The Business Matrix: Monday 2 May 2011

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The Independent Online

Virgin Media’s chief gets pay rise

Neil Berkett, the chief executive of Virgin Media, benefited from a 40 per cent jump in his paper fortune last year. He has share incentives worth about £7m and his basis salary rose by £100,000 to £650,000.

Lion Capital answers prayers of All Saints

All Saints was on the verge of being rescued last night by Lion Capital, the private equity firm. Lion was poised to acquire three-quarters of the shares of the trendy retailer, whose boss, Stephen Craig, is confident he can stitch together a deal.

M&A back on the radar for UK firms

More than a third of large UK companies plan to acquire smaller businesses during the next year, as firms start to shake off their cautious approach to corporate action after the last recession, according to a survey out today from Royal Bank of Scotland.

Two in £1.8bn fight for Warner Music

Two parties are vying to acquire Warner Music in a deal worth £1.8bn, which could be unveiled in days. The billionaire Gores brothers, who own US newspapers and technology firms, and Len Blavatnik, the media tycoon, are poised to submit binding bids for Warner Music, which manages the artists Michael Bublé and Jay-Z, this week. The successful bidder is then expected to turns its sights towards rival EMI.

Manufacturing cools in China

China’s massive manufacturing sector experienced a slight dip in activity in April, suggesting that attempts by the government to prevent the economy from overheating are having an impact. The purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which measures conditions in manufacturing, slipped to 52.9 in April from 53.4 in March. It is the 26th consecutive month that China’s PMI has been above 50, which indicates growth in activity.

Monsoon founder bags £16m dividend

The founder of Monsoon has paid himself a dividend of £16.4m after the fashion chain more than tripled pre-tax profits last year. Peter Simon, who established the retailer nearly 40 years ago, and his family have pocketed the payout, which was up from £14.7m in 2009. The fashion group, which owns the Accessorize chain, delivered pre-tax profits of £98.2m for the year to 28 August 2010.

FSA flounders over report into RBS

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is poised to admit its report into the near-collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in 2008 could be delayed indefinitely. The City watchdog was due to publish its report at the end of March into the crisis that led to the Government bailing out RBS with £45bn. But there is still no timetable for it to appear some two-and-a-half years since the bank’s crisis.

Maternity clothing chain sells stake

The founder of JoJo Maman Bébé, the maternity and babywear chain, has sold a minority stake to a private-equity firm to help to fund the chain’s expansion. Laura Tenison, who established the business in 1993, has sold the shareholding for an undisclosed value to Magenta Partners.

Sony considers bid for All3Media

The television arm of Sony, the Japanese electronics giant, is mulling a takeover bid of more than £600m for All3Media, the production company behind The Only Way Is Essex. Sony Pictures Television is considering a bid to grow its UK presence but may face competition from other firms.

TGI Friday’s invests in UK

The owner of TGI Friday’s, the American-themed restaurant chain, is to spend £70m on its UK operation over the next four years. Carlson, the US leisure conglomerate, said it wants to grow from 49 to 70 outlets in the UK, a move that will create up to 5,000 jobs. TGI Friday’s opened in the UK 25 years ago.

Aviva Tower sold for £290m

Malaysia’s richest family has bought the London headquarters of Aviva, the insurance company, for nearly £290m. The Kuoks, who are led by Robert Kuok, one of Asia’s richest men, exchanged contracts on the 23-storey building in the capital’s Square Mile last month. Aviva Tower withstood the IRA bomb blast in 1992.