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The Business Matrix: Thursday 6 October 2011

IMF intervention calms nerves

Stock markets across Europe and North America bounced back yesterday amid signs that the International Monetary Fund is prepared to intervene more actively in the eurozone sovereign-debt crisis than previously thought. However, the IMF warned again that it was imperative to strengthen Europe’s banks. MORE

Supergroup hit by upgrade debacle

Supergroup, the fashion retailer that has enjoyed stellar success since floating on the stock market 18 months ago, saw almost a third of its value disappear yesterday after warning that a disastrous upgrade to its warehouse and distribution system had cost it millions in lost sales. Its shares fell by almost 30 per cent. MORE

Game developers call for more help

The economy benefited to the tune of about £1bn from Britain’s video game industry last year, according to a study published yesterday by Tiga, the trade association for games developers. Tiga said smartphones and tablets had raised sales of games and made games publishing easier, but it called for more government support for the sector.

Thomas Cook faces strike ballot

Cabin crew at Thomas Cook are to be asked if they want to hold an industrial action ballot over redundancy terms. Unite, which represents around 1,300 cabin crew, said the move followed the breakdown of talks about terms for people losing their jobs. It wants the company to offer a more generous package to staff taking voluntary redundancy.

Private sector adds 91,000 jobs

US private-sector employers added 91,000 jobs in September, above economists’ expectations, a report by the payroll processor ADP showed yesterday. The data provided policymakers with some welcome relief amid mounting fears that the US’s economic recovery is threatening to stall.

Sales up at in-play Sportingbet

Online gambling firm Sportingbet said talks over a possible takeover by Ladbrokes were continuing as it posted higher-than-expected full-year earnings yesterday, sending its shares up 7 per cent. Sportingbet said it was also continuing discussions on the possible sale of its Turkish language website business.

Premier to pay £220m for Encore

Premier Oil is to buy Encore Oil for £220m in a deal that will expand its presence in the North Sea and could trigger a series of transactions among the smaller UK explorers. The takeover will raise Premier’s stake in the Catcher field – one of the biggest discoveries in the North Sea in recent years – to 50 per cent.

Kazakhs offer BG £713m peace deal

Kazakhstan said yesterday it would be willing to pay up to $1.1bn (£713m) for a tenth of Karachaganak, a local joint venture led by Britain’s BG Group and Eni of Italy. The government in Astana is conscious that Karachaganak is the only major oil development in which the state does not hold a stake.

Bloodletting at UBS continues

UBS has accepted the resignations of Francois Gouws and Yassine Bouhara, until now the co-heads of global equities, in the wake of last month’s rogue trade scandal, which saw the bank lose £1.5bn. UBS said last night that disciplinary investigations were ongoing, with a source saying further departures were likely.

Morgan Stanley bounces back

Executives at Morgan Stanley last night were cheering the success of their efforts to restore confidence in the investment bank, after a bear raid on the company’s share price and bond insurance that had threatened to spark an all-out panic. The bank rejected rumours about its exposure to French banks.

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