The Business Matrix: Wednesday 10 September 2014


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BGC makes hostile £418m bid for GFI

The inter-dealer broker BGC Partners has waded in with a $675m (£418m) hostile bid for rival GFI as pressure for consolidation in the sector mounts. A takeover would cut the major firms – BGC, GFI, Tullett Prebon, Tradition and Icap – to four. BGC is best known for its celebrity tie-ins.

Investec’s £3.7bn property offload

The investment bank Investec has sold its UK sub-prime mortgage business, Kensington, with some other home loans, to the private-equity firms Blackstone and TPG Capital for £180m. Selling the unit frees it of about £3.7bn of properties, bought just when the financial crisis hit, as part of a plan to offload non-core assets.

Secure Income value hits £1.47bn

Property veteran Nick Leslau’s new business Secure Income, which owns the freeholds to sites such as Alton Towers, has reported a 1 per cent rise in the value of its portfolio to £1.47bn in the three months since it listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market. It raised £15m in its June listing.

Banks ‘de-risking’ over laundering

Tough anti-money laundering procedures are making voluntary groups “unbankable”, MPs warned yesterday. The Financial Conduct Authority’s boss, Martin Wheatley, told the Treasury Select Committee that banks were concerned about the “proportionality of US fines” and were “de-risking” as a result.

Liberty to ‘look  at Formula One’

The US cable operator Liberty Global said it would like to acquire more sports rights and will “have a look” at Formula One. “Formula One is relevant in European markets, so of course we will look at it,” strategy officer James Ryan told the Royal Television Society, adding: “I’m sure we are not the only ones.”

Schaeuble rejects euro stimulus

The German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has rejected calls for Berlin to  spend more to boost the eurozone’s flagging economy. He told the German parliament that structural reforms were the only way to return  countries on the European periphery to growth.

£70m Crossrail job for Balfour

Building firm Balfour Beatty has won a £70m contract to redevelop Woolwich Station on the Crossrail line. The four-year project will start this month and includes work on the Thames Tunnel at North Woolwich and Plumstead where trains will surface. The news is welcome for investors who have endured a failed takeover by Carillion.

Strong headwinds hold Hilton back

Meat-packing business Hilton Food has reported a slight rise in half-year profits to £13.6m but said currency headwinds and constrained consumer spending meant it was unlikely to grow full-year profits. The firm said UK volumes were building after the start of a Tesco contract.

RSA alum takes over Wonga in UK

Wonga, the payday loans firms reeling from the scandal of sending letters from “fake” law firms, has named Tara Kneafsey from RSA as its UK boss. Ms Kneafsey worked at the insurer with Andy Haste, who joined Wonga as chairman in July.

Supplier scandal to hit McDonald’s

McDonald’s warned that a Chinese supplier scandal would hit profits as it reported falling sales across all its regions. Sales at the fast food giant’s Japanese and Chinese outlets were hit after a TV expose showed a supplier mishandling meat.