Reed Elsevier has renamed itself RELX Group. The information company says that the ‘shorter and more modern name reflects the transformation of the company to a technology, content and analytics driven business while maintaining the link with its proud heritage’. There will not be any brand or name changes for any of the company’s business units, which include Elsevier, LexisNexis, Shepard’s, Accuity and Reed Exhibitions.
Big Bus Tours, the UK-based global sightseeing bus tour operator, has been acquired by the private equity firm Exponent. Big Bus Tours, formed in 2011 when Big Bus Company and Les Cars Rouges merged, is a provider of open bus tours around 14 cities, including London, Paris and Shanghai.
The investment company Better Capital has sold Calyx Managed Services sold to MXC Capital for £9.0m. Calyx is a provider of ICT and cloud-based managed services.
The consumer packaging company Rexam, a manufacturer of 55 million beverage cans a year, has agreed to be taken over by the American company Ball Corporation. The £4.3bn deal creates a combined company which will serve the beverage, food, personal care, household product and aerospace industries. Established in 1880, Ball has more than 60 offices and manufacturing plants around the world.
Sales of the Raspberry Pi, the fastest-selling British made computer, have passed five million. It is now second in overall sales for British computers behind Lord Sugar’s Amstrad, which sold eight million computers between 1984 and 1997. The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit card sized computer which aims to make learning fundamental computer skills affordable and accessible for children. It is owned by The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity which directs all profits into research and development, free teacher training and free educational resources.
The Canadian insurance company Fairfax is to acquire Brit for £1.2bn. Brit is a global insurance and reinsurance company which specialises in commercial insurance and has two underwriting platforms.
The rate of inflation has fallen to its lowest level on record. The Consumer Prices Index grew by 0.3% in the year to January 2015, down from 0.5% in December 2014. As in recent months falling prices for motor fuels and food were the main contributors to the slowdown in the rate of inflation. However prices of other goods such as clothing and furniture continue to rise.
Latest employment figures show that the number of unemployed people fell by 97,000 to reach 1.86 million, while the number of people in employment increased by 103,000 to reach 30.90 million. The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work was 73.2%, compared with 72.0% a year earlier. The employment rate last reached 73.2% in 2005 and since comparable records began in 1971 it has never been higher. However there are 9.05 million people aged from 16 to 64 who are out of work and not seeking or available to work.
William Hill’s offer to buy 888 Holdings for around £700m has been rejected as too low by the Gibraltar-based online casino business. The British bookmaker believes that 888’s technological expertise would complement its existing sports business. Merger and acquisition activity is expected to increase in the gambling sector following the introduction of the new ‘point of consumption tax’ that makes gambling firms liable to tax in the UK if their client lives here, regardless of where in the world the company supplying the service is based.
The data centre and managed services provider Telecity has agreed to merge with the Netherlands-based data centre services company InterXion.
Specialist Machine Developments, a manufacturer of equipment used in subsea engineering, has been acquired by the Chinese company CSR Corporation.