Business in brief: JJB | Goldman Sachs | Papa John’s | Fleming Family & Partners

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THE latest business news including OFT ruling expected on Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct proposed takeover of JJB Sports, and Papa John’s has posted robust sales growth.

OFT ruling due on Ashley’s JJB bid

A REGULATORY decision is expected this week on Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct’s proposed takeover of troubled rival JJB Sports, with City analysts believing he will be asked to offload a big chunk of JJB’s 180 stores to address competition concerns.

The Office of Fair Trading has been investigating a rescue deal and is said to be worried because Sports Direct is already seen as dominating the sports retail market. However, it is reported that Ashley may walk away, putting more than 4,000 JJB jobs in the balance, if any conditions imposed by the OFT are seen as too stringent.

Stormy times for 100 ‘rainmakers’

MORE than 100 “rainmakers” – highly-paid investment bankers – are to be axed by bulge bracket investment bank Goldman Sachs, sources say.

The shake-up will cut the number of partners at the elite firm by about 20 per cent, amid a backcloth of sparse takeovers and flotations.

The cuts are being handled by Michael Sherwood, the co-chief executive of Goldman’s London operation, and is part of a move to cut the bank’s annual overheads by $1.5 billion to $2bn (£920,000-£1.2bn) a year as it scales back its ambitions in emerging markets.

Papa John’s wins a pizza the action

Papa John’s, the American pizza giant whose UK arm is emerging as a challenger to market leader Domino’s Pizza, has posted robust sales growth.

The company’s UK business, which is soon to open its 200th store on this side of the Pond, saw turnover leap by more than a fifth to a shade under £23 million in 2011. Papa John’s pre-tax losses in the period halved to £1m, and analysts say it has break-even in sight.

The company has announced plans to step up its drive into the UK with proposed openings of a further 150 branches over the next three years.

Furniture firm sells off stake for £8m

PRIVATE equity firm Fleming Family & Partners has paid

£8 million for a majority stake in David Phillips, the furniture supplier involved in the redevelopment of Arsenal’s former Highbury stadium.

David Phillips – which has warehouses in Edinburgh, London and Manchester – provides furniture for landlords, local authorities and property agencies.

Its management team is also reinvesting cash in the business as part of the financing deal, which is expected to boost turnover this year by 30 per cent to more than £20m.