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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 12 March 2013

GE wants Mary Schapiro on board

General Electric has nominated Mary Schapiro, a former chairman of financial regulator the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to its board. Ms Schapiro, who is credited with helping to revive SEC, will stand for election at the conglomerate's annual general meeting on 24 April.

Diageo to simplify its business

Diageo, the world's biggest drinks firm, is simplifying its supply-and-distribution business over the next three years to save £60m a year. The Johnnie Walker and Guinness maker will cut smaller regional supply networks and rebase them in its 21 key global markets, in a move likely to cost the company an estimated £100m.

888 bets on joint venture in US

The online gambling group 888 has set up a joint venture with the $12bn (£8bn) Avenue Capital investment group to launch online gambling in the United States. The venture, called the All American Poker Network, will launch 888 gambling sites as and when individual states or federal-law changes make this possible.

St Ives moves into digital format

The printing firm St Ives has taken a major step forward in diversifying into digital by buying the marketing and technology firm Amaze for up to £24.3m from its parent company, Hasgrove. St Ives specialises in books for publishers such as Penguin and corporate literature for big brands such as HSBC and Sainsbury's.

Centre Point to be luxury flats

The owner of London's iconic Centre Point is making its second bid to win approval for £350m plans to transform the Richard Seifert-designed 1960s-built tower block into luxury flats. Developer Almacantar and partner Frogmore want to transform the area near New Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road.

Republic directors shown the door

Sportswear giant Sports Direct has parted company with the chief executive of Republic after acquiring the 116-store fashion chain out of administration last month. Paul Sweetenham, the former head of Europe at TK Maxx, has left, along with other Republic directors. He joined the chain in February 2012.

Intrade stops all trading activity

Online trading platform Intrade has ceased all trading activity pending an investigation. In a statement it blamed the halt on "circumstances… that may include financial irregularities". The move means users will not be able to withdraw money from their accounts.

Go North East facing strike woes

Bus company Go North East is facing a series of strikes across the North-east from this Friday over what the Unite union calls a below-inflation pay offer. The firm, which has offered a 2 per cent increase, is forecast to make £7.4m in profits this year, union leaders pointed out.

Dell opens books to activist investor

Computer maker Dell has agreed to open up its books to the scrutiny of activist investor Carl Icahn, who owns a large stake in the US firm. Mr Icahn, who has signed a confidentiality agreement, opposes buyout plans by founder Michael Dell.

No free ATMs penalises people

A lack of free cash machines means some people on low incomes or living in rural areas are unable to access the money they need, the UK Payments Council has warned. It has promised to try to find ways to improve the situation for vulnerable people.

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