The Business Matrix: Wednesday 23 May 2012


Getty is readied for a snap sale

The owners of Getty Images, the largest supplier of stock photos, video and other digital content, have retained bankers to examine a possible sale. Hellman & Friedman, the US private equity fund, bought the business four years ago for $2.4bn. It is thought Getty, whose archive includes footprints from the first moon landing, may now be worth $4bn.

Cook books boost for Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury proved there is life after Harry Potter as it posted a rise in annual revenues and profits, with cookery books by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Heston Blumenthal selling strongly. Turnover rose 11 per cent to £103m in the year to February, with e-book sales up two and a half times at £5.7m. Its profits rose to £8.5m from £5.1m last year.

Tax raid puts Big Yellow in the red

The Chancellor's move to make self-storage VAT-able pushed Big Yellow into the red as it nursed annual losses of £35.6m. About two-thirds of its customers are individuals who will not be able to claim the money back. The loss comes after a £51m write-down on its property portfolio as a result of the looming change.

Discount stores pull in shoppers

Hard-pressed shoppers are flocking to the discounters Aldi and Lidl to give them record market shares. Aldi's sales grew by 25.4 per cent to give it a 2.8 per cent share of the market over the 12 weeks to 13 May, said Kantar Worldpanel, while Lidl also grabbed 2.8 per cent.

Milk Link farmers weigh Anchor

About 1,600 farmers in the Milk Link co-operative are set to join Arla Foods, the European dairy co-op behind Lurpak and Anchor, in a deal that will pool nearly a quarter of UK milk production. Milk Link is the UK's largest producer of cheddar.

Corzine's $8.5m pay package

Jon Corzine was paid $8.35m (£5.3m) for running MF Global in the year leading up to its spectacular collapse, according to documents filed with a New York bankruptcy court. However, $5.35m of that was in the form of share options which became worthless when his disastrous bets on eurozone debt sank the brokerage firm last year.

Bramhill quits as Wessex chairman

David Bramhill, the oil executive who led Wessex Exploration on to the AIM, quit as chairman yesterday with immediate effect. Wessex did not offer a reason for Mr Bramhill's departure, but said his contract would be paid up and that he would retain his share options. Wessex received a £71m, 10p-a-share takeover bid from Total last month. It walked away.

Apple iPad boosts sales at Future

Future has claimed it was getting a major boost from Apple iPad because it is by bringing in new readers who did not previously buy print and also new audiences from overseas. The magazine publisher said it had sold 830,000 digital copies of some 71 titles on iPad since October and generated £3m in sales.

Fairfax grabs a slice of Cook's

Thomas Cook has reached agreement on a deal worth around £94m to sell its 77 per cent interest in its Indian division to Canadian investor Fairfax Financial Holdings. The move is part of plans to reduce debt and strengthen the financial position of the holidays firm.

Ryanair to go to Supreme Court

Ryanair will go to the Supreme Court to appeal yesterday's ruling that the Office of Fair Trading can probe its 29 per cent stake in Aer Lingus. It says the OFT should have referred the case within four months of a 2007 Brussels ruling blocking an Aer Lingus bid.