The Business Matrix: Tuesday 13 January 2015


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Canary Wharf  bid ‘not enough’  

The owner of London’s Canary Wharf financial district (left) has advised investors not to accept a Qatari-led $4bn (£3bn) takeover bid for now. Songbird Estates said that the 350p-a-share offer, from Qatar Investment Authority and Brookfield Property Partners, undervalued the group and its prospects.

Lewis pulls Tesco out of Hungary

The Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, continued to swing the axe yesterday, revealing it will close 13 stores in Hungary to “secure the long-term future and profitability” of the operation. It has been in the country since 1995 and has more than 200 branches, but has recently seen shoppers turning to discounters and convenience stores.

Liberty bonds in group overhaul

Liberty Global is reorganising its European businesses, merging the UK’s Virgin Media with UPC Ireland and UPC Netherlands with Ziggo, according to sources close to the matter. As part of the move, Virgin Media is raising £925m from new bonds and the Netherlands-based Ziggo is raising €730m (£570m).

Madoff lawyers  to join Boies  

Two US prosecutors who have led high-profile fraud cases, such as the investigation of Bernard Madoff, are leaving the US Justice Department to join prominent law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Matthew Schwartz and John Zach  will head a white-collar defence and investigations practice in New York.

New association proposal for BBA

A consultation this month will propose folding the British Bankers’ Association, tarnished by the Libor interest rate rigging scandal, into a new retail banking association, Reuters reported yesterday. The other trade associations include the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Payments Council.

Sarver walks from Rangers bid

The US basketball franchise owner Robert Sarver has ruled out making another offer Rangers after the Scottish football club rejected his improved £20m offer yesterday. Last week he increased his bid to buy 100 million new shares in the club from 18p to 20p a share to give him a majority stake.

Lamprell warns of 10% dip in sales

The oil rig engineering Lamprell has warned it expects sales next year to be 10 per cent below current expectations after the recent collapse in oil prices cut exploration activity. But the London-listed firm said last year’s £72m fund-raising left it in a good position.

No discounts but FatFace flourishes

The fashion retailer FatFace said its decision not to discount over Christmas was vindicated by a 13 per cent rise in festive sales, compared with a year ago. However the group, which shelved IPO plans last May, said the warm autumn meant its half-year profits were flat.

HSS plans float  to boost growth

The tool hire firm HSS intends to float on the London Stock Exchange as it attempts to greatly accelerate the growth of the business. HSS, which employs almost 3,000 staff, wants to expand from 265 to 500 locations.

End-of-year boost for Superdrug

The owner of Superdrug said the chemist posted a 7.4 per cent rise in underlying sales in December compared with a year ago. AS Watson also owns The Perfume Shop chain, and said its sales rose by 2 per cent in the six weeks to 27 December.