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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 13 April 2011

Tillman decides against Jaeger sale

The fashion grandee Harold Tillman has decided against selling Jaeger after potential buyers were put off by the price tag of about £100m that was put on the fashion chain. Mr Tillman, who owns 72 per cent of Jaeger, hired Rothschild earlier this year.

Dyson off to Spirit after Punch split

Punch Taverns’ chief executive Ian Dyson will become boss of the Spirit managed pubs division following the group’s planned demerger this summer, while Roger Whiteside, currently managing director of the leased division, will become chief executive of Punch.

Ocado appoints eBay’s McCallum

Doug McCallum, the senior vice-president of eBay, is joining Ocado as a non-executive director as the online grocer attempts to boost the number of independent directors on its board. Mr McCallum will join Ocado as a non-executive in October.

Coppola installs expert at vineyard

Francis Ford Coppola has hired top winemaker Philippe Bascaules to run his Napa Valley estate in California. He has also bought the rights to his vineyard’s original name, Inglenook. Mr Bascaules has spent 21 years at Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux. MORE

Bombardier set for Tube contract

London Underground (LU) has picked Canada’s Bombardier as the preferred bidder to install a new signalling system on 40 per cent of the Tube network – the single biggest upgrade on the system. LU said Bombardier was chosen because of its innovative suggestions on how to avoid weekend closures.

Norcros sales up on bathroom boost

Triton showers and Johnson Tiles firm Norcros has upped its profit guidance after underlying sales rose about 7 per cent in the year to 31 March, helped by a resilient performance in the UK. The firm now expects profits of £9.7m.

Car premium rates soar by 40%

Car insurance premiums have soared by a record 40 per cent during the past year as high levels of fraud and personal injury claims continue to push up the cost of cover. The average cost of a comprehensive policy, based on the three most competitive quotes available, reached £892 at the end of March, 40.1 per cent more than a year earlier and the biggest annual rise recorded by the AA since it started the index in 1994.

Smartphone rise sees Cisco axe Flip

The Flip video camera, which became a sensation when it was launched in 2007 because it was so easy to use, has been axed by the technology giant Cisco, after the product was eclipsed by smartphones and traditional digital cameras which all now shoot video. Cisco bought Pure Digital Technologies, which invented the Flip, for $950m (£580m) in 2009 but is shutting down the division and cutting 550 jobs.

Halifax customers face price rises

Halifax has announced plans to link the interest it charges on credit cards to the Bank of England base rate – meaning its five million customers could face price hikes by the end of the year. The lender, part of the government-backed Lloyds Banking Group, announced a number of changes to its credit card pricing which it said would make rates more transparent for consumers.

Sanderson retro range boosts profit

The owner of the wallpaper brand Sanderson said yesterday a retro range to celebrate its 150th anniversary proved a hit at home and overseas and helped put the group “fully back on track”. Walker Greenbank, which also owns fabric and wallpaper brands Morris & Co, Zoffany and Harlequin, said pre-tax profits rose 188 per cent to £4.5m as revenues rose 14 per cent to £68.8m.

Fears over youth jobless figures

Campaign groups fear that youth unemployment will reach a record high and edge nearer the politically sensitive one million mark when new jobless figures are revealed today. The TUC said the UK was set to pass another “grim milestone”, with the jobless rate among 16 to 24-year-olds already running at more than 20 per cent.

BAE to cut 230 vehicles jobs

BAE is set to axe another 230 jobs, this time at its vehicles business. The defence giant said it had started consultation on the proposed closure of its manufacturing site in Wolverhampton, with the likely loss of 70 jobs. A further 160 jobs are set to go at other sites in the same business, including 100 in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Kindle to publish advertising

Amazon.com is to offer a new, cheaper version of its Kindle ebook reader in the US which will include advertising. The device will come with special offers and sponsored screensavers. The first series of screensavers will be from brands including General Motors’s Buick, Procter & Gamble’s Olay, and Visa, Amazon said.

Bing now powers 30% of US searches

Microsoft’s search engine Bing now powers 30 per cent of internet searches in the US, according to Hitwise. Bing’s share of the US market rose 5 per cent in March over the previous month to breach 30 per cent while Google fell 3 per cent to 64 per cent. But in the UK Google has 90 per cent of the market, and Microsoft just 4 per cent.