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The Business Matrix: Monday 2 July 2012

Linley furniture in demand abroad

Demand from overseas buyers for bespoke furniture has helped the Queen's nephew, Viscount Linley, to generate record sales and boosted plans for his fourth store in London, which will open during the Olympics. Linley has experienced a year-on-year trading increase of 25 per cent, with e-commerce sales up 70 per cent, and has signed up for a store in Mayfair's Burlington Arcade.

Apple faces fine in Italy on warranty

Italy's competition regulator is threatening iPhone maker Apple with a fine of up to €300,000 (£244,000) if it does not offer local customers a free two-year warranty as demanded by Italian law, a source close to the watchdog said. The US business already faces penalties of €900,000 for failing to tell customers about their right to free assistance.

Glencore 'faces merger failure bill'

The Independent on Sunday says commodities giant Glencore will be forced to hand over nearly £300m to the FTSE 100 miner Xstrata, should it walk away from the £50bn merger. Advisers on both sides are also expected to lose well over £100m in fees, if Glencore's boss, Ivan Glasenberg, decides to abandon the merger rather than sweeten its terms.

Investors turn on Bob Diamond

The Sunday Telegraph says two of Barclays' leading shareholders have demanded the removal of Bob Diamond, the chief executive, and Marcus Agius, its chairman, as the firestorm surrounding the bank intensifies. One investor dismissed suggestions that Mr Diamond was required to lead the bank out of its current problems.

Pressure to stiffen Vickers' reforms

Financial Times Weekend reports Lord Lamont, a former Tory chancellor, and Lord Myners, ex-City minister, said the Barclays scandal meant tougher legislation was needed to clean up banking. Critics say Sir John Vickers' plans to ringfence retail banking from "casino" operations in investment banking go far enough.

Astra Zeneca in £2bn diabetes bet

Sunday Times says struggling pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has splashed out more than £2bn on a portfolio of pioneering diabetes drugs. Simon Lowth, interim chief executive, struck the deal with rival Bristol-Myers Squibb. The swoop comes months after David Brennan, the chief executive, quit amid a wave of discontent.

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