The Business Matrix: Thursday 7 April 2011

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Actelion recruits Garnier to its board

Switzerland’s Actelion has proposed Jean-Pierre Garnier, the former GlaxoSmithKline chief executive, and Robert Bertolini, the former Schering- Plough finance chief, to join its board, with a view to Mr Garnier becoming chairman next year.

Munger defends stake in BYD

Charlie Munger, the long-term partner of Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, has defended his stake in BYD, a Chinese car firm that Berkshire invested in several years later. Mr Munger, pictured, said he stayed out of talks when Mr Buffett was considering investing.

Saatchi enjoys 20% birthday bonus

Maurice Saatchi pocketed a 20 per cent pay rise last year as the advertising agency he founded marked its 15th anniversary. The firm, which regained the Tory Party as a client before the election, paid Mr Saatchi £461,000 including perks and incentives.

Ex-poker pro buys Blockbuster video

Charlie Ergen, founder of the satellite TV firm EchoStar and a former pro-poker player, has trumped the veteran investor Carl Icahn to buy Blockbuster.MrIcahn, who has invested in the video rental firm since 2004, last month called it “the worst investment I ever made”.

Billingsgate porters take action

Porters at Billingsgate fish market will stage a fresh protest today against plans to change licensing bylaws which they say will hit their working practices. The union Unite said the porters believe that moves by the City of London Corporation are an attempt to remove them from the historic London market.

Thales to axe 80 railway jobs

Thales is to axe 80 rail contract workers’ jobs, blaming “business challenges” and a cut in orders. The RMT union added that staff were at risk in depots at London Waterloo, Cheadle, Crawley, York, Ashford, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Deutsche Börse not raising NYSE bid

Deutsche Börse has no plans to raise its agreed $10.2bn bid for NYSE Euronext, although it offer has been trumped by joint proposal from Nasdaq OMX and IntercontinentalExchange, a source familiar with the talks said last night. Nasdaq and ICE unveiled their $11.3bn cash-and-share alternative to the German group’s all-share offer last week, with the NYSE board planning to meet by 14 April to consider the proposal.

R-R and Daimler bid for Tognum

Rolls-Royce and Daimler have launched an official €3.2bn (£2.8bn) bid for diesel-engine maker Tognum, yet investors were hoping for more after rumours of the pending deal emerged last month. Engine Holding, a joint venture between the suitors, has offered €24 a share, a 30 per cent premium to the company’s share price the day before takeover chat first emerged.

Prezzo to step up expansion plans

The pizza and pasta restaurant chain Prezzo has pledged to step up its expansion this year after revealing better than expected profits. The group, which runs 160 outlets, said its annual profits rose 12 per cent to £14m, outperforming City forecasts. Revenues rose 15 per cent to £105m, helped by the opening of 20 sites following the acquisition of 11 from Caffe Uno in a £3m deal.

Marketing giant Chime bids for Icon

Chime Communications, the marketing and communications giant founded by Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor Tim Bell, is buying sports marketing business Icon for an initial consideration of £11m. It also announced a share placing to raise £12.3m, which will help finance the acquisition of minority interests in Bell Pottinger Middle East and Facts International.

Travelodge targets school-leavers

Travelodge has launched a management apprenticeship programme for school-leavers, and has pledged to create 500 places. The budget hotel chain said the scheme would offer a fast-track route into hotel management, with the chance for youngsters to become managers by the age of 21 and earn up to £30,000. MORE

Asos launches apprentice scheme

The online fashion retailer Asos is backing apprenticeships in fashion and textiles, offering work and training at Asos’s head office in London and at its Factory Fashion Enter. There the apprentices will learn about technical skills such as pattern-cutting and mass production. The factory produces 5,000 garments a week for Asos.

JJB in search for £65m investment

JJB Sports is to tap investors for £65m in an attempt to stabilise its precarious financial position. The retailer has the backing of its four largest shareholders, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust. The group has approval for the latest round after creditors and investors approved a CVA to help JJB to avoid administration.

Beales buys 19 Co-op stores

The regional department store chain Beales is to more than double in size after buying 19 outlets from the mutual group Anglia Regional Co-operative Society as part of its aim to become a national brand. It will leave Arcs with just four department stores as the co-operative looks to focus on food retailing, funerals and travel.