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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 27 March 2012


Monitise snaps up Clairmail

Monitise has acquired its US counterpart Clairmail for £109m as the market for banking and shopping by phone hots up. Under the terms of the all-share deal, Monitise will have a market capitalisation of close to £400m, with Clairmail representing 26.5 per cent. Both were loss-making on an operating basis last year, falling £28m into the red.

Middle-eastern buyers size up RBS

The Government has been holding talks with Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds over the sale of part of Royal Bank of Scotland. The Coalition is desperate to sell off the state's stake in RBS – and Lloyds – but it has been complicated by both banks' share prices sitting below the "buy in" price at which it would make a profit.

Hunger Games boosts Lions Gate

Shares in the Canadian film studio Lions Gate jumped nearly 10 per cent in pre-market trade yesterday after its new film The Hunger Games smashed box-office records by taking $155m (£98m) in its opening weekend in America. Analysts said the futuristic thriller had the highest-grossing opening weekend of any "non-sequel" movie.

Taxi firm expects lift from Games

London taxi drivers say the Olympics will clog up traffic, but the company that makes their vehicles reckons the 2012 Games will be a boost overall. Manganese Bronze's chief executive, John Russell, said: "In terms of taxi-driver income, it might not be a huge boost. But in terms of the overall economy it has got to be positive."

AG Barr chills out with ice-cream

The Irn-Bru maker AG Barr is moving into the ice-cream market with a range of tropical flavour tubs and lollies under its Rubicon brand. The group, which unveiled a 6.2 per cent rise in annual pre-tax profits to £33.6m yesterday on sales up 6.6 per cent to £237m, also warned its margins are under pressure.

Aberdeen reaps stocks benefit

The stock market's strong run since the summer is reflected in Aberdeen Asset Management's latest figures. Funds under management in the past two months have gained £10.5bn to £184.4bn, a reflection of rising markets, decent investment performance and investor confidence.

Bats abandons $760m flotation

Bats Global Markets, the third-largest US stock market, has scrapped its $760m flotation "for the foreseeable future", following the fiasco of its attempt to list its shares last Friday. A computer glitch sent trading in Bats shares haywire and brought down other parts of its market.

Galliford secures £49m in contracts

Galliford Try has won three building contracts worth £49m. Green Property has hired it on a £27m office-space project near St James's Park, London. Royal London Mutual Insurance wants its offices refurbished, for £9m, and it will construct a shopping park at Binley near Coventry.

Garden Centre hands over reins

The City financier Guy Hands is to get green fingers after his private-equity firm agreed to acquire the Garden Centre Group in a deal worth £276m. Terra Firma saw off competition from other buyout firms to bag the UK's biggest garden centre.

Santander to shut 56 branches

Santander is closing 56 branches in Britain to remove overlap in its network after it bolted together three separate businesses, which left it with two branches side by side in some places. The bank said there will be no job cuts.