A WEEK IN BUSINESS

Top of the form

LONDON Clubs, the casino operator, climbed 22.5p to 425p, more than double its flotation price, after rumours of a looming takeover bid from Ladbroke and reports that the world's biggest casino gambler, Australian tycoon Kerry Packer, had dropped pounds 20m at the tables recently.

Tail-ender

AIRTOURS, the package holiday company, saw its shares languishing at 358p, down 21p on the week, due to a glut in the market. With Britons enjoying the hot summer at home, the industry has racked up 1 million unsold packages.

Greasy pole (up)

BARRY DALE, the ex-chief executive of Littlewoods who was sacked last March by the ruling Moores family, emerged at the head of a consortium offering around pounds 1.1bn for the shops and pools group.

Greasy pole (down)

HANS RAUSING, the elder of the two brothers whose Tetra Pak business created the richest family in Britain, announced plans to retire. Brother Gad will take over.

Nice little earner

ARCHIE NORMAN, the chief of supermarket chain Asda, packed extra share options worth pounds 250,000 into his trolley, bringing the value of his total option package to more than pounds 5.5m.

Banana skin

FRESH doubts were raised about the entire process of rail privatisation after the Government was forced to shelve plans to franchise the flagship West Coast service.

Sound bite

"A BOLD, brave and utterly charming latter-day buccaneer" - Lord Hanson on his business partner Lord White, who died on Thursday after a long illness. He was 72.

Corporate scallywag

CHEMICALS giant ICI was fined $10m in a US court for rigging prices in the American explosives market. The fine is the largest for a single defendant in a criminal anti-trust case.

Product launch

MICROSOFT'S much-hyped Windows 95 operating software package finally arrived in the shops. Pirated versions have been on sale in Moscow for six months.

U-Turn

AFTER resisting Southern Electric International, South West Electricity Board finally said investors should accept the US utility's pounds 1.1bn bid. Sweb bosses will pocket pounds 1m.

Place your bets

Rain to fall on the London Weather Centre tomorrow? Ladbrokes is quoting four to seven.

Jobs lost

WH Smith axed 1,000 jobs from its core chain while reporting its first profits decline for 20 years.

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