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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 28 August 2013

Loeb raises stake in Sotheby’s

Activist investor Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point has raised its stake in Sotheby’s to 5.7 per cent according to filings. The fund intends to intervene on matters such as potential changes in strategy and leadership. Sotheby’s has seen its stock perform well this year despite missing earnings estimates in the past two quarters.

Viewers flock to TalkTalk

TalkTalk has signed 500,000 TV customers in 11 months which the telecoms provider says is much faster than rival BT which took four years between 2006 and 2010 to reach the same landmark for its pay-TV service. TalkTalk and BT offer customers a low-cost way to get pay-TV through an  internet-enabled set-top box.

Falling demand hits Antofagasta

Shares in copper miner Antofagasta slid more than 3 per cent yesterday after the FTSE 100 firm admitted first half earnings had fallen 39 per cent. Profits at the miner for the six months to 30 June slumped to $395m from $646.1m a year earlier, as the company was hit by falling demand from China, declining metal prices and rising costs.

BBA Aviation in Dubai tie-up talks

Business jet servicing group BBA Aviation has made an acquisition in the US and talks over a tie-up with a Dubai-based peer. BBA confimed talks with the state owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprises about a partial merger and also announced a $66m acquistion of Maguire Aviation at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles.

Concha discovers capital shortfall

Chris Akers, the entrepreneurial investor, said yesterday that his Concha investment group had discovered financial  irregularities at one of its  investee companies. Concha said there could be a significant working capital shortfall at the London-based digital apps  company Moshen.

Petrofac upbeat as revenues fall

Energy services firm Petrofac said earnings would be heavily weighted to the second half because of the timing of key projects as revenues fell 12.5 per cent. The firm, which designs and builds oil and gas infrastructure said it remained on track to meet its target of doubling 2010 earnings of $433m by 2015.

Bunzl buying spree continues

Bunzl has bought two more companies in Britain and Brazil,  continuing an acquisition drive that helped its pretax profit grow by a better-than-expected 12 per cent in the first half of 2013. The group distributes consumable products such as carrier bags, and food packaging.

Regus profits dip after takeover

Flexible office space group Regus posted a 3 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £31.1m, in the six months to 30 June after being hit by restructuring costs following its £65.6m takeover of rival MWB Business Exchange in February. Underlying earnings rose 22 per cent to £41.7m.

Paulson hits out Wall Street fat cats

Former US treasury secretary Hank Paulson has hit out at the way Wall Street bankers paid themselves massive bonuses despite being bailed out. “To say I was disappointed is an understatement,” he told The New York Times.

Renold closure puts jobs at risk

Around 230 jobs are at risk at industrial chain maker Renold after it announced plans to close a manufacturing site in Bredbury, Stockport. Renold, said the move was part of a strategic overhaul, adding that the plant was “not economically viable”.

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