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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 21 June 2011

Citigroup puts EMI up for sale

EMI, the record label whose artists include Tinie Tempah and Gorillaz, has been officially put up for sale by its investment banking owner, Citigroup, which seized control of the group earlier this year. Citigroup took control of the firm from financier Guy Hands, whose Terra Firma private equity group bought EMI for £4.2bn in 2007.

Ofcom lets firms trade spectrum

The owner of Orange and T-Mobile can finally meet European competition regulations and sell off spectrum, after Ofcom approved a trading mechanism for the commodity that is crucial to the mobile industry. The telecoms watchdog announced yesterday that it had given UK operators the green light to trade their spectrum.

Holidaybreak sells ticket firm

Holidaybreak has sold its London-based theatre tickets business in a £10.9m deal as it looks to cut its debt pile and focus on its education arm, which organises travel trips for schools. West End Theatre Bookings, which made £1m profits on revenues of £20m in the 12 months to September, has been sold to Encore Tickets.

Austerity boosts rogue traders

Conmen and rogue traders are exploiting consumers, desperate to cut costs in the tough economic climate, according to a report by the Citizens Advice Bureau today. The CAB said people looking to save money on bills, increase their income, find work and affordable homes are increasingly being taken in by scams and clever conmen.

Premium air travel falls

International air travel in first and business class has slumped because of Japan’s nuclear crisis, weakening world trade and Middle East turmoil, the International Air Transport Association warned. The industry body said the premium market hit a soft patch in April which is expected to last for the second quarter.

Profits warning from Charter

Shares in the engineer Charter International slumped by almost a quarter yesterday as it warned profits this year would be below expectations. One subsidiary, Howden, is trading well, but ESAB, its other core business, is below par and Dublin-based Charter is cutting a further £30m from its cost base.

Crown Corp chief jailed for a year

The former chief executive of Crown Corporation has been sentenced to 12 months in jail after being found guilty of making false statements to the London Stock Exchange about the finances of the AIM-listed investment firm. Stuart Pearson has also been disqualified from acting as director for five years.

Jiau found guilty of insider trading

Winifred Jiau, the first consultant for an “expert network” firm to go to trial on insider trading charges, has been convicted in the US of securities fraud and conspiring with hedge funds to gain an illegal market advantage. Jiau had been charged with leaking information she got from insiders at the chip-makers.

US court rejects Walmart suit

The US Supreme Court has rejected a mammoth classaction lawsuit charging sex discrimination at Walmart Stores. The justices ruled that more than a million female employees could not proceed together in the lawsuit accusing Walmart of paying women less and giving them fewer promotions.

Clearout at Skype ahead of takeover

Skype, the internet telephony company, has sacked more than half a dozen of its senior executives, in a boardroom clearout ahead of its takeover by Microsoft. Among the executives who have left are David Gurlé, a VP in charge of selling Skype to corporate customers, and Don Albert, its advertising boss.

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