Business news in brief 21/03/2012

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A round up of the rest of the latest business news

Disney epic is a big screen disaster

Walt Disney is expecting its mega-budget science-fiction movie John Carter to lose about $200 million (£130m) in the current quarter, which would make it one of the biggest flops in cinema history.

The film, about a military captain transported to Mars, could push the group’s studio business to a quarterly operating loss of $80-120m.

However, Disney is still likely to make a substantial quarterly profit, thanks to its cash generative TV businesses. It is estimated that John Carter cost some $250m to make while the company is likely to have spent another $100m on marketing.

Glencore in £3.9bn Canadian grain deal

Commodities trader Glencore is buying Canada’s largest grain handler, Viterra, in a C$6.1 billion (£3.9bn) deal backed by partners Richardson International and Agrium.

London-listed Glencore said the deal offered C$16.25 per Viterra share and had been unanimously approved by the Canadian firm’s board.

The price, broadly in line with market expectations after days of speculation, amounts to a 48 per cent premium over Viterra’s closing price on 8 March, the day before it announced it had received expressions of interest.

FSA’s Cole steps into key PwC role

Margaret Cole, the Financial Services Authority’s top enforcement official, will join accountancy firm PwC after she steps down from her post this month as auditors turn to former watchdogs to help decipher increasingly complex rules.

Cole will begin working for PwC in the autumn and become a member of its UK executive board with responsibility for the Office of General Counsel when incumbent Owen Jonathan retires.

FSA chief executive Hector Sants announced last week that he was stepping down in June.

Relaunch plan for Friends Reunited

FRIENDS Reunited, the iconic website that was in the vanguard of the social media revolution, will be relaunched next month by new owner BrightSolid, the online arm of Dundee-based Beano publisher DC Thomson.

BrightSolid has signed deals with the Press Association and the Francis Frith photographic archive to make images available on the revamped site.

Users will be able to use the pictures – including events such as the Queen’s silver jubilee in 1977 and Freddie Mercury’s performance at Live Aid in 1985 – in their online profiles.