Business Diary: 11/02/2010

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Hands keeps quiet at Super Return

It seems a long time since the private equity industry's finest were flocking to the industry's annual jamboree, the Super Return conference.

But though the bottom has fallen out of the industry, Super Return goes on – this year it takes place in Berlin. Yesterday's key note speaker was one Guy Hands, who failed to say a single word about his ill-fated investment in EMI. Understandable – last year's £1.75bn loss was neither super, nor a return.

Once, twice, three times a loser

We are indebted to Graeme Leach, chief economist of the Institute of Directors, for a new addition to the economic lexicon. We know all about the double dip downturn, but Mr Leach informs us that there is now a real chance of a "triple-tumble" recession.

Newcastle man to expand portfolio?

There are some familiar names in the candidates for a takeover of Northern Rock that bookmaker Paddy Power is offering odds on. But who is this, in addition to favourites such as JC Flowers and Virgin, at 500 to 1? Step forward Mike Ashley, of Sports Direct and Newcastle United fame. What does Paddy Power know that the rest of us don't?

Channel 4 breaks up with some old Friends

It is truly an end of an era for Channel 4, which is to drop Friends from its schedules next year after 15 years. Though no new episodes of the show have been filmed for several years now, Channel 4, More 4 and E4 have often screened seemingly endless repeats of the sitcom to fill their schedules. What will they do now?

Talk is no longer quite so cheap

Are you a big fan of BT's free evening and weekend calls offer? If so, probably best to check your watch before you dial – evenings now start at 7pm rather than 6pm, as previously, under BT's definitions of its offer. The BBC's Working Lunch programme reckons you could end up spending an extra £90 each quarter, just by making 20 minutes of calls each day between six and seven. That's a lot of cash for a bit of idle gossip.

Number of the day: 100%

The Government guarantee of savers' deposits at Northern Rock, which is now under review.