business round up

• Members of insurance company Standard Life have voted against demutualisation, despite the promise of £6,000 windfalls. Fifty-four per cent of members voted against the bid by Monaco-based Fred Woollard to convert Europe’s largest mutual into a public company. He needed 75 per cent of the vote to succeed and said he would not force another vote unless he received at least 50 per cent. Standard Life directors spent £10m on a “No” campaign. The Building Societies Association, which represents 68 mutuals in the UK, hailed the result as a landmark. BBC News

Jobs safe in pools deal

• No jobs are said to be at risk after retail group Littlewoods said it will sell off its pools business for £161m to concentrate on its stores and home shopping operations. The 75-year-old leisure division, which has been severely affected by the National Lottery, is being bought by Rodime, a technology licensing company based in Edinburgh. Rodime said jobs are safe and it will expand the pools and gaming business into new markets. Family-owned Littlewoods, which saw its pre-tax profits drop to £68.1m, down from £166.6m the previous year, aims to use the cash to reduce debt and invest in its retail business. BBC News

Teams plan takeover

• Media group Granada has set up two separate teams to work on takeover bids for either Carlton Communications or United News & Media in preparation for the coming consolidation of ITV ownership. The news comes after the company announced plans to raise up to £1.5bn in a flotation of Granada Media, which will split from the leisure arm of the business. This cash, combined with money from the restructuring of the TV rental business, is estimated to give the company a warchest of nearly £2bn. Charles Allen is spearheading the flotation as Granada Media’s executive chairman. FT.com

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