This weekend marks the celebrations for this year's summer solstice – but forget visiting Stonehenge. Hugh Thomson prefers the wonders of its nearby rival, the largest stone circle in England
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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 14 September 2011
National Express buys US bus firm
National Express has beefed up its US business with the acquisition of the country’s fifth largest school bus operator. The group, which runs the c2c and East Anglia franchises as well as being Britain’s largest coach operator, is paying $200m (£126m) for Petermann Partners, the biggest firm of its kind in Ohio.
‘Twilight’ business is takeover target
Entertainment One, the film distribution company that brought the Twilight saga to the UK, has become a takeover target. It is understood that several offers have been tabled for the media company, which could value it at over £400m. Entertainment One is likely to release a statement to the Stock Exchange as early as this morning.
Property sales lowest since 2009
House sales dropped last month to their lowest level in more than two years, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Sales per surveyor over the three months to August fell to 14. Meanwhile, data from the Financial Services Authority showed mortgage lending in the second quarter, at £40bn, was 3 per cent lower than a year ago.
Canopius offers £203m for Omega
Canopius has thrown a spanner in the works of the Flagstone Re founder Mark Byrne’s plans to buy part of Omega Insurance by offering to buy the Lloyd’s of London firm for £203m. Canopius made an approach at 83p a share, the price Mr Byrne has offered for 25 per cent of the firm in a deal that would see him become executive chairman.
German software giant fined £13m
The German software giant SAP is to pay $20m (£13m) to settle a criminal investigation after one of its divisions was accused of downloading files from bitter rival Oracle. The US Department of Justice charged the group’s Tomorrow-Now subsidiary with 12 criminal counts last week.
Shoppers buying less as prices soar
Shoppers are making more trips to supermarkets but buying less to offset the soaring costs of grocery items, according to Kantar Worldpanel. The market research firm said grocery sales rose by 4.5 per cent in the three months to 4 September, but as prices rose by 5.3 per cent, sales volumes must have fallen.
BT to construct 114 exchanges
BT has revealed another 114 locations where it will build new exchanges by next autumn, giving more than a million extra homes and businesses access to superfast broadband. BT’s Openreach plans to spend £2.5bn to make superfast broadband available to two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2015.
Bidders circle mobile operator
The private equity group CVC and the Egyptian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris are mulling bids for the Swiss mobile operator Orange Switzerland, according to Reuters. France Telecom could raise €1.5bn from the sale. However, CVC could be excluded from the auction because it owns another Swiss operator, Sunrise.
Ashmore chief pockets £43m
Mark Coombs, the chief executive of Ashmore, is set to pocket £43 million after the fund manager hiked its dividend 11 per cent to 14.5p. Mr Coombs owns a 42 per cent stake in the business, worth more than £1bn. Ashmore specialises in emerging markets and saw its annual profits rise 13 per cent to £246m.
New head for Magellan Fund
The US fund giant Fidelity has replaced Harry Lange at the head of its one-time flagship Magellan Fund with rival manager Jeffrey Feingold. Mr Lange becomes the latest manager to fail to repeat the stock-picking success of Peter Lynch, who averaged 29 per cent annual returns at Magellan until he retired in 1990.
- 1 Disability campaigners celebrate 'victory' after government rethink over plans to make it more difficult to claim disability benefits
- 2 'Jail reckless bankers': Report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 3 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 4 Uri Geller psychic spy? The spoon-bender's secret life as a Mossad and CIA agent revealed
- 5 Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf