The Business Matrix: Saturday 24 December 2011



Chinese set for a spending spree

China is to add an extra $50bn (£31.8bn) to its sovereign wealth fund to make more rapid investments in Western businesses and companies. The extra cash will boost the fund, called China Investment Corporation, to $460bn. This week it spent $240m buying a 25 per cent stake in South African resources group Shanduka.

Shoe chain plans a shop spree

Michael Ziff, the former owner of failed shoe shop chain Barratts and Priceless Shoes, has written to the landlords of 70 shops he would like to buy out of administration. Barratts went bust earlier this month and Mr Ziff is still in discussion with the administrator, Deloitte. He bought 160 Barratts stores when it went into administration in 2009.

Capita snaps up translation firm

Capita has bought a translation business that acts for courts, prisons and police forces across the UK for £7.5m and up to a further £60m based on the next four years' profits. Applied Language Services employs 130 people and can call on a bank of 17,000 translators. It made a loss of £300,000 in the year to May on revenues of £10.6m.

Experian deal for online ID expert

Credit checker Experian has bought online identity expert Garlik from private equity firms DFJ Esprit and Doughty Hanson and its founders for an undisclosed sum. Garlik's DataPatrol, helps consumers protect themselves from identity theft and financial fraud. At the end of December last year Garlik's assets totalled $1m (£637,700).

ONS figures raise double-dip fears

A slump for the biggest chunk of the UK economy set alarm bells over a double-dip recession ringing even louder yesterday. Any hopes of Christmas cheer from the Office for National Statistics were dashed as activity in the UK's dominant services sector slumped by 0.7% in October — its biggest fall in six months.

United Carpets axes dividend

Plunging profits has seen United Carpets axe its dividend. Lower demand for beds was the main problem at the 85-store retailer. Bed sales fell 11.7 per cent, leaving overall revenues down 0.8 per cent in the six months to October. Half-year, pre-tax profit was £267,000 – less than half the £604,000 reported a year ago.

Japanese buy BAE businesses

BAE Systems today sold a seat belt division whose parts are used in Porsche, Lamborghini and Lotus cars as well as another safety business to Japan's Takata Corporation for $32m (£20.3m). BAE's Schroth and safety products businesses had operations in Florida and Germany employing 150 people.

Wimpey to build London homes

Taylor Wimpey yesterday set out plans to build more than 400 new homes in London next year. Schemes under construction or with planning permission are in West Hampstead, Tufnell Park, Islington, Newham and Lewisham. Further homes are planned for Greenwich, Kensington and Camden.

Perform's €16m for German firms

Internet sports-rights owner Perform Group yesterday spent up to €16m (£13.3m) to buy two German firms – Spox Media and Mediasports Digital. Perform said the deal would enhance its presence in Europe's largest digital market. The deal comprises an upfront €3.65m and €12.35m later, depending on performance.

Linklaters' City home sold

Saudis bought Linklaters' City home at 3 Bunhill Row for over £80m yesterday. The law firm has been in the building for 10 years but is to make way for fellow lawyers Trowers & Hamlins next year. Henderson Global Investors sold it to Manafea, a Saudi client of BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management.