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Legoland Florida to build new, 152-room hotel at theme park by 2015

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - While shovelling a ceremonial scoop of Lego bricks, Legoland Florida executives announced Thursday that the theme park will build a 152-room hotel on its property by 2015. The news is significant for both the theme park and the area. Since opening in 2011, the park has drawn many guests from families who are staying in Orlando and visiting the area's large theme parks like Disney or Universal.

Investors flock to Europe in search of next Supercell

By Mia Shanley and Jussi Rosendahl HELSINKI (Reuters) - Riding a wave of euphoria surrounding the success of Finnish mobile game maker Supercell, venture capital firms are chasing after European tech start-ups in search of the next big thing. Japanese tech and telecoms group SoftBank's 51 percent stake purchase in 3-year-old Supercell, announced last month, valued the maker of hit games "Clash of Clans" and "Hay Day" at $3 billion.

Insight: African tech startups aim to power growing economies

By Bate Felix and Matthew Mpoke Bigg DAKAR (Reuters) - When Abasiama Idaresit started a digital marketing firm in Nigeria's bustling economic capital three years ago, he quickly learned how brutal life can be in a market where tech startups are in their infancy. No-one would lend him money to hire staff or pay for office space, so Idaresit spent eight months hustling the streets of Lagos, trying to convince clients his plan to help them develop online campaigns was a winner.

Early Twitter investors double down on consumer Web start-ups

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - For Twitter Inc's early venture capital backers, some of whom stand to make over 500 times their investment when the company goes public, now is a time not just to celebrate but increase their stakes in mobile and social media.

Column: Could entrepreneurship jump-start Greece's economy?

ATHENS, GREECE — Evgenia Papadopoulou runs a Pilates studio in downtown Athens, and over the past three years she has cut her staff from seven to three. Business is down 40 percent, while her studio's taxes, insurance and electricity costs have increased by as much as 12 percent. Even so, Papadopoulou feels lucky to be working — and to have started her business almost two decades ago, when bank loans were common and Athenians had steady incomes. Today's entrepreneurs face a starker climate.

Orange reports sales setback, shares fall

French telecoms group Orange, formerly France Telecom, reported a 5.5-percent fall in sales in the third quarter on Wednesday, slightly worse than expected, but contained the effect of this on underlying profit. The price of shares in the business was showing a fall of 4.37 percent to 10.19 euros, in an overall French market which was down 0.70 percent in morning trading. At brokers Global Equities, Xavier de Villepion commented: "The results are not so bad as all that," adding that the shares had fallen mainly because of profit-taking after a recent strong rise.

Exclusive: Cerberus, others explore deal for Safeway - sources

By Olivia Oran and Soyoung Kim NEW YORK (Reuters) - A handful of buyout firms, including Cerberus Capital Management LP, are exploring a deal for all or part of supermarket chain Safeway Inc <SWY.N>, according to people familiar with the matter, in what could potentially shape up to be one of the largest leveraged buyouts since the financial crisis.

Madame Tussauds owner Merlin to join London stock market

By Kylie MacLellan and Neil Maidment LONDON (Reuters) - Merlin Entertainments, whose attractions include the Madame Tussauds waxworks and Legoland theme parks, plans to sell at least 20 percent of its shares in a stock market debut in London next month. Stronger equity markets have helped to support a pick-up in new London listings after several years of drought.

Venture capital investments rise 17% in 3Q as software funding skyrockets

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A new report says funding for U.S. startups rose in the third quarter from year-ago levels, as venture capitalists poured money into a growing number of fledging software companies. According to the report released Friday, total investments in startups rose 17 per cent to $7.78 billion from $6.63 billion in the July-September quarter of 2012. The number of deals rose 7 per cent to 1,005 from 937.

Silicon Valley finds new ways to back tomorrow's winners

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A group of high-flying Silicon Valley investors is betting that there is room for one more program that fosters early-stage companies. This time, they are focused on the massive amounts of information generated in part by the Internet and known collectively as big data. The creation of Data Elite, a hybrid between a venture fund and an incubator, underscores the obsession among the valley's investors of finding promising companies at the very earliest stages.
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