Nursery takeover

THE UK’s largest nursery chain, Leapfrog, today changed hands in a £31.2m deal.

THE UK’s largest nursery chain, Leapfrog, today changed hands in a £31.2m deal.

Education and training firm Nord Anglia Education is selling the business to Australian nursery operator ABC, which plans to combine Leapfrog with its existing Busy Bees chain.

The new business will feature 134 nurseries across the country, offering around 12,500 childcare places.

X marks the spot

SIR Richard Branson has gained a foothold in Asia’s fast-growing budget airline sector after taking a stake in Malaysia’s AirAsia X.

The move marks an alliance between Sir Richard and Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, a former Virgin Group employee, who founded the AirAsia brand in 2001 and hopes to transform the region’s aviation market.

AirAsia X, launched in January, aims to dramatically expand the market for low-cost long haul travel - both for leisure and business - by building on the short haul service of its sister airline AirAsia.

Annual leave woes

THE UK will still be at the bottom of the European Union league for holidays even after workers are given new rights to paid leave, according to a new report today.

Minimum entitlement in this country is to increase in two stages to 28 days by April 2009 under government moves to stop firms counting public holidays in workers’ annual leave.

Currently, UK workers are entitled to a minimum of 20 days from their employer, but if firms include the eight bank holidays in this figure, they are effectively giving staff only 12 days.

A study by Incomes Data Services (IDS) showed that workers in other EU countries had more holidays, with Germany topping the league at 39 days a year, including public holidays.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer