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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Shell to buy First Utility
  3. US economy grew at 3.2% annual rate
  4. PPF backs Toys R US rescue plan
  5. Ryanair recognises Irish trade union

Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good Night

    BBC testcard

    That's it for today on Business Live.

    We'll be back bright and early at 06:00 on Friday.

    Do join us then for all the latest breaking news and analysis from the business world.

  2. Embraer shares take off on Boeing talks

    Embraer logo

    Shares in Brazilian plane-maker Embraer soared more than 20% on Thursday, after the company said it had held talks with Boeing about a possible combination.

    A deal with the US aerospace giantwould join two of the world's biggest plane-makers.

    Any deal would require permission from the Brazilian government, which is a stakeholder in Embraer.

    News of the talks comes a few months after rivals Airbus and Bombardier announced an alliance. Read the full story here

  3. Wall Street closes on a high

    Wall Street at Christmas

    US shares closed on a high, boosted by the Republicans' tax overhaul bill being passed on Wednesday.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 0.22% or 55.5 points to 24,782.15, led by energy firm Chevron Corp, up 3.4% to $124.98.

    The broader S&P 500 meanwhile closed slightly ahead, up 0.2% or 5.3 points to 2,684.57.

    The top winner was Hess Corp, up 5.3% to $46.30, on news that Whittier Trust Co increased its holding in the firm by 108.4%.

    And the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended flat, up just 0.06% or 4.4 points to 6,965.36, led by NXT-ID Inc, which announced it is building a payments platform that will enable merchants to accept cryptocurrencies as payment for goods and services from customers.

  4. Bill Gates' secret santa 2017

    Bill Gates participates in Reddit Secret Santa 2017

    Every year, the social bookmarking website Reddit has a global Secret Santa. And every year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates takes part, and one lucky person in the US receives a huge box of presents from him.

    This year's lucky recipient is the user VietteLLC, who is passionate about cats, including a specific cat plushie toy called Pusheen.

    Mr Gates sent her a huge 30lb Pusheen toy, as well as donations to her favourite stray cay shelters, amongst many other things.

  5. Brazil president opposes Boeing taking control of Embraer

    Boeing and Embraer logos

    Brazil's president Michel Temer is apparently opposed to Boeing acquiring a controlling stake in Brazilian aeroplane manufacturer Embraer.

    "Embraer will never be sold in my government," the president reportedly said, according to local newspaper Folha de São Paulo.

  6. The miniature monkey that's a Christmas best-seller

    Fingerlings toys

    Every Christmas there's one toy that causes holiday mayhem - a must-have that seems almost impossible for desperate parents to get their hands on. But what goes into making a global best-seller?

    The stakes will be high for parents whose children have Fingerlings on their holiday wish-lists as they head into the final weekend before Christmas.

    The miniature chirping animatronic monkeys, inspired by the world's smallest primate - the pygmy marmoset - are one of this season's runaway hits and can be tough to find.

  7. Workers strike deal with Thyssenkrupp over jobs

    Thyssenkrupp workers

    Thyssenkrupp workers have struck a deal with the steel giant over jobs and planets, which is a major step towards the merger of Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel.

    The agreement, which still needs to be approved by members of the IG Metall union, promises no forced layoffs or site closures for nine years if the steel joint venture goes ahead.

    Under the deal, Thyssenkrupp has to keep its 50% stake in the joint venture for at least six years.

  8. Poundland takes down controversial Twinings tea advert

    Poundland shop

    Poundland has taken down a controversial advert featuring Twinings tea after the company complained on Twitter.

    The social media campaign displayed a toy elf in a suggestive pose with a plastic doll in front of a box of Twinings Classics tea.

    Twinings tweeted that the picture "misuses our product".

  9. Trouble brewing over drone rules

    Mavic Pro drone

    Europe's first ever regulations on drones currently hang in the balance because some member states are opposed to some of the rules.

    The new rules, drafted by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), were meant to be endorsed by member states on Wednesday, but several countries, including France and Germany, expressed concerns.

    The rules in question include requiring owners to register all drones that have a kinetic energy of more than 80 joules based on their mass and maximum speed.

    Member states have until Friday to analyse the regulations and decide whether they will endorse them.

    If the rules are not endorsed, negotiations on the rules would have to start again from scratch. The first proposals were made over two years ago.

    Many aerospace, engineering and technology firms want to see the legislation go through so that the technology can proliferate.

  10. Brexit uncertainty casts further doubt on FAB Link project

    Rob Byrne

    BBC News Online

    Anti-FAB Link protesters in Alderney
    Image caption: Anti-FAB Link protesters in Alderney

    France's energy regulator has cast doubt over the future of the Alderney-France-Britain (FAB) energy link, citing uncertainty around Brexit.

    The part EU-funded £500m electricity link is due to run across the channel, but opposition in Alderney has meant the island's involvement is now also subject to a public vote, the date of which is yet to be confirmed.

    The project's developers say they have received a letter from the french regulator CRE saying it cannot offer its support for future electricity inter-connector projects between Britain and France.

    To-date, all investment in inter-connector projects by FAB's french partner, RTE, has needed the regulator's approval.

    In considering another cross-channel project, it said it could not decide if any new inter-connector between France and the UK would benefit the European community until there was more clarity on the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

    Work on the construction phase of the undersea cables had been due to start in 2018.

  11. Ex-Embraer executive pleads guilty to corruption charges

    Embraer

    A former executive at Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has pleaded guilty to arranging a bribe for a Saudi Aramco employee in order to secure a contract for the sale of three jets.

    Colin Steven, 61, pleaded guilty to corruption charges at the US District Court in Manhattan, New York. He has agreed to cooperate with US prosecutors.

  12. Candy brothers defeat damages claim

    Property developers Nick and Christian Candy
    Image caption: Property developers Nick (L) and Christian Candy (R)

    Property developers Nick and Christian Candy have defeated a £132m damages action in the High Court.

    But no-one comes out of it well. The judge concluded that Christian Candy, encouraged by his brother, and Mark Holyoake, who brought the claim against them, had repeatedly lied to each other.

    Read our story here.

  13. Strikes on CrossCountry Trains over Christmas

    CrossCountry trains

    RMT members at CrossCountry will be striking over Christmas, the train operator has announced.

    The proposed strikes will take place on Saturday 23 December, Sunday 24 December, Wednesday 27 December and Sunday 31 December.

    "In the event that these strike dates take place, CrossCountry will be operating a reduced service, but with some longer trains. We advise you to travel as early as possible, as services may finish earlier than normal and some stations may have no CrossCountry services.

    "Although alternative travel arrangements will be prepared we expect all our services, and any replacement bus services, to be very busy."

    During the strike, some Arriva bus services will accept tickets marked ‘XC ONLY’ or ‘CROSS CNTRY ONLY’.

  14. Nursing ideas to market

    NHS staff

    Biomedical engineering is all very well but it's NHS staff working at the coalface who often come up with the best ideas for technological innovations.

    So a new private sector firm Medovate is linking up with the NHS to get these ideas to market.

    Dr Anne Blackwood speaks for the 30 NHS trusts that are teaming up with Medovate. She says they get around 200 ideas a year from NHS staff - from "bone conduction technologies that helps kids with glue ear" to "safer way of administering regional anaesthesia prior to surgery that can prevent nerve damage".

    Best of all the clinicians who come up with the ideas get a slice of the profits.

  15. McCarthy & Stone

    McCarthy and stone building

    Earlier we heard about the government's plan to ban leaseholds on new-build houses, following a consultation which highlighted cases of people seeing their rents escalate sharply after purchase.

    McCarthy & Stone, which builds retirement homes saw its shares tumble.

    The firm said it doesn't use the kind of escalating ground rents being criticised but still fears its business will be caught in the crossfire.

    Chief executive Clive Fenton said "The proposal to set all ground rents to zero will result in a disruption of housing supply and contradicts the Government's stated objective of seeking new sources of housing."

  16. Booths supermarket chain in trouble

    Howard Mustoe

    business reporter

    Booths Supermarket

    Northern supermarket chain Booths is in a spot of bother.

    We know from reports earlier in the year the company is looking for a buyer. Now, their 2017 results show a deeper loss of £14.8m, up from £6.3m for 2016, according to a Companies House filing.

    Sales of £263.4m were down 4.3% compared to last year for Booths, often referred to as the Waitrose of the north. Flogging some of its property and leasing it back has helped it slash debt to £30.8m from £73.6m, however.

    The company’s fortunes started to suffer following Storm Desmond in December 2015, which caused damage to a number of its stores.

    While chief executive and founding family member Edwin Booth called the year “challenging”, the company should be able to operate within its debt agreements and has other properties to “fall back on” if needed, he said in the report. It still has a £78.8m property portfolio, including £32.5m of freehold property.

  17. London closes on a record high

    London Stock EXchange

    The FTSE 100 has closed on a record high, up 1% or 78.8 points to 7,603.98.

    The index was led by Mediclinic International, up 7.2% to 629p, while the top loser was cruise operator Carnival, down 1.7% to £48.80 on news its operating profit fell by 8.5% year-on-year.

    Mining stocks featured prominently in the rise, with Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American all firmly in the green.

    The FTSE 250 also closed slightly ahead, up 0.36% or 72.4 points to 20,422.73.

    The top winner on the index was also a mining firm - Sirius Minerals, up 7.5% to 23.6p. The top loser was retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone, down 9.5% to 153.6p.

  18. BreakingFacebook and Universal Music sign major deal

    Facebook and Universal logos

    Facebook and Universal Music Group (UMG) have signed a major global agreement whereby UMG will license its recorded music and publishing catalogues for video across Facebook, Instagram and virtual reality goggle firm Oculus.

    The idea is to enable the two firms to build new music-based experiences online that will be shared across Facebook's platforms to facilitate deeper engagement between artists and fans.

    Under this partnership, users will be able to upload videos that contain licensed music and personalise their music experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, while sharing videos with friends and family.

    In time, functionality will expand to enable access to a vast library of music across a series of social features.