Business stories of interest this week

Business stories from the past week, compiled by Jason Maywald:

1) Rival bid for Santos unlikely, analysts say

Analysts have dismissed reports French oil and gas giant Total and Quadrant Energy will make a rival bid for Santos to compete with Harbour Energy’s $13.5 billion takeover offer.

Reports emerged on Monday that Macquarie Capital will lead a bid by Total and West Australian energy company Quadrant Energy, however, analysts dismissed News Corp’s report of a rival bid, saying a lot of companies would be running their ruler over Santos.

I’ve not heard anything to suggest this company, or any other, is going to make a new offer for Santos,” an oil and gas source familiar with the companies told Fairfax Media.


2) Following restaurant collapse, now Jamie Oliver’s Woolworths range is on the wave 

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver can’t seem to catch a break in Australia at the moment. Fresh from the collapse of his restaurant chain and closure of his Canberra eatery, now his lucrative partnership with supermarket chain Woolworths is looking wobbly.

A private label range of ready meals and frozen foods bearing Oliver’s name, launched with much fanfare four years ago, has seen lines axed. Originally planned to be a selection of 60 products, there are now less than 20 available.

In some cases, Woolworths has launched similar products, but under its own name rather than Oliver’s.

Woolworths said the range had “evolved” and its partnership with Oliver was focused on a number of areas, rather than one private label offer. He also still acts as a brand ambassador for the supermarket chain.


3) How one of Sydney’s last DVD stores has beaten Netflix 

One by one they have closed all around Sydney. With a shift towards watching movies online – in the era of iTunes and Netflix – more than 200 DVD stores have shut in recent years.

The city’s last Civic Video closed at Bondi Beach this month, joining all the Blockbuster, VideoEzy and other stores that once buzzed with customers renting movies from Friday to Sunday.

But at Mount Druitt, Geoffrey Hooper has kept his VideoEzy store bubbling along. It has taken some smart diversifying – including 10 DVD kiosks in surrounding suburbs and an internet cafe amid the rental racks – as well as some unexpected sources of demand.


4) Myer appoints new CEO

Embattled department store chain Myer has hired a senior British department store retailer, former House of Fraser chief executive John King, as its new chief executive.

Mr King takes the helm from Richard Umbers, who was forced to step down with immediate effect in February after unveiling Myer’s third profit downgrade in less than a year.


5) Starbucks arrest: US stores to ‘close’ to conduct racial-bias training

Starbucks says it will close its more than 8000 US stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training to its nearly 175,000 workers.

The announcement comes after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks store, sparking protests and calls for a boycott on social media. Starbucks Corp. says the stores will be closed on the afternoon on May 29. Its corporate offices will also be closed at that time.

Starbucks says CEO Kevin Johnson met with the two black men who were arrested in a Philadelphia store last week.