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Shares in BET, the security guards to Initial towels group, soared by 42.7 per cent to 195.5p after rival Rentokil launched a hostile pounds 1.8bn bid.


McBride, which makes own-label detergents for supermarkets, plunged 7.1 per cent to 131p after Procter & Gamble slashed its prices.

Greasy pole (up)

Deals guru Stephen Latner was promoted to be UK head of the investment bank SBC Warburg after the departure of Derek Higgs to the Prudential.

Greasy pole (down)

Edzard Reuter, the former chairman of Daimler-Benz, resigned from the German industrial giant's supervisory board in the wake of its DM6bn (pounds 2.6bn) loss.

Nice little earner

Gil Amelio, the new chairman and chief executive of Apple, will receive an annual pay packet of at least $2.5m (pounds 1.6m) plus up to $12m a year in performance-related benefits.

Bum deal

Mark One, the discount clothing chain with 96 stores, was put into administration owing creditors around pounds 17m.


Farnell Electronics won shareholder approval for its controversial pounds 1.85bn takeover of Premier, despite the opposition of some large institutional investors.

Jobs lost

Housebuilder Bryant Group added another 80 to the thousands of jobs lost in the construction industry as it reported halved interim profits.

Jobs gained

MAI and Time Warner announced plans for a pounds 225m theme park, including a film and TV studio, in Hillingdon, Middlesex, which could employ up to 3,500.


Warren Buffett, the American billionaire, relented from his previous opposition to share splits. One such split will bring the price of a share in his spectacularly successful Berkshire Hathaway within the reach of small investors.

M'learned friends

Actress Joan Collins won her battle against New York publisher Random House when a jury decided she had submitted a finished manuscript for A Ruling Passion and could keep her $1.2m advance.

In the dock

Elizabeth Forsyth, the former manager of Asil Nadir's family businesses, was accused at the Old Bailey of laundering pounds 400,000 allegedly stolen by Mr Nadir from his public company, Polly Peck.

Oh dear

Five manufacturing and contracting companies, including BICC of Britain, were banned from seeking state power contracts in Singapore after being implicated in a bribery scandal.