The Business Matrix: Saturday 3 September 2011

SAB challenges Foster’s figures

Australia’s takeovers body is to assemble a panel of experts on Monday to review an application by Peroni brewer SABMiller alleging that its takeover target Foster’s made “misleading and deceptive” statements. The move comes as Foster’s starts a roadshow to try to rally international investors to oppose the bid by the London listed brewer.

LSE in talks with clearing house

The London Stock Exchange is in talks about a deal with LCH.Clearnet, Europe’s largest independent clearing house. The bourse, which recently abandoned plans to merge with the owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange, said discussions were taking place regarding a “potential transaction” but did not give further details.

Campbell Soup’s profits fall

Campbell Soup has reported a 12 per cent fall in its quarterly profits to $100m (£62m), weighed down by restructuring charges. However, the world’s largest soup maker’s results surpassed Wall Street’s expectations after strong sales at its baking and snacking segment. The group has cut back on discounts in favour of more advertising.

Construction suffers slowdown

Two key surveys have revealed a worrying slowdown in the construction industry. New orders fell 16.3 per cent in the second quarter to their lowest level since 1980, the ONS said. And the sector grew in August at its slowest pace this year as the housing sector contracted and confidence sank, according to a Markit/Cips survey.

Smiths buys Power Holdings

Smiths Group, the airport scanners- to-medical-devices firm, has boosted its electronics Interconnect arm with the acquisition of Power Holdings for £145m. The US firm provides power technology used in data centres and alternative energy applications. It is Smiths’ sixth and largest deal in three years.

Tarmac deal not yet cemented

The Office of Fair Trading has challenged a proposed merger between the UK construction businesses of Anglo American’s Tarmac and Lafarge, the French cement maker that owns Blue Circle. The OFT has referred the deal to the Competition Commission after concluding that it may affect competition.

US lawsuit ‘set to aid UK victims’

Lawyers for British investors claiming £12m from Barclays over losses in Bernard Madoff’s funds say their cases could be aided by a lawsuit filed against the bank by the trustee of the US fraudster’s fund firm. Barclays is among six firms sued this week in connection with a Madoff feeder fund, Fairfield Sentry.

Investor refuses to play ball

The US hedge fund manager David Einhorn has walked away from talks to take a $200m (£123m) stake in the New York Mets. The baseball team’s owners are being sued for $1bn by trustees for victims of Bernard Madoff, who claim they withdrew bogus profits from accounts held at the fraudster’s firm.

Halliburton sues BP for defamation

The US oil fields contractor Halliburton is suing BP in Texas state court for “negligent misrepresentation, business disparagement and defamation” over the Gulf of Mexico disaster last year. Halliburton, which cemented the well, said BP gave it inaccurate information. BP said it would vigoursly contest the claims.

Majors return to Libyan fields

Libyan officials said yesterday that five international oil firms, including the Italian major Eni, are back in the country and working to resume operations. They added that international expertise would be key to getting oil flowing again as Libya must restore production quickly to revive its economy.