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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 19 June 2013

Sony investor ups the pressure

The billionaire investor Dan Loeb has increased pressure  on Sony’s board by lifting  his stake in the electronics group to 7 per cent. The  boss of the $13bn (£8.3bn) hedge fund Third Point believes that Sony should spin off its entertainment unit, which includes one of Hollywood’s leading studios.

German telecom firm gets boost

The German telecom firm Kabel Deutschland’s shares jumped  3.6 per cent yesterday on the prospect of a €7.5bn (£6.4bn) bidding war after US giant Liberty Global entered the fray against Vodafone. Liberty’s approach looked like a spoiler, and sources close to the British firm noted there could be big regulatory hurdles.

Americas drives growth at Aggreko

Aggreko, the FTSE 100 generators giant, yesterday said that strength in the Americas would see revenues grow 5 per cent during the first half of the year, but trading profit for the six months will still be in line with last year’s £159m.The temporary power group’s Americas will grow revenues by 11 per cent in the first half.

UK and EU reach financial deal

City experts welcomed an agreement between Britain and its European neighbours that should limit Brussels’ stranglehold on London’s financial markets. The deal, which comes after more than two years of negotiations, centres on a key piece of legislation known as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II.

Whitbread toasts strong sales

Whitbread has got off to a “flying start” in the new financial year, according to the chief executive of Britain’s biggest hotel and restaurant group, Andy Harrison. Total sales rose by 13.8 per cent in the first quarter with like-for-like sales up by 3.1 per cent, demonstrating it has gained market share.

QinetiQ boss sees package jump

The chief executive of QinetiQ pocketed £1.7m in pay and bonuses last year, a 13 per cent rise on the previous year, despite the defence technology company slumping to a £137m pre-tax loss in the period. Leo Quinn was paid £593,050 salary and a £896,100 bonus. QinetiQ employs more than 9,000 people worldwide.

Troops pull out hits Chemring

Chemring, the maker of systems that help the army detect and safely blow up roadside bombs, has slipped into the red as the US withdraws from Afghanistan. Investors were hit by a six-month loss of £8.8m against a pre-tax profit of £19.7m in the first half of its financial year.

GSK boosted by bids for brands

GlaxoSmithKline has received a bid approach for its thrombosis drug brands Arixtra and Fraxiparine, which last year bought in sales of more than £400m. South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare’s offer is for the brands, in addition to the French factory that makes them.

Obama hints at Bernanke exit

The US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has been in the job “longer than he wanted”, President Obama has said, giving one of his clearest signals yet that the central bank chief will leave when his current term expires in January next year.

Furniture maker bags new director

Marshalls, the street furniture and paving stones manufacturer, has nabbed a director from boilers and radiators group BDR Thermea to lead the company. Martyn Coffey joins as chief executive in September, taking over from Graham Holden.

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