Business week in review

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The Independent Online

In profit...

Ofcom's head honcho Ed Richards is having quite a time of it. Not only is he the front-runner for the poisoned chalice that is the BBC director general role, but on Monday he launched the £5bn 4G spectrum sale.

Boffins tell us this is the UK's biggest ever sale of airwaves, yet the sale won't come close to the £22.5bn then-chancellor Gordon Brown raised selling the 3G spectrum in 2000. The network will make it easier to surf the web on mobile phones and tablets.

Royal Mail boss Moya Greene may have annoyed letter-writers with a near 40 per cent rise in stamp prices, but she's delivered cheer to the Government. On Tuesday, she announced that interim pre-tax profit had jumped 12 per cent to £115m, paving the way for privatisation next year. However, workers won't be pleased to hear the modernisation programme "involves painful, difficult change", as it seems to suggest yet more redundancies on top of the 42,000 jobs axed since 2002.

On Wednesday, Norton Rose boss Peter Martyr announced a merger with US legal eagles Fulbright and Jaworski. a loss

Ouch! Alan Jackson bore the brunt of investor anger at housebuilder Redrow on Monday. The senior independent director suffered a 24 per cent vote against his reappointment, as shareholders at the annual meeting vented their wrath at the failed attempt to take the company private.

Redrow's founder Steve Morgan launched a £562m bid in August but withdrew the offer two months later after protests led by shareholder Fidelity. The mid-table mediocrity of Morgan's other baby, Wolves football club, seems enviable by comparison.

Double ouch!! Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao, above, wrote-off £5.9bn on the value of its Spanish and Italian businesses, tipping the mobile phone giant into a half-year loss of £492m – the latest in jaw-dropping write-offs, which total just shy of £60bn since 2006.

SSE chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin was forced to defend the energy giant's first-half £397.5m pre-tax profit on Wednesday, angering families who have seen annual bills rise by about £100.