The Business Matrix: Wednesday 21 September 2011

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Old, saggy cloth cat for sale at £4m

Bagpuss is heading for a new basket after a group of music industry moguls including Live Aid producer Harvey Goldsmith and DJ Pete Tong agreed in principle to buy the owner of his TV rights for £4.2m. North Promotions will also acquire the rights to the Purple Ronnie card brand, as part of a deal to buy Coolabi that is subject to due diligence.

Rating cut insider trading probe

The US markets regulator is investigating possible insider trading in the run-up to last month’s historic cut in the rating of US government debt. The SEC is reported to have issued subpoenas demanding information about specific trades made soon before Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US’s rating by one notch to AA-plus.

GM in Chinese electric car deal

General Motors is hoping to accelerate away from its Western rivals in China with a new deal to develop electric vehicles in the world’s largest car market. The US company, which is holding its first board meeting in China this week, will collaborate with its local partner, Saic, to develop battery technology and vehicles it can sell in China and elsewhere.

Executive pay at Misys attacked

Misys investors should vote against the software company’s pay plan, which could reap its chief executive, Mike Lawrie, a payday worth more than 900 per cent of his salary, the corporate governance group Pirc said. Contracts at Misys, chaired by former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby, also allow more than a year’s salary as a pay-off.

Stewart is music to Newbury’s ears

Rod Stewart helped Newbury Racecourse to report a 31 per cent rise in half-yearly revenues to £5.6m, after the racecourse’s first live event on a non-race day attracted an audience of 15,000 to watch the singer. The company said a “Party in the Paddock” event featuring Tom Jones had recently attracted 22,000.

TEG Group’s losses double

The green technology firm TEG Group, which operates organic composting and energy plants as an alternative to sending waste to landfill, said losses more than doubled after key projects were delayed. The company said half-yearly revenues rose 6 per cent to £9m but losses rose 112 per cent to £798,000.

Gulf Keystone taps investors

Gulf Keystone, the Kurdistan-focused oil explorer, confirmed plans to raise $200m (£128m) through a rights issue to fund its rapid growth. The AIM-listed company, which is seeking admission to the main market next year, will use the cash to develop its Shaikan discovery in Kurdish Iraq.

Max Petroleum well has potential

Max Petroleum said it was encouraged by the drilling results at a well in Kazakhstan, which indicated 36m of potential “net oil pay”. Oil pay refers to the zone of a reservoir that contains economically producible oil. Shares in the central-Asian focused company closed at 15p, valuing it at £140m.

Daunting times ahead for airlines

Airlines are facing a tough 2012 as the weak global economy, coupled with high fuel prices, drives profits down by almost a third, according to the International Air Transport Association. The trade body, said it expected the industry to book $4.9bn in profits next year, down 29 per cent from $6.9bn for this year.

BA splashes out on new advertising

British Airways is to launch its biggest advertising campaign in a decade, boosting its brand after ending the long-running dispute with its cabin crew earlier this year. The multi-million pound push coincides with the British Airway’s five-year investment drive to improve its services.