The Business Matrix: Thursday 27 November 2014


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The Independent Online

Is selfie app a Twitter target?

Twitter has reportedly  held talks to buy Shots, a  selfie-sharing photo app backed by pop star Justin Bieber, pictured. Speculation about Twitter’s plans reached fever pitch after the social network’s finance boss Anthony Noto yesterday accidentally tweeted his intention to buy an unidentified company.

Time for tea at Patisserie Valerie

Cafés and cakes chain Patisserie Valerie is planning to rival the country’s best hotels with its roll-out of afternoon tea after a successful trial in Selfridges. The chain saw a 27.5 per cent jump in full-year sales after it floated in May and said it will start serving afternoon tea nationwide for £12.95 when the trial is over.

Telford’s sell-out Stratford success

Telford Homes sold £110m of flats in Stratford in just seven weeks. Despite a recent profit warning from London estate agent Foxtons and signs of falling new-buyer enquiries from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Telford has sold nearly all of its 307 flats in the aptly-named Stratosphere scheme.

MailOnline’s £21m revenue surge

MailOnline’s revenues have surged 41 per cent to £62m in the year to September, powering a 5 per cent growth in advertising for the Daily Mail newspaper division as digital sales strongly offset print decline. The £21m jump  in turnover compares with  an increase of about £16m  a year ago.

Strong US growth for Plumb Centre

Plumb Center owner Wolseley grew like-for-like sales in the UK by 0.5 per cent in the quarter to 31 October, despite 0.5 per cent price deflation. Strong growth in the United States, however,  meant that the group was able to report a rise in trading profits of 8.8 per cent to £235m for the period.

United looks to reinvest £280m

The water company United Utilities said profits rose £3m to £343m in the six months to 30 September after a £13m one-off customer discount. It said its strong performance means it can reinvest about £280m in the 2010-15 regulatory period while customers are set to see bills rise by less than inflation.

Rising cakes boost Finsbury

Speciality baker Finsbury Food has seen sales in the first half rise to £57.3m with its UK division up 5 per cent and a particularly strong performance from its cake business. The overseas division struggled though due to  fewer promotions.

Capital spending shrinks 0.7%

Business investment has contracted for the first time since the middle of last year according to official figures. Capital spending by firms fell 0.7 per cent in the three months to September. The overall GDP growth estimate was unchanged at 0.7 per cent.

Wal-Mart axes  30 execs in China

Wal-Mart has dismissed about 30 executives in China to lower costs in the country, where it has been struggling with slower sales. It also suffered a food scandal when its popular “Five Spice” donkey meat was found to have traces of fox.

Apollo poised to buy Presidio

Private equity firm Apollo is poised to buy Presidio in a deal that could value the information technology consulting company at close to $1.3bn. US-based Presidio manages technology for customers ranging from retailers to hospitals.