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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 16 August 2011

Google to buy Motorola

Google is to make a major purchase in the hardware sector of the technology business for the first time by paying $12.5bn for Motorola Mobility. The two companies already work closely together because Motorola was one of the first adopters of Google’s Android operating system. The deal is seen as a threat to Apple.

Merkel faces political pressure

Angela Merkel will find herself caught at a summit today between key partners in the eurozone who want the German Chancellor to back proposals for the launch of eurobonds as a way out of the bloc’s sovereign debt crisis, and political colleagues back home who say the Government could fall if she does so. MORE

Rockhopper gets Falklands boost

Rockhopper Exploration has increased its estimate for how much oil it could find and extract off the Falkland Islands. The announcement increases hopes the remote South Atlantic archipelago could become a new centre for oil production. Rockhopper said new data indicated that its Sea Lion discovery might extend further than was thought.

Mitie lifted by spending cuts

Public sector cuts appear to have been good news for Mitie, the outsourcing company, whose record order book was boosted by local councils and health trusts looking to cut costs. The company said yesterday it had secured 85 per cent of its budgeted annual revenues only four and a half months into its financial year.

Greenland opens up on oil spill plan

Greenland said last night it would publish its oil spill response plan, in a move which could dampen some of the controversy surrounding oil exploration in its waters. In June, Greenpeace lodged a complaint with the Greenland parliament calling for the release of an oil spill response plan.

Wincanton sells up in Europe

Wincanton announced its exit from mainland Europe yesterday after agreeing the sale of businesses with 3,000 staff. The €44m (£39m) sale to the logistics firm Rhenus – which will also assume a pension deficit of €30m – covers Wincanton’s operations in 38 locations in Germany and 30 sites in France.

BT Wholesale boss to quit

Sally Davis, currently the chief executive of BT’s Wholesale arm, is to step down at the end of October after four years for “personal reasons”, the company has announced. She will be replaced by Nigel Stagg, the managing director of the group’s small and medium-sized enterprise division, BT Business.

Jones builds fund for acquisitions

Peter Jones, one of the stars of the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, is looking for a private equity partner to join him to invest up to £500m in awell-known but struggling UKbrand. Mr Jones yesterday sold his Wireless Logic business for £38m to the private equity group ECI Partners to add to a deal fund of almost £100m.

Michael Page sees banking decline

Michael Page, the international recruitment company, saw a major sell-off of its shares yesterday after warning that it had seen as marked slowdown in the banking sector over the past few weeks – and that the UK market as a whole was now “challenging”. The shares fell by more than 8 per cent.

Record fine for hedge fund boss

The Financial Services Authority has fined a hedge fund manager £2m, its biggest ever fine on an individual, for making fake trades to cover up losses in a fund that collapsed in the credit crisis. The case concerns Michiel Weiger Visser, the Dutch chief executive of London-based Mercurius Capital Management.

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