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Business press headlines: Sports Direct, AstraZeneca, London house prices

Billions of pounds of subsidies could be wasted, according to government-appointed experts who have accused National Grid of exaggerating the risk of blackouts. The energy group this week unveiled new subsidies for power stations to be kept on standby to keep Britain’s lights on. These “retainer” payments, lasting up to 15 years from 2018, will add an estimated £13 to household bills. - The Times

The average price of a property in London has leapt by more than a quarter over the past year, a rate of growth unequalled since the summer of 1987, according to the latest figures from the UK's largest building society. Prices in the capital rose by 25.8 per cent between the second quarter of 2013 and the same period this year, Nationwide said, pushing the average to £400,404, the first time it has topped £400,000 and 30 per cent higher than the peak reached in 2007. - The Guardian

Sports Direct (SPD) has labelled adidas as “disingenuous” and is understood to have reported the German sportswear company to the competition authorities in a growing row about the supply of replica football kit. Dave Forsey, chief executive of Sports Direct and the right hand man to founder Mike Ashley, labelled adidas’s behaviour as “anti-competitive” and said it is preventing the company from pursuing a bid for footwear retailer Office - The Telegraph

Fresh from fending off a takeover bid by Pfizer, the chief executive of AstraZeneca (AZN) has invested £2m in buying shares in the UK drug giant. Pascal Soriot, the Frenchman at the helm of AstraZeneca, bought 46,200 shares at £43.45 each yesterday in a move that will be taken as a sign of his confidence in the company and its prospects. It also signals that there are no fresh takeover talks under way. - The Times

Poundworld has secured £26m in new funding to open more stores in Britain and grow its overseas supply chain. The discount retailer, the third-largest single price point retailer in the UK, yesterday said it intends to expand its total UK stores – currently standing at more than 240 – by 40 to 50 each year for the next three years. It also aims to open more distribution depots, and already 30 per cent of its suppliers are based overseas. - The Scotsman

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