Business Diary: Bebo website founder splashes his cash

Thursday 17 December 2009 01:00

Michael Birch isn't short of a few quid, having flogged his social networking site Bebo to AOL for £850m last year. Still, you can't help admiring his generosity: at a benefit evening he hosted for Charity Water this week, Birch amazed guests by promising to personally match all their donations, up to a total of $1m.

Wise words from the Dragon's Den

We are indebted to Theo Paphitis for the following piece of advice, imparted so wisely in a new charitable book with chapters written by various folk, including entrepreneurs such as Paphitis. "Live in the moment and focus on the here and now," he says. "As they say: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."

Orange stress-buster that winds you up

Does Orange get the irony of its supposedly stress-busting new service? Phone customers feeling the strain can call in to hear soothing sounds including the sea lapping against the shore, a crackling fire, singing birds and the sounds of the forest. Just one hitch: you have to use one of those awful automated menus to find the sound you want, raising the blood pressure still further.

Insurer Aviva loses out at Christmas

Poor old Aviva. The insurer is upset because Britons apparently spend up to 26 times longer shopping for Christmas presents than choosing the right pension. You can see its point – people should spend more time on something so important – but is Aviva really claiming that it is surprised by the findings of its survey?

Sportacus free to fight another day

Good news from Lazytown, home to Sportacus, the athletic hero of children all over the country who watch his exploits on the BBC's CBeebies channel. The programme's future had looked to be in doubt after reports that the Icelandic company behind it – built up by Magnus Scheving, the actor who plays Sportacus himself – was in financial difficulties. Now Mr Scheving says he has reached a deal with lenders.

Number of the day: £89

The average amount by which 5 million households are currently in credit with their energy companies.

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