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Business Diary: ITV finally has a hit with comedy

Stock market rumour of the day: retail tycoon Sir Philip Green and new business partner Simon Cowell are working on a bid for troubled broadcaster ITV. What a story that would be. Sadly, friends of the pair deny it. Indeed, one mate of Sir Philip says his reaction to hearing the story was to fall about laughing.

Rudd leads his clients by example

Roland Rudd, founder of City PR agency Finsbury, has to put up with constant sniping about his extensive network of contacts, which span the higher echelons of both Labour and the Conservatives, as well as big business and the media. Still, at least the "creepy PR man", as one diarist recently described him, is earning a decent crust. Finsbury's annual accounts show he netted a 27 per cent remuneration increase last year with a package worth £2.9m

The meerkat shows his claws

Cuddly meerkat Alexander Orlov has given comparethemarket.com one of the UK's most recognised ads. But what is he doing advertising on Fox News' Glenn "Obama is a racist" Beck show? In the UK, Mr Beck has already been deserted by Waitrose and Diageo, as well as a host of US corporate giants back home thanks to his incendiary invective. Maybe Alex isn't as cuddly as he looks.

Kingfisher anxious about fixture clash

England's final qualifying match for next summer's World Cup is a non-event given that the team is already guaranteed its place in South Africa. Still, Ian Cheshire, boss of DIY group Kingfisher, is concerned the match might prove more of a draw than a party he and his board have planned for the evening on which the Belarus fixture takes place. Their invite to the do promises the match will be shown on live screens.

The stockbrokers who got on their bikes

Well done to the folk at Oriel Securities, who have raised more than £12,000 for a homeless charity by riding from Oriel College, Oxford to their office in the City. It's a journey of getting on for 70 miles – the team is still gratefully receiving contributions, by the way.

Number of the day: $1,040 (and 15 cents)

The gold price yesterday, an all-time high for the precious metal.