Business week in review
Sunday 10 February 2013
A top Tuesday for Sir Richard Branson who provided some of the best evidence yet that money goes to money. The hot air balloon-flying tycoon stands to pocket more than £200m from the £10.3bn sale of Virgin Media to Liberty Global – the news that the pair were in talks was revealed earlier this week.
Branson already earns £10m a year for the use of his brand. He also used Virgin Media to polish his profile, starring in its ads with the likes of sprint king Usain Bolt.
Alanis Morissette would no doubt think it's ironic that the founder of Hargreaves Lansdown is called Peter Hargreaves. Fortunately, the man who was, we are reliably informed, Bristol's first billionaire businessman, has a rather better grasp of the English language, describing his company as the "largest investment supermarket". On Wednesday, he announced that the group's pre-tax profit jumped 30 per cent to £93.7m in the six months to December.
Paul Jardine, boss at insurer Catlin, unveiled a near-fivefold rise in annual profit to £216m, despite paying out more than expected on Superstorm Sandy and Costa Concordia claims.
... at a loss
On Monday, Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw finally confirmed the news the British nuclear industry had known for the best part of a year: the British Gas owner doesn't want to get involved in building the new power stations.
While this was good news for investors, who wanted greater clarity over Laidlaw's nuclear non-ambitions, it does mean the group will have to write-off the £200m it has invested in the programme, as revealed in these pages last year. French group EDF will have to find a new partner to develop its nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, with the Chinese understood to still be circling.
Ouch! HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver admitted to MPs that the bank had been too slow to establish money-laundering controls. This appearance came three months after HSBC paid £1.2bn to settle a criminal investigation into allegations that the bank had become a conduit for "drug kingpins and rogue nations".
On Thursday, Ocado finance director Duncan Tatton-Brown mounted a strong defence of the online grocer's numbers, having posted a loss for the 11th year running.
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
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