The Business Matrix: Saturday 17 December 2011


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The Independent Online


Hunter wellies go to private equity

Hunter, the maker of upmarket wellies favoured by the likes of Kate Moss, has been bought by a private equity firm in a deal which sees its current shareholders cash out part of  their  investments. Searchlight Capital Partners has taken a controlling stake in Hunter from its existing four shareholders, including the fashion group Pentland.

Partner to pay BP $250m over spill

BP will receive $250m (£161m) from Cameron International, a contractor on the Macondo well, in settlement of their dispute over liability for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Cameron made the blow-out preventer which proved ineffective on the Deepwater Horizon rig. This is the fourth settlement BP has made with a partner in the project.

National Grid loses US deal

National Grid has lost its $40m a year (£26m) contract to run the Long Island electricity system in New York state after 13 years, amid an investigation into overcharging for its American services. Britain's grid operator insisted there was no connection between the inquiry and Long Island Power Authority's decision not to renew its contract.

Burberry boss in shares giveaway

Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts has sold £574,000 worth of shares in the brand to give to the charity she set up along with her husband, Gregg Couch. Ahrendts gave them to the Ahrendts-Couch Family Foundation, which sold them at 1148p a share. The couple set up the private charity in the past few weeks to give to good causes.

Playtech splashes cash on Ash

Playtech is splashing out £23m to buy online games developer Ash Gaming, seriously enriching the London-based founder. Chris Ash founded the business in 2002. The company's best-known titles are Amazon Wild and Madness House of Fun. In the year to April, it had revenues of £4.2m, with a profit of £2.6m.

MF Global clients' positions in hand

All but a tiny handful of MF Global UK's clients' positions have been closed or transferred since the London arm went under at the end of October, the administrators said last night. KPMG said it had recovered £594m, or 82 per cent, of clients' money which had been stuck when the firm collapsed.

Tough market trips up Imac

Ingenious Media Active Capital, which is behind the Creamfields music festival and the BBC TV show Let's Dance, yesterday warned of tough market conditions as it lost more than £4m in six months. Imac, part of Patrick McKenna's media empire, said consumer confidence had been hit by "austerity and tax rises".

BlackBerry 10 launch delay

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has been forced to delay the launch of its BlackBerry 10. The phones were supposed to be on sale in the first three months of 2012. It blamed the advanced chips used. The company has had a difficult few months, with a service outage knocking $40m (£26m) off its net income.

Laura Ashley sees sales grow 1.4%

Laura Ashley said like-for-like sales increased 1.4 per cent in the 19 weeks to December 10. Sales in the 45 weeks to the same date were up 2.5 per cent, which suggests they have slowed since the first half, even though the fashion chain has closed five unprofitable stores in the year so far.

PwC facing new investigation

One of the big four accountancy firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is under investigation by the profession's disciplinary board over its role as auditor to Barclays Capital. It is the second time this year that PwC has been referred to the Accountancy & Actuarial Discipline Board following huge fines levied on its bank clients.