The Business Matrix: Monday 26 March 2012


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RBS is among the bidders for Game

Bidders are circling the stricken Game Group, which is due to go into administration today. A consortium of existing banks led by state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland is among three potential bidders for the chain which has 610 UK stores. It is also thought American rival Gamestop is eyeing its UK and Spanish business. PwC, the administrator, will announce the closure of loss-making stores which will lead to job losses among the 6,000-strong staff.

Buy-to-let rents continue to climb

Figures published today reveal continuing strong demand for rental properties last year led to a 4.8 per cent growth in the average rent achieved by buy-to-let landlords. The average monthly rent climbed to £716 in 2011 as a result, up from £682 in 2010. The figures published today by BM Solutions – Lloyds Banking Group's buy-to-let arm – echo a survey earlier this month from Rightmove. The highest rental yields last year of 7 per cent were in the North of England.

The Independent on Sunday

The Co-operative Group is considering plans to jettison some of its smaller businesses in the latest shake-up of the mutually owned business, which will post a sharp fall in annual profits this week. The move comes as fears grow over the group's bid to acquire 632 branches from Lloyds Banking Group.

The Mail on Sunday

Banks are planning to delay payment of bonuses in order to take advantage of the new 45p tax band announced in the Budget. The plans would see awards covering recent years – due to be paid in March 2013 – delayed until April when the 50p top rate of tax will end. Banks have paid around £7bn in bonuses a year.

The Sunday Times

The company that owns British Airways is examining plans to buy a stake in American Airlines to stop the carrier falling into the hands of rivals such as Delta. International Airlines Group is close to appointing an adviser following a round of meetings with investment banks about the future of American Airlines.

The Sunday Telegraph

The Prudential is facing serious questions over its attitude towards the Financial Services Authority after a leaked email from one of the insurance company's executives described the regulator's policy as ludicrous. The email also said Prudential should up its lobbying efforts to change "ill-judged" regulations.

Irn Bru maker hopes to keep fizz

AG Barr, the maker of Irn Bru, will hope it can start the week with a fizz as the soft drinks group announces its preliminary results, with the group already having said it expects sales to have risen 6 per cent. Panmure Gordon expects this to translate into an operating profit of £34m, 4 per cent up on last year.

Spotlight on Wolseley's US arm

The state of its operations in the US is expected to dominate the conversation around builders' merchant Wolseley's first-half figures on Tuesday. Last year, the group said its sales growth in America was roughly 7 per cent higher than its rivals, so Jefferies' scribblers are interested in whether this has continued.

Domino's strong start to 2012

At the time of its final results last month, Domino's Pizza said the year started well and that like-for-like sales for the first seven weeks had risen 3.7 per cent. This was up on the 3 per cent growth it managed over the previous year. Punters hope Wednesday's first-quarter update will see this continue.

Tui Travel stays on track

Tui Travel revealed back in February that – thanks in no small part to the woes of Thomas Cook, the tour operator had been enjoying a much better time of it than its rivals in the UK. Wyn Ellis, of Numis Securities, believes Thursday's pre-close update from Tui will be similarly bullish.