The Office for National Statistics estimates the UK’s GDP increased by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2015, an improvement on the first quarter which saw growth of 0.4%. This growth was driven mainly by the services and production sectors, which increased by 0.7% and 1.0% respectively. In contrast, the construction industry experienced no growth and agriculture decreased by 0.7%.
The Japanese business media company Nikkei is to buy FT Group, which includes the Financial Times, from Pearson for £844m. The Financial Times has a combined print and digital circulation of 720,000 and provides news, comment, data and analysis to the global business community. The deal includes the newspaper, FT.com, How to Spend It, FT Labs, FTChinese, the Confidentials and the financial publishing division. Not included are Pearson’s 50% stake in The Economist Group and FT Group’s London property at One Southwark Bridge. Pearson has owned FT Group for nearly 60 years, but it is now aiming to focus exclusively on its education business.
Middleby, owner of Lincat since 2011, has further developed its position in the UK with the acquisition of Aga Rangemaster for £129m. Aga’s brands include Rangemaster, La Cornue and Marvel, and the deal makes Middleby a leading manufacturer in the premium segment for residential kitchen equipment.
The investment company Aurelius has acquired Regain Polymers. Established in 1991, Regain is a bespoke compounder and recycler of post-use, rigid plastics.
PinBellCom has been bought by EMIS Group. PinBellCom develops administration and compliance software products. EMIS specialises in connected healthcare software and services.
The architecture firms Darnton EGS and B3 Architects have merged to form Darnton B3 Architecture. The newly formed company has eleven offices across the UK with 150 employees.
The commercial property consultancies Bulleys and Bradbury Commercial have merged to form Bulleys Bradbury.
The private equity firm Lyceum Capital has backed the management buyout of Briefing Media Group (BMG). Established in 2010, BMG owns a range of online and print brands, including Farmers Guardian and Agrimoney.com. In addition it runs a number of events and exhibitions, including the agriculture event LAMMA and the British Farming Awards.
The jewellery retailer Chapelle has been taken over Hilco Capital, a specialist in corporate restructuring and owner of HMV. Chapelle owns and runs 24 stores across the UK.
The American company Platform Specialty Products has agreed to buy Alent for £1.3bn. Alent is a supplier of speciality chemicals and engineered materials for electronics, automotive and industrial applications sectors.