IN BRIEF

SALE Wealth manager Perpetual has rejected speculation it is preparing for a sale of its Corporate Trust business. Reports yesterday said Perpetual had appointed advisers to the business, with three Indian outsourcing companies interested in a possible acquisition. But the wealth manager broke a long-standing convention of not commenting on market rumours to say suggestions of the sale were "incorrect".

SALE Wealth manager Perpetual has rejected speculation it is preparing for a sale of its Corporate Trust business. Reports yesterday said Perpetual had appointed advisers to the business, with three Indian outsourcing companies interested in a possible acquisition. But the wealth manager broke a long-standing convention of not commenting on market rumours to say suggestions of the sale were "incorrect".

MEDIA The board of Fairfax Media (owner of The Age) met yesterday but made no comment on whether it would offer major shareholder Gina Rinehart a seat. Mrs Rinehart, Australia's richest person, visited the Fairfax offices in Sydney earlier this month after lifting her stake in the company to 12.6 per cent on February 1. The company said yesterday it never commented on internal board discussions. But it appears no decision was made as any appointment would need to be swiftly announced to the ASX.

BANKING National Australia Bank shareholders must pay the bank $6.2 million as security for its legal costs in a class action over its exposure to US subprime debt. NAB said it expected to spend more than $20 million on legal costs until the trial and had asked the judge to order shareholders to pay $11 million. The plaintiffs challenged it, calling the sum "extraordinary in size and unprecedented in Australian legal history", according to the ruling by Justice Jennifer Davies.

PACKAGING Amcor has paid $19.8 million to buy Indian packager Uniglobe, which has annual revenue of $20 million and operates two plants at Daman, 150 kilometres north of Mumbai.

GAS Shares in Beach Petroleum rose 8? to $1.63 after 50:50 partner Drillsearch Energy announced the spudding of its Haslam-1 exploration well in South Australia's Cooper Basin. Drillsearch rose 1? to $1.45

ONLINE About half of Australia's small businesses now have a website, up from 35 per cent a year ago, according to a Google survey. It follows a campaign by Google and MYOB to get more businesses online by offering free websites.

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