And in the real world... Homebase, Santander, Aviva, M&S and more

LONDON - Today's round-up of the biggest business stories.

World news... round-up
World news... round-up

Investors have lambasted Aviva for its decision to spend tens of millions on a star-studded rebranding TV campaign. Aviva's investors accused the board of "squandering" shareholders money on the ads, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which starred a number of high-profile stars including Bruce Willis, Elle McPherson and Ringo Starr.
Source: The Daily Telegraph

Royal Dutch Shell's profits have fallen by 58 per cent in the first quarter as a result of dwindling oil prices.
As a result of the loss, which saw its profits fall to $3.3billion, the group has had to increase its debt support.
Source: The Daily Telegraph

Sir Stuart Rose, the chairman of Marks & Spencer, said that businesses were ready to move on from the worst of the recession, claiming there was a "kink at the bottom". Speaking at the annual convention of the Institute of Directors, Rose claimed that business is "fed up with being fed up" and urged the 2,500-strong congregation at the Royal Albert Hall to move on.
Source: Financial Times

Santander has beaten analysts' forecasts by posting just a small fall in year-on-year first quarter net profits. The group posted a decline of just 5 per cent for the three months to the end of March, taking its profits to €2.1 billion.
Source: Financial Times

The Home Retail group, the owner of Homebase, whose advertising is handled by Leo Burnett, has announced dreary forecasts for another year of falling sales. The group, which also owns Argos, a CHI & Partners client, posted a 24 per cent fall in pre-tax profits for the year to end of February 2009, as well as stating that it expected a 10.2 per cent decline in like-for-like sales this year.
Source: The Independent

Time Warner, the owner of AOL, has said it may be forced to spin off one or more parts of the internet division after posting a 14 per cent fall in quarterly net profit. The news comes as Time Warner Group has been forced to absorb the cost of four films released by its Warner Brothers subsidiary after one of its financing partners failed to contribute its 50 per cent share.
Source: Financial Times

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