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The Business Matrix: Monday 25 February 2013

ITV watches ad spending rise

Square-eyed analysts have been licking their lips over the ITV full-year results on Wednesday. There was rehashed bid speculation earlier this month but the main reason investors have been piling into the shares is talk that ad spend is up. Analysts expect pre-tax profits at around £460m.

Apple drops its vote tactic

Apple has dropped a planned vote of shareholders. A judge backed a lawsuit by activist shareholder David Einhorn, who wants Apple to return more cash to shareholders. Following a preliminary ruling in New York, Apple dropped plans to ask shareholders whether to abolish a contractual right that the company enjoys to issue preference shares without limit.

£645m recovered from lost accounts

Up to £645m of cash sitting in forgotten bank accounts has been returned to its owners over the past five years through a free tracing service run by the financial industry. About 315,000 people have used My Lost Account since the scheme was launched in 2008, its operators said. About 580,000 search applications had been made, they added.

Housing market signals awaited

The housebuilders Persimmon and Bovis Homes report today and the results will give investors an idea of how house prices and property values are holding up. The outlook for the housing market is good – a recent Rightmove survey showed that house prices were nearing a pre-crisis high.

Hot competition for Whitbread

The coffee shops and hotels operator Whitbread makes a trading statement tomorrow. Morgan Stanley's Jamie Rollo said it "remains a high-quality investment", but he is worried about growth, as the "competition intensifies" with more rivals in the budget market. He rates the stock a hold.

Google+ woos online advertisers

Google is promising businesses greater returns on advertising if they sign up to its social network, in a fresh attempt to take on rivals Facebook and Twitter. The search giant has been emailing advertisers boasting that businesses with Google+ pages see a 5 to 10 per cent rise in click-throughs when linked with its AdWord campaigns.

Covent Garden growth expected

The property company Capital & Counties, owner of Covent Garden and Earls Court, has been boosted by its focus on central London, and Numis's Chris Spearing expects the value of its Covent Garden assets to have grown by around 7 per cent when it reports on Thursday.

John Lewis eyes House of Fraser

John Lewis held talks with department store rival House of Fraser about buying it last year but did not proceed. The revelation comes amid rumours that other retailers have looked at buying some or all of the 63 stores. Debenhams is understood to think that a quarter of the stores would be attractive.

Mail on Sunday

Vodafone may bid for Spain's Yoigo

Vodafone is preparing a takeover bid for a small Spanish mobile operator, Yoigo, to bolster its flagging fortunes on the Iberian peninsula. Yoigo was put up for sale last year by the Nordic provider TeliaSonera, but bids fell short of its €1bn (£870m) target. Yoigo has 3.5 million subscribers and could sell for between €750m and €1.25m.

Sunday Times

We do our bit for Britain – Centrica

Energy firm Centrica is to reveal that it contributes more than £14bn to the British economy in taxes, job creation and contracts with suppliers. The boast will appear in an economic impact report by Oxford Economics. Centrica hopes it will head off criticism of the size of its profits, due out this week.

Sunday Telegraph

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