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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 17 June 2014

Drinkers take fizz out of Majestic

Majestic Wines failed to convince the City to start popping champagne corks as it revealed that profits remain flat and are unlikely to rise until 2016. Customers have been drinking less since the start of the year. Majestic managed to prop up the falling sales in its 206 stores with an increase in sales direct to pubs and bars.

UK leads world at online purchasing

British shoppers buy more goods online than those in any other country, with an average of 12 purchases a year, beating South Korea with eight transactions. However, a retail report by Kantar Worldpanel says that France will overtake the UK as Europe’s biggest online market by 2016 and worldwide sales will double.

UGL unloads DTZ in £663m deal

The property agent DTZ has been sold for A$1.2bn (£663m) by its Australian owner UGL to a consortium including the private equity investors TPG Capital and PAG Asia Capital and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. UGL put the business up for sale to concentrate on its engineering and construction businesses.

Alibaba profits soar ahead of float 

The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s annual profits nearly tripled, it said yesterday it prepares for what could be the largest-ever US flotation. It said net income climbed to CNY23.1bn (£2.2bn)for the year to the end of March, up from CNY8.4bn. Revenues for the  12 months jumped by 52 per cent to CNY52.5bn.

Vodafone buys Cobra for £116m

Vodafone has bought an Italian provider of electronics services for the car industry for €145m (£116m) as the British mobile giant looks beyond its core phones market. Cobra Automotive Technologies specialises in telecoms and location tracking for motor vehicles.

Extel sold to investor website

Extel, one of the oldest names in the City of London, has been sold by Thomson Reuters for an undisclosed amount to the Hong Kong-based investor website WeConvene. Extel dates back to 1872 and has become best-known for its annual analyst surveys which rank broker and independent research.

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