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The Business Matrix: Saturday 17 March 2012

Watchdog slams website Groupon

Groupon, the group-buying discounting website, has been forced by the Office of Fair Trading to change its trading methods after complaints about misleading ads and unfair practices. The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that its promotions "breached consumer protection regulations".

WorldSpreads scandal erupts

A scandal erupted at the City spread betting house WorldSpreads yesterday, when the firm admitted it is "currently unable" to assess its own finances. Its shares were suspended at 37p after "a review of the firm's financial position" that found "possible financial irregularities".

Jaeger looks to cut head office jobs

Up to 25 head office jobs are under threat at Jaeger, the upmarket fashion brand, as part of a review of the business being led by Carolyn Springett, its new managing director. The retailer has started a consultation period with staff, as it seeks to outsource more of its design and development to help deliver cost savings.

Rothschilds in family bonding

Lord Rothschild's London investment trust has teamed up with his French cousin's private bank to form a joint asset management business. Jacob Rothschild's RIT Capital Partners will hold 49 per cent of the joint venture and Edmond de Rothschild Group, headed by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, 51 per cent.

Tullow strikes oil in offshore Ghana

Tullow Oil has found oil in its well in offshore Ghana. The FTSE 100 firm said the Enyanra-4A well, in the deep-water offshore Tano licence, had good-quality sandstone reservoirs. The discovery comes after the oil explorer doubled its dividend earlier this week after record earnings.

Beale restructures as squeeze bites

The department store group Beale has launched a restructuring of the business as the consumer spending squeeze triggered a slide in sales. The Bournemouth-based group said like-for-like sales were down more than 8 per cent in the latest quarter, but its performance was still in line with expectations.

Four in 10 expect home prices to rise

Consumer optimism in the housing market is growing, but so are fears over job security, the Building Societies Association said today. Four out of 10 people expect house prices to rise this year, up from a third when the survey was last carried out in December 2011, the BSA's Property Tracker study found.

Vivendi unlikely to concede on EMI

Vivendi's Universal Music is not expected to offer concessions to European competition regulators assessing its $1.9bn bid for EMI's recorded music unit. That will trigger a lengthy inquiry of up to four months, a person familiar with the matter said. Yesterday was the deadline for Universal to offer concessions.

BP sinks more into Namibia prospect

The oil giant BP has bought an additional 20 per cent of a prospect off the coast of Namibia from Petrobras, taking its stake to 45 per cent. The owners of the block, which also include Chariot Oil and Gas and Petrobras, plan to start drilling in the second half of the year.

EMIS racks up healthy orders

EMIS is racking up new orders despite "political upheaval and austerity challenges in the NHS". The firm, one of the few fans of the Coalition's health reforms, has its software in 450 GP practices with orders placed for 1,401 more. Profits rose 17 per cent to more than £21m last year.

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