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Business briefing: GoCompare sells for far more than a tenor

Lots of notes: GoCompare mascot Gio Compario

COMPARISON website GoCompare has agreed to a £594million takeover by a magazine publisher. Future will pay 136p a share for the firm — known for its adverts with opera singer character Gio Compario. And GoCompare investors will own 19 per cent of the merged company. Current chairman and major shareholder Sir Peter Wood will bag a £41.3million cash windfall. But some of GoCompare’s 400 staff will lose their jobs as head and back office functions are merged to save £10million. Future, the UK’s largest magazine publisher with 2,300 staff, will keep GoCompare’s base in Newport, south Wales. But it will shut a small head office in London’s Soho. Sir Peter called the deal a ‘unique opportunity’.

Fifth of firms plan to surveil staff at home

ONE in five firms uses or plans to use computer programs to monitor home workers. Around 16 per cent of larger companies, and 12 per cent of businesses overall, use worker-tracking software. Another eight per cent aim to install it, a Skillcast poll found. Vivek Dodd, of Skillcast, said: ‘While we’ve found corporate decision-makers are comfortable with staff working remotely, they’re also making adjustments for improving employee support and compliance.’

Pubs brand relaxed rules a ‘mockery’

THE decision to let households mix over Christmas makes a ‘mockery’ of rules that will remain in place for hospitality venues, it has been claimed. ‘Bubbles’ of three households will be free to visit each other’s homes and stay overnight from December 23 to 27. But the relaxation announced by the government does not extend to meeting up at a restaurant, pub, hotel or theatre. Emma McClarkin, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: ‘Pubs are a safe, regulated environment. They are part of the solution for a safe, enjoyable Christmas, not the problem.’

TV chef Tom’s £380 Christmas ready meal

Festive offer: Tom Kerridge PICTURE: REX

TOM KERRIDGE is selling a pre-made Christmas dinner for £380 — but you must cook it yourself. The Michelin-starred chef, 47, will post three-course boxes that feature roast Norfolk turkey and feed up to six people. But they take an hour-and-a-half to cook. He said it’s ‘everything you need for a smashing Christmas’.

■ BRITISH Gas workers will vote on a possible strike over pay and conditions next week. They are being balloted from next Tuesday. The GMB union has accused British Gas owner Centrica of threatening ‘draconian cuts’ that will affect ten per cent of workers. Centrica said base pay and pensions would be protected but the wage bill would fall by 1.5 per cent.