The Business Matrix: Tuesday 1 July 2014


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Legoland park to open in Japan

Merlin Entertainments is to open a Legoland in Nagoya, near Osaka, as the FTSE 250 company makes a play for the £4bn Japanese theme park sector. The £185m project is due to open in 2017 and will be Merlin’s eighth Legoland. Japan, the world’s second largest theme-park market, already has Disneyland and Universal Studios parks.

Old Mutual begins float for US asset

Old Mutual has stepped up plans to offload its US asset management business by filing for a stock market flotation in New York. The FTSE 100 insurer is hoping to sell up to $100m (£59m) of shares in the division, which accounts for $203bn of Old Mutual’s total $506bn assets. The unit could be worth about $2.6bn.

3i set to see big return from Foster

Britain’s oldest private equity firm, 3i, expects to make almost twice its original investment in Foster and Partners by selling its holding in the company back to its partners. 3i bought a minority stake in the architect from founder Lord Foster, who designed the Gherkin – in 2007 and now expects to bank just under £150m.

Bulgarian banks crisis eases

Bulgaria’s banking crisis eased yesterday, with fewer depositors queuing to withdraw savings after politicians assured them that their cash was safe. The European Commission gave Sofia the green light to provide state aid to lenders after the central bank said that criminals had tried to disrupt the financial system.

Mecom group sells for £196m

Mecom, the European news- paper group founded by David Montgomery, the former Mirror Group boss, has been bought by the Belgian media group De Persgroep for £196m. Investors will get 155p a share, a 35 per cent premium to Friday’s price, but a fraction of its 2007 peak when shares were worth £66.

Joint £790m bid for Club Med

Italy’s Investindustrial, a private equity firm run by the tycoon Andrea Bonomi, has teamed up with the South African entrepreneur Sol Kerzner to make a £790m bid for the French holiday operator Club Med. The offer trumps an existing bid from the French private equity firm Ardian and Chinea’s Fosun.