Oct. 09--BOSSES GRAB pounds sterling 65M AS INSURER IS SOLD: Directors and top executives at specialist insurance group Abbey Protection will share pounds sterling 65 million between after accepting a takeover bid from US-based rival Markel. The bid of 115p a share is actually below last night's closing price of 119.5p. Chief executive Colin Davison and managing director Chris Ward will each collect pounds sterling 18 million while Liz Grace, who runs the tax division, will pick up pounds sterling 12 million.
FOUR DIRECTORS EXIT TROUBLED CO-OP BANK: Co-op Bank today removed four long-standing directors ahead of its pounds sterling 1.5 billion debt for equity swap and stock market flotation.
Among the casualties are Co-op Group chairman Len Wardle and former deputy chairman of the bank Peter Harvey. Also leaving are Duncan Bowdler and Bob Newton.
All four remain on the board of parent company Co-operative Banking Group. Their departures are meant to signal further separation of the operations of the bank from the parent group and also make it compliant with corporate governance rules when it lists its shares.
MARSTON'S FROTHS UP IN SUMMER WARMTH:
The warm summer helped pubs and brewing group Marston's recover much of the damage done by the cold, wet winter with sales from its top outlets rising by 2.2 percent in the year just ended. With local ales ranging from Jennings to Banks's, Marston's beer volumes were up 6 percent against a market that fell by 3 percent. Bottled ale sales rose by a spectacular 19 percent led by Hobgoblin and an Ashes-boosted Pedigree.
THORNTONS EYES A SWEET CHRISTMAS: Chocolate maker Thorntons is looking forward to Christmas. Sales through supermarkets and other shops increased by 11 percent to pounds sterling 23.8 million in the last 13 weeks while sales through its own shops declined 6 percent to pounds sterling 23.2 million as it closed another eight outlets. Chief executive Jonathan Hart today said the company has "an exciting Christmas offer" and strong orders from other retailers.
CAPITAL FIRMS' CONFIDENCE GROWS: London's businesses are in their most upbeat mood for nearly three years, according to the CBI's latest snapshot of sentiment in the capital.
The organisation's London Business Survey showed 56 percent of respondents more optimistic over the economy than three months ago when just 26 percent were upbeat.
More than two-thirds have plans to expand over the next year, although only a third plan to grow in London and worries such as the poor state of the capital's road network remain.
Sara Parker, the CBI's London director, said: "It's encouraging that so many have plans to expand but worrying that more aren't planning to do so in the capital. Congested streets continue to be a concern with over half saying the roads are getting worse."
FACEBOOK UK STAFF SEE SHARES SOAR: Facebook UK paid zero corporation tax last year despite estimated sales of pounds sterling 223 million, and the staff aren't getting along too badly either. Share-based payments for the 119 London employees were last year worth pounds sterling 4.7 million _ close to pounds sterling 40,000 a head _ although it's almost certain that some top executives got much more and some staff got none. The value of restricted stock units, known as RSUs, that were handed to staff during 2012 was $34 a share. But with Facebook performing strongly this year, and the stock price hitting $50, those shares have climbed 50 percent in value if staff have hung on to them.
TWITTER'S IPO: Twitter will be the hot stock-market float of the autumn now that the social media firm has published its S-1, the document confirming its plan for an initial public offering. Two interesting details: first, Twitter is loss-making but it is talking up its strength in native advertising _ a big buzz phrase in ad circles. It means that ads such as promoted and sponsored tweets blend in seamlessly within editorial content and, so the theory goes, that makes it more li