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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 8 October 2013

BP may face fines of $18bn over spill

The question of how much oil spewed out of BP’s Macondo well during the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010 was centre-stage at the hearing into the disaster yesterday, with a US government lawyer claiming that at least 4.2 million barrels escaped. If the Judge accepts the government’s estimate, BP could face fines of up to $18bn (£11bn).

Almacantar settles legal claim

Developer Almacantar has settled its legal claim against the Marylebone Cricket Club over its £400m Vision for Lord’s, dropped by the august cricket club almost two years ago. Almacantar, led by property veteran Mike Hussey, launched legal action in April 2012 to reclaim a reported £400,000 over costs run up in the bidding process.

Founders regain Approved Index

The founders of the UK’s fastest-growing technology company have bought back the business they sold to the publishing giant Reed Elsevier five years ago.The online business-to-business marketplace Approved Index was sold to Reed in 2008 for an undisclosed sum and its co-founders used the proceeds to set up MVF Global.

Hearst’s UK arm sees profits triple

The glossy magazine publisher behind Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and Good Housekeeping yesterday credited its embrace of digital for helping pre-tax profits to triple to £17.4m last year. Leaving aside exceptionals, operating profits still climbed by a third at Hearst’s UK arm, with turnover up 3.4 per cent  at £335.6m.

Intu spends €162m on Spanish centre

The owner of the Lakeside shopping centre has made a bold pitch into Spain, armed with the financial firepower of a huge Canadian pension fund. Intu Properties, which owns 16 shopping centres across the UK, has spent €162m (£10m) on the Parque Principado Shopping Centre in Asturias.

PTS sells stake to growth fund

A London business that helps clients move into buildings such as the Cheesegrater and the Gherkin has received a multimillion-pound injection from the Business Growth Fund. The owners of IT consultancy PTS have agreed to sell a minority stake in the business to the BGF, a £2.5bn vehicle.

Albemarle & Bond battles £51m debt

Albemarle & Bond has welcomed its new boss more than a week earlier than expected. Chief executive Chris Gillespie was not due to take up his new position until 18 October but has stepped into the hot seat as the company labours under £51m of debt.

Heron Tower gets £288m lifeline

Property tycoon Gerald Ronson’s Heron Tower has been given a £288m lifeline by US private equity group Starcapital. The deal saves the 42-storey tower in the heart of the City from the threat of administration or even a threatened fire sale by the property’s bankers.

Thomas Cook sells off firms

Thomas Cook has sold its Egypt and Lebanon businesses to a Gulf conglomerate for £6.5m. Thomas Cook Egypt and Thomas Cook Lebanon sold outbound corporate and leisure travel to Egyptian and Lebanese customers.

National Express seeks Berlin rail

National Express has been shortlisted for a €2bn (£1.7bn) deal to run the Berlin Ringbahn railway, potentially replacing the state-owned operator. It comes a month after the group signed a 15-year deal to run trains in North Rhine Westphalia.

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