This week’s business round up

TV giants’ flotation row

• Carlton Communications and Granada are in dispute over a possible £2bn
flotation of their jointly owned On Digital television company. Carlton is
understood to be keen on a public listing but Granada said "there has been
no decision and no plans" on flotation. Carlton is planning an £8bn merger
with United News & Media. FT

Incubating business

• The Government is encouraging regional development agencies to set up
high-tech "incubators" in the US to help British Internet software firms
establish themselves there. The non-profit incubators provide local marketing
and offices. FT

Firm’s healthy profits

• Smiths Industries announced a rise in pre-tax profits from £99.1m to
£107.6m on turnover of £648.7m for its half-year results to 31 January. The
group, which makes domestic and medical goods and parts for the aerospace
industry, said it has £750m to spend on acquisitions. FT

Bank staff asked to stay

• London-based staff at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson bank will be offered
golden handcuffs in response to fears of a brain drain triggered by the planned
£18bn takeover of parent Dresdner Bank by Deutsche Bank. All 3,500 staff could
have the option of up to half of last year’s bonus to stay until next July. Times

Uno shops shut for now

• Uno, the World of Leather furniture chain, has called in administrators
and temporarily shut many of its 58 stores. The firm employs 600 and owes about
£30m. Administrators Arthur Andersen intend to sell the shops as a going
concern. Times

Store’s e-sector boost

• Incoming Sainsbury’s boss Sir Peter Davis has appointed Patrick McHugh as
group director of e-commerce and Angela Megson to head e-commerce for UK
supermarkets. The company announced a £30m investment in e-commerce last autumn
in a bid to catch up with market leader Tesco, perceived to have been the first
to capitalise on demand for e-shopping.

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