The Business Matrix: Tuesday 24 February 2015


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The Independent Online

AudioBoom signs Russell Brand 

Russell Brand has signed up to be the face and voice of audioBoom, recording a twice-weekly podcast for the online “radio” business. AudioBoom’s chief executive, Rob Proctor, said 2014 was a “transition” year. Revenue rose 13 per cent to £51,000, while losses widened to £2.11m. Registered users rose to 3.14 million.

Lavazza reduces Keurig stake

Keurig Green Mountain, the maker of the K-Cup single-serve coffee pod, is to buy back more than half of Italian coffee maker Luigi Lavazza SPA’s stake in  the company. Lavazza owns a 7.8 per cent share in Keurig but has been steadily reducing its stake in order to fund its acquisition of French coffee brands L’Or and Grand Mere.

New rules won’t affect non-execs

Non-executive directors without specific responsibilities will not be affected by tough new rules being brought in concerning the conduct of senior managers. “Non-executive directors provide challenge to executive directors,” said Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority. “Including all in the new regime would risk changing the nature of that vital role.”

Walker to head up Winton Capital

Sir David Walker has been appointed as chairman of  David Harding’s hedge fund, Winton Capital. Sir David, who stands down as Barclays’ chairman in April, will join Winton in July. Mr Harding,  the Cambridge physicist-turned-super-computer-trader, will split his role to become  chief executive.

Taxpayers’ £500m Lloyds windfall

The taxpayer’s stake in Lloyds Banking Group has fallen just below 24 per cent after the Government sold another £500m-worth of shares. The total amount recovered by the state so far amounts to almost £8bn. All shares have been sold above the 73.6p average price paid in the bailout.

Airports inquiry chief set for RBS

Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to appoint Sir  Howard Davies, the former chief of the Financial Services Authority and current head of the inquiry into airports around London, as its chairman. An announcement could come alongside the bank’s full-year results on Thursday.