Business Diary: JJB gets charitable backing from Bill Gates

Either Microsoft supremo Bill Gates knows a bargain when he sees one, or the definition of charity is getting somewhat stretched as a result of the recession taking its toll on some of the high street's most well-known names.

Yesterday, Bill and Melinda's charitable foundation bought a three per cent stake in struggling football shirt retailer JJB Sports, helping the stock to one of its best days in ages, climbing 12 per cent to 28p. We were not able to contact Bill to find out whether he sees JJB as a solid investment, or whether the group has just become a beneficiary of his generosity.

Sarah Brown gets up to speed in the job market

Hats off to Sarah Brown, who seems to be doing her best to keep Gordon's chin up. With the hubby increasingly likely to be looking for a job next year, Sarah has been using the latest in job hunting, iStop pods, which are found in your nearest corner shop, to hunt down his next job. Mrs Brown is pictured next to iStop boss Jon Savitt who has invested £3m in the job information kiosks.

Keep your high quality chins up, says FSA boss

Nice to see that Hector Sants remembers all the little people too. The FSA boss sent an email to all his colleagues to shore up morale after George Osborne said a Tory government would abolish the tripartite system of bank regulation that largely keeps bits of the FSA in business.

"We should remember that all political parties are supportive and recognise the need for high quality supervisors," Hector said. No doubt parties of all shade agree, but the problem for Hector and his FSA colleagues is that his high quality supervisors will all be from the Bank of England under a Conservative government.

West Cornish? Super brand, apparently

Google, Nike, IBM and, err, the West Cornish Pasty Co. Believe it or not, and we struggle to, WCP was voted a super brand earlier this week by The Centre for Brand Analysis. The group was obviously keen to put a press release to highlight that it is one of the country's top 500 recognised "super" brands, along with, according to the email alert, a sandwich maker called "Pret a Manager". We've never heard of them.

Number of the day: 8,200

The number of jobs axed by Lloyds Banking Group so far this year. The bank is 43 per cent taxpayer-owned.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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