The 10 biggest business stories on Tuesday March 15

Sainsbury's sales growth; CBI says members 'overwhelmingly' back staying in EU; Sony buys out Michael Jackson music venture stake

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The Independent Online

1.    Sony is paying Michael Jackson's estate $750 million (£526 million) for the late pop star's share of a joint music publishing venture that it does not already own. Jackson held a 50 per cent stake in Sony ATV Music Publishing as part of a business partnership that began in 1995. The parties said they expect a definitive agreement by March 31.

2.    Eurostar, the train operator that runs services linking the UK to Europe, says its business saw a sharp drop in passenger numbers in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks in November. Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive said the end of the year had been “challenging”.

3.    Sainsbury's, Britain's second biggest supermarket, has beat expectations with its first quarterly underlying sales growth in over two years, potentially helping its takeover approach for Argos-owner Home Retail.

4.    Four in five Confederation of British Industry (CBI) members say remaining in the European Union is in the best interests of their businesses, according to new figures out today. The CBI polled more than 700 small, medium and large firms across the UK, finding 80 per cent believe the UK remaining in the EU would be best for the business. Just five per cent said it was in their firm’s interests for the UK to leave the EU, and 15 per cent said they were unsure.

5.    Ocado, the food delivery service, said group gross sales rose 15.3 per cent to £312.4 million in the quarter to 21 February.  Tim Steiner, chief executive, said he was pleased with the “steady progress in our business, maintaining double-digit sales growth in a retail environment that remains challenging”.

6.    The Government should consider giving some women early access to their state pension if they accept lower weekly payments, a committee of MPs has said.

7.    Atir Rahman, the head of Bangladesh's central bank, has resigned after cyber-thieves stole more than $100 million from the country's foreign currency reserves.

8.    Avon, the cosmetic maker, said on it would cut about 2,500 jobs worldwide and shift its corporate headquarters to the UK as part of its three-year turnaround plan.

9.    Volkswagen is being sued for €3.3 billion (£2.6 billion) over the cover-up of its polluting diesel engines, its biggest legal challenge in Germany after a wave of lawsuits in the US centred on the scandal. Bloomberg reports that the action was filed Monday.

10.    Apple, Google, McDonald's, and IKEA will be asked about their European tax deals on Wednesday as EU lawmakers ratchet up the pressure on multinationals to pay more tax on their profits locally. The hearing, organized by the European Parliament's tax committee, follows a similar event in November last year when Anheuser-Busch InBev, HSBC, Google, and eight other companies were quizzed on the same subject.