Labour in row over pounds 5.3m honours sale

LABOUR WAS embroiled in a new "cash for honours" row yesterday after a leaked document revealed its list of rich donors who had pledged to give the party pounds 5.3m this year. The Tories seized on the internal report, claiming it provided new evidence that businessmen giving cash to Labour could expect knighthoods or peerages.

Norwich Union buys nine hotels

HILTON GROUP, owner of theHilton International chain, the Stakis leisure group and the Ladbroke betting shops, has exchanged conditional contracts with Norwich Union, the life assurance company, to sell nine hotels for pounds 68.8m.

People and Business: Count the days

THE TYPICAL non-executive chairman of a FTSE 100 company is likely to spend more than 150 days a year on the company's business, compared with around 50 days for a chairman of a company with a turnover of around pounds 100m, according to a survey by Monks Partnership.

Media: The Street of Shame lives up to its name

Will Whitehorn went to the Press Gazette awards with high hopes. Then the fists started flying...

Ladbroke to change name to Hilton

LADBROKE PLANS to change its name to Hilton Group to reflect its focus on hotels after the completion of its pounds 1.2bn acquisition of the Scottish-based Stakis hotel group. The change will also underscore its alliance with US partner Hilton Hotels. The Stakis purchase means the company will generate more than two-thirds of profits from hotels.

Market Report

LAMBERT HOWARTH, the shoe group, stepped out with a total dividend of 12.5p a share against 8.5p, although profits after restructuring costs were down. The shares rose 35p to 215p after the figures.

Prepared for euro

Prepared for euro

Vaux investors cool on break-up attempts

INSTITUTIONAL investors in Vaux, the troubled Sunderland brewer, are backing the board's strategy of selling off the brewing operations to the chairman's brother, though they expect the group to fall to a break- up bid.

Ladbroke buys Stakis chain for pounds 1.2bn

LADBROKE, THE hotels and gaming group, yesterday moved quickly to complete its bid for Stakis, the Glasgow-based hotels chain, with a recommended cash and share offer valuing the group at pounds 1.16bn.

Stakis receives pounds 1bn bid offer

STAKIS, the hotel and casino group, yesterday revealed that it has received a pounds 1bn bid approach, believed to have come from Ladbroke, the hotels and bookmaking giant. The approach, pitched at around 140p per share, pushed Stakis shares 23 per cent higher to 137p.

Move for farmers' fair deal

SUPERMARKETS reacted warily yesterday to a government announcement that a new food industry group would consider a code of conduct for retailers to guarantee farmers a fair return when dealing with big stores.

$85bn cost of euro preparation

EUROPE'S LARGEST companies could spend as much as $85bn (pounds 51bn) on preparations for European Monetary Union, according to a survey carried out by KPMG, the consultants. KPMG, which estimates the average cost per company of transition to the euro at $51m, says most European firms now have an EMU strategy in place. However, four in 10 of companies surveyed have yet to estimate the costs of changing over to the euro.

Rugby League: Dave Hadfield named Rugby League Writer of Year

Dave Hadfield was named the Tesco Rugby League Writer of the Year by the Rugby League Writers' Association last night in a ceremony at the Leeds Hilton Hotel.

Rugby league: Dave Hadfield named Tesco Rugby League Writer of the Year

Dave Hadfield was named the Tesco Rugby League Writer of the Year by the Rugby League Writers' Association last night in a ceremony at the Leeds Hilton Hotel.

Ladbroke pounds 9m down on new game

DISAPPOINTING sales of its new football lottery game Easy Play will wipe pounds 9m off Ladbroke's profits this year, the hotels and betting group said yesterday.
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas