The business week in review: Toolstation, Yahoo, Next and Michael Woodford


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The Independent Online

In profit...

Mark Goddard-Watts found himself £24m richer when he sold his remaining stake in Toolstation to Travis Perkins, which runs the country's biggest network of builders' merchants.

The Somerset-based businessman had already pocketed a fortune when he sold 30 per cent of the business to Travis Perkins for £18m in 2008.

Yahoo might not be struggling to remain competitive against the all-powerful Google in the search-engine market, but it's still a huge company with 700m users. So Scott Thompson will gain considerable profile as Yahoo's new chief executive, having joined from online auction firm eBay. Moreover, it will come as a relief to Yahoo, having spent four months without a boss since Carol Bartz left.

ENRC finally settled a long-running dispute with First Quantum over ownership of a copper mine in the Congo. The Kazakh mining giant that is much criticised over its corporate governance handed its rival $1.25bn to end the argument.

At a loss...

Everyone expected the high street to be the new year's great disappointment, but few expected Lord Wolfson, the chief executive at fashion chain Next, to be the first to deliver bad news.

He admitted that the dip in his company's latest sales was "slightly disappointing" and warned that consumer spending will be similar in 2012 to last year. That means not good.

Michael Woodford was in tears as he ended his bid to be reinstated as Olympus chief executive. Having blown the whistle on a number of scandals that he claims to have discovered at the Japanese group, it was always unlikely that the British businessman would win his campaign to get back the top job.

Institutional investors wouldn't publicly back him, while Woodford also said that his efforts were traumatising his wife and had to stop.

Oil behemoth Shell became the last FTSE 100 company to close its final salary pension scheme to new workers, though this won't start for another year.