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The Business Matrix: Saturday 18 August 2012

Qataris buy 20% stake in BAA 

Qatar Holding has bought a 20 per cent stake in BAA, which operates airports such as Heathrow, Glasgow and Southampton. The Gulf wealth fund is buying a 10 per cent stake from Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure firm which led the buyout of BAA in 2006. The Spanish group will still have a 39 per cent stake in BAA after the deal.

Petroceltic and Melrose to merge

The oil and gas minnows Petroceltic and Melrose have announced plans for a £350m merger. Petroceltic International, an explorer in areas like Algeria and Italy, and Melrose Resources, which operates in Bulgaria and Egypt, believe the skills of the combined group will dovetail in seeking out and producing oil and gas.

Games give John Lewis a boost

John Lewis said the final days of the Olympic Games had driven a 14.9 per cent spike in revenues over the week to 11 August. The department store chain's sales of sportswear and equipment powered ahead by 178 per cent, driven by strong demand for running shoes, tennis rackets and swimwear.

Royal London sees profits drop

Royal London reported a 38 per cent drop in first-half pre-tax profits to £86m after a slide in new business sales. The group said total life and pensions new business fell 1 per cent to £1.8bn in the six months to 30 June after a 3 per cent fall in sales at its Scottish Life division.

Carlyle interested in Chemring

The military equipment maker Chemring has received a preliminary expression of interest from the private equity firm Carlyle, sending its shares up 26 per cent. Chemring and its peers are facing the challenge of coping with lower defence spending as governments try to rein in budget deficits.

Heineken ups its offer for Tiger

Heineken has raised its offer of more than $6bn for the 58 per cent of Asia Pacific Breweries that it does not already own as it tries to fend off a Thai rival. The Dutch brewer is seeking control of the maker of Tiger beer to gain a larger slice of one of the last beer markets that is still growing rapidly.

Fair trade picking up a Treatt

The fair trade ingredients specialist Treatt said its US business had continued to perform well in the third quarter, while its core British division, RC Treatt, showed improvement on a difficult first half. But the firm said volatile raw material prices remained a challenge.

Expansys tops up with Orange deal

Expansys has won a contract to handle online mobile top-ups for Orange in the UK. The technology firm said its e-commerce division PJMedia would take on the account to provide top-up services to pre-pay customers of Orange, owned by Everything Everywhere, in the UK.

Mercury Pharma sold for £465m

HgCapital has sold Mercury Pharma to private equity firm Cinven for £465m. Hg bought the 25-year-old British pharmaceutical firm, which sells niche prescription off-patent products in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, in 2009.

Thompson steps up the pay ladder

Mark Thompson, the newly appointed chief executive of New York Times Co, stands to make $6m next year, roughly six times more than he did as director-general of the BBC. Mr Thompson's pay will include $1m base salary, options and bonuses.

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