimed today. Many of the 2,000 companies across the country are starved of investment creating, uncertainty for employees, management and customers, according to private equity firm Endless.

What the Sunday papers said

Gambling Bill  to be altered

An explosion in pre-watershed betting advertising, primarily for bingo and televised football matches, is set to trigger amendments to the Government’s Gambling Bill which reaches the House of Lords next week. Peers will call on Culture Secretary Maria Miller to make an urgent review of the Bill.

The Independent on Sunday

‘Scotch’ trouble at independence

Independence for Scotland could put the nation’s £4bn exports of Scotch whisky at risk from foreign copycats. The term “Scotch whisky” is protected by UK and EU rules, but agreements would be at risk if Scotland leaves the UK and applies to rejoin the EU as an independent state.

Mail on Sunday

Childless women disadvantaged

Two-thirds of childless women are asked to work longer hours than those who are parents, a survey by gender equality campaigner Opportunity Now found: 25,000 women were surveyed, with rising “tension” noted between the two groups.

The Sunday Telegraph

RBS to cut stake in Ulster Bank

Royal Bank of Scotland is considering plans to merger its Ulster Bank arm with Irish rivals. With £2.5bn in losses in the past two years, it accounts for a fifth of RBS’s bad debt. A tie-up could see RBS’s stake in Ulster cut to below 50 per cent.

The Sunday Times