Cricket returns to BBC with ECB broadcasting deal

The BBC is to broadcast live cricket on TV for the first time since the 1999 World Cup following the sale of broadcast rights by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The deal, which covers the 2020-2024 seasons, will see the BBC show ten matches from the ECB’s new city-based T20 (the short 20 over per side version of the sport) competition, two men’s international T20 games and up to nine women’s T20 matches. In addition the BBC will show “prime time” highlights of England’s international games, and short digital clips for broadcast on the BBC Sport website. The ECB hopes this deal will increase the profile of the sport which has declined since terrestrial TV last showed live cricket in 2005. The broadcast deal is worth £1.1bn to the ECB over five seasons, the majority of this money coming from Sky, which will continue to show live coverage of all domestic international cricket live.

Leyton Orient FC bought by Dunkin’ Donuts CEO

The chairman and CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts, Nigel Travis, has bought Leyton Orient FC. The deal, which does not involve the doughnut brand in any way, sees Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti sell the club following its relegation to the Vanarama National League.

Animalcare seals £30m deal for Ecuphar

The animal health products specialist Animalcare has bought the European animal health company Ecuphar. The £30m deal expands Animalcare’s portfolio of intellectual property and trademarks.

Theo Fennell bailed out of administration by Endless’s Enact

Endless-run SME investor Enact has backed Theo Fennell in a management buyout of the eponymous jewellery business. The business had sunk into administration in May, causing 54 redundancies, with rising ‘fixed costs’ being reported as hampering the company’s restructuring plans. Investment from Enact will allow Theo Fennell to return to business as usual – designing, creating and selling quirky high end jewellery from its flagship store on Fulham Road in Chelsea and The Royal Exchange.

Northampton Town boosted by Chinese takeover

A majority stake in Northampton Town Ventures Limited, the majority owner of Northampton Town FC, has been purchased by the Chinese sports development and education company 5USport. The Cobblers intend to use investment to mount a serious challenge for promotion following a first year back in League One in 2016-17 which saw them place 16th. The club has secured an initial increase in the playing budget and funds for the purchase of young players, as well as investment for other areas such as Sixfields Stadium’s East Stand.

Sumitomo Heavy Industries acquires boiler business from Amec Foster Wheeler

Amec Foster Wheeler has completed the sale of its CFB boiler business to Sumitomo Heavy Industries. The deal has been completed via the sale of shares in FW Energie B.V. The combined business will be known as Sumitomo SHI FW, becoming part of SHI’s Energy and Environment Group. This sale is expected to be one of several Global Power Group steam generator businesses Amec Foster Wheeler will offload this year. Wood Group agreed to buy Amec Foster Wheeler for £2.2bn in March.


L1 Retail lines up £1.77bn takeover of Holland & Barrett

L1 Retail has announced that it has agreed to buy Holland & Barrett from The Nature’s Bounty Co. and The Carlyle Group for £1.77bn. Founded in 1870, the health and wellness retail chain now operates from over 1,150 locations worldwide with over 4,200 associates and staff. The business’s revenues exceeded £610m in 2016, marking 32 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth. L1 Retail aims to capitalise on continued projected growth in the £10bn health and wellness industry with the deal. The sale is expected to be completed in September later this year.

EU fines Google €2.42bn for breaching antitrust rules

Google has been fined €2.42 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. The European Commission (EC) found that the US company has abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service in its search results. The EC says that Google must end this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said, ‘What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.’ Google says that it ‘respectfully disagrees’ with the decision and will consider appealing.

7digital secures deals with MediaMarktSaturn

London-based media streaming specialist 7digital has announced a string of new contracts and acquisitions to cement its place in the European digital music market. It has confirmed a two-way deal with music retailer MediaMarktSaturn, which will see it take control of rival B2B music business 24-7. It will also become a supplier to another MediaMarktSaturn subsidiary, the streaming service Juke!, while MediaMarktSaturn will in return become 7digital’s biggest individual shareholder.

Hudson James Human Capital acquires Vitae Selection

Hudson James Human Capital has acquired Vitae Selection, a boutique recruitment firm specialising in senior appointments. The combination of the two businesses doubles Hudson James’ headcount and turnover and creates one of the largest consumer recruiters in the North.