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Big deal: takeover fever returns as memories of the crash recede

Warren Buffett’s largest ever buyout is just the latest example of a resurgence in the merger market that might break records set before the financial crisis

Legendary investor Warren Buffett likes to think of his keynote deals as elephants. The one he unveiled last week, a $37.2bn (£23.8bn) takeover of Precision Castparts, a supplier of parts for aircraft, has trumped all his other solo deals to stand as the largest.

Buffett’s move took place against the backdrop of an increasingly buoyant global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market that could see deal values for this year topping pre-crash totals. US deals are already well on their way to beating their previous high of 2007; the UK is quieter, but nevertheless keeping investment bankers busy.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Businesses delivering the most coveted perk: a better commute

Everyone hates a rough commute. So why aren’t more companies helping their employees come up with better alternatives to driving?

Send us your tips, tales and secrets from the front lines of sustainable business

Imagine that, starting tomorrow, half your company’s employees stopped driving to work. The benefits would start accruing almost immediately: less pollution, less real estate needed for parking spaces, improved quality of life and much more. So how do companies do it and, given all these benefits, why aren’t more jumping onboard?

Google – which this week rebranded itself as Alphabet – may not have been the first company to offer shuttles to its employees, but the size and growth of its shuttle program have made it the most prominent, for better or for worse.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Greece secures third bailout after Germany backs down on opposition

Jean-Claude Juncker claims Greece will ‘irreversibly’ remain part of the eurozone, after vote by Greek MPs committed to radical economic and fiscal reforms

Greece clinched a three-year bailout worth €86bn (£60bn) after parliamentarians in Athens backed the deal, and Germany backed down on its opposition to the third rescue of the bankrupt country in five years.

A meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels representing the country’s main creditors agreed to launch the new bailout with €26bn being disbursed next week following six months of bitter recrimination that almost saw the country, under the leftwing government of Alexis Tsipras, becoming the first to exit the single currency.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Sainsbury's cuts short British Athletics sponsorship deal

July’s Anniversary Games will be the last to carry supermarket’s branding as it ends four year deal that was due to run until 2017, citing drive to save money

Sainsbury’s has cut short its multimillion-pound, four-year deal to sponsor British Athletics, the supermarket group revealed on Friday.

The news came as Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah prepared to lead a team of 62 British competitors to the World Championships in Beijing, where a week of games opens next week at the bird’s nest stadium.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Oxfam faces tough new test in the era of Lidl, Aldi and Primark

Oxfam hopes to adapt its shops to changing shopping habits and boost its flagging sales. Not everyone on the high street is happy at such a prospect

At 17 Broad Street in Oxford, in the heart of the city’s university district, there is a blue plaque on the wall to commemorate the “entrepreneur and philanthropist” Cecil Jackson-Cole, who died in 1979.

Jackson-Cole was the co-founder of the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, which is today known as Oxfam, one of the biggest charities in the world. The plaque is located on Broad Street because it was there, in 1947, where Jackson-Cole opened Britain’s first charity shop.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Raspberry Pi manufacturer ousts chief executive after run of bad results

Laurence Bain led Premier Farnell, which makes the educational mini-computer, for three years but saw stock plunge to a six-year low in July

Premier Farnell, which makes the Raspberry Pi mini-computer, has ousted its chief executive, Laurence Bain, following disappointing recent results.

Bain ran the company for the last three years after taking over from Harriet Green, who left to take charge of Thomas Cook. Mark Whiteling, Premier’s chief financial officer, has been appointed as interim chief executive until a permanent successor is found.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Alexis Tsipras is down but far from out

A snap election is almost certain after the divisive vote to approve a new bailout – not least because the Greek prime minister stands to win it

The result of the parliamentary all-nighter that approved Greece’s latest multibillion-euro bailout on Friday morning means early elections are now a near certainty and could come as soon as next month.

The prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, may have secured parliament’s backing by a comfortable margin but he did so thanks to the support of the opposition, not of his own leftist Syriza party, nearly one-third of whose 149 MPs either voted against or abstained.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

FTSE loses all 2015's gains as oil slide again

Shares end week in negative territory but on calmer note after China moves

Leading shares ended a tumultuous week in a downbeat mood, losing all the gains made so far this year.

As also happened in July, the FTSE 100 fell below the 6566 level seen on January 1, ending 17.59 points lower at 6550.74.

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Eurozone finance ministers decide on Greek bailout – live updates

Rolling coverage as the Eurogroup meet to approve Greece’s third bailout, after Athens MPs gave their assent at a stormy all-night session


4.47pm BST

Meanwhile here is more from the interview with European Central Bank member Benoît Cœuré, in which he suggests the bank may allow Greek bonds to be accepted as collateral once the new bailout agreement is in place.

Will the Governing Council of the ECB immediately reapply the waiver – i.e. the exemption under which the bonds of a country with a poor credit rating are accepted as collateral if the country is in a programme – once Greece’s third programme is agreed? That would be an enormous help to Greece.

The Governing Council has not yet discussed that.

4.27pm BST

Greek officials are saying the Euro Working Group went well and it recommended to the Eurogroup of finance ministers that the country receive €13bn immediately to cover its financing needs, with another €10bn to help support the banks.

Greek FinMin sources say EWG went well, #Greece to receive €13bln now (12.5 for debt, 0.5 for arrears) & €10bln soon after for bank recap

Greek FinMin sources add there will be efforts to secure soon more "significant" funding on top of €23bln to cover state arrears #Greece

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Five reasons to be worried about the Chinese economy

Beijing watchers are growing concerned over the economic and political signals coming out of the world’s second-largest economy

It has been a tough year for China. Premier Li Keqiang’s plan to have slower but better balanced growth has run into difficulties and Beijing’s struggle to transform its economic model has prompted fears that the world’s second-biggest economy could be the source of the next global downturn.

Here are five warning signs that have set seasoned China watchers worrying that what started out as an exercise in rebalancing and controlled liberalisation might result in a hard landing.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS