Sasol agrees $1bn Talisman Energy gas field deal

South African energy and mining giant Sasol has agreed a deal to buy a 50% stake in a gas field owned by Canadian energy group Talisman for $1bn (£643m).

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CBI revises growth forecast down

The CBI cuts its forecast for UK first quarter economic growth and says it expects interest rates to start rising in the spring.

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BAE is linked to Tanzania ‘bribe’

A judge suggests that part of a secret £7.7m payment made by BAE Systems to a businessman in Tanzania was a bribe.

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Cold snap hits London travel and retail stocks

While retailers, airlines and rail operators suffer the effects of the snow and ice, defensive stocks help the FTSE 100 stay in sight of year-highs as the December rally continues.

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Asia stocks ease on regional geopolitical risk

Asia shares fall as investors focus on geopolitical risk on the Korean peninsula amid fears Seoul’s live-fire drill could spark retaliation from Pyongyang

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European equities reach two-year high

The region’s banks bounce back helped by reports of M&A activity in the sector in Italy as wider indices continue their December ascent to two-year highs

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Ladbrokes in 888 takeover talks

Shares in online betting firm 888 Holdings soar after it confirms it is in talks to be bought by larger rival Ladbrokes.

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JP Morgan reveals new London HQ

JP Morgan says it will move into Lehman Brothers’ old London headquarters, and will continue work on a new skyscraper.

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Terra Firma buys Everpower Wind

Private equity firm Terra Firma TERA.UL said it has bought Everpower Wind Holdings in a deal that a source said was worth around $350 million (215.1 million pounds), looking to tap into the growing renewable energy sector.

The capital injection will help U.S. wind energy business Everpower finance its development pipeline, the companies said, without disclosing financial details.

“We see significant investment potential in the fast growing U.S. renewable energy market, and Everpower has both a strong management team and an attractive portfolio of projects,” Terra Firma Chairman Guy Hands said in a statement.

U.S. President Barack Obama has kept energy reform high on his priority list since taking office in January, providing incentives for wind energy development.

The deal was worth around $350 million, a source familiar with the situation said. Terra Firma was advised by Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Climate Change Capital.

Terra Firma has bought the business from renewable energy fund Good Energies and the Everpower management team, both of which are re-investing alongside Terra Firma.

The deal is only Terra Firma’s second since its ill-fated 4 billion pound buyout of music business EMI LNDONE.UL at the height of the buyout boom in 2007.

The ailing music group accounted for the vast majority of Terra Firma’s 1.37 billion euro (842 million pounds) writedowns this year, and Terra Firma was forced to inject extra capital into EMI twice in just six months.

Everpower owns a newly-constructed project with a 62 megawatt output and has a near-term development pipeline to provide over 800 megawatt of power.

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Guy Hands

Guy Hands (born 27 August 1959) is a British financier and investor. He is the founder (2002) and chairman of the private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners.

He was born 27 August 1959 in Kent, to Christopher and Sally Hands, and educated at Ravenscroft School, Beckington, and the The Judd School, Tonbridge. In a Ravenscroft production of Macbeth in 1970, he played the part of Lady Macbeth opposite Christopher Newbury as Macbeth. He was an undergraduate at Mansfield College, Oxford, and held the office of Bursar of the Oxford Union Society. Whilst at university, he became friends with William Hague, who was later best man at his wedding, in 1984, to Julia Caroline Ablethorpe. They have two sons and two daughters. His house in Kent was once presented to Winston Churchill.

Hands started his career as a bond trader at Goldman Sachs in the early 1980s. He left for Nomura in 1994 and made a fortune as Managing Director of its Principal Finance Group, with the purchase of a chain of UK pubs.

In 2002, Hands founded Terra Firma Capital Partners, as a spinout from Nomura, which he had built into one of the largest private equity investors in Europe. Terra Firma debuted with a $2.7 billion private equity fund, immediately making it one of the larger private equity firms in Europe.

Terra Firma has acquired a property portfolio in the UK and Germany (where they are the country’s biggest landlord), ex UK Ministry of Defence residential housing and motorway service stations. It is also the largest owner of cinemas in Europe, having taken control of the United Cinemas International and Odeon Cinemas chains. Other acquisitions include the waste water company Waste Recycling Group and music company EMI. Hands and his wife Julia also own the Hand Picked Hotels chain of 17 country-house properties, which is run by Julia Hands.

Guy and Julia Hands were estimated to be worth £250 million in the Sunday Times Rich List of 2008. Previously in the Sunday Times Rich List 2005 they had been estimated to be worth £175 million, placing them at position 281 in the list of the richest people in the United Kingdom.

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