PRESS DIGEST - Sunday British business - Oct 7

LONDON Sun Oct 7, 2012 8:15am EDT

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LONDON Oct 7 (Reuters) - British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday.

Sunday Times GERMAN THREAT TO BLOCK BAE DEAL Germany has threatened to scupper the 28 billion pound ($45 billion) merger of BAE Systems and EADS unless the headquarters of the combined company is located in Munich.

SHOWDOWN LOOMS AT ROTHSCHILD COAL GIANT Directors of Bumi, the London-listed coal miner created by Nat Rothschild, plan to strip its Indonesian backers of their powers or force them to sell out of the beleaguered group.

AUSSIE ENTERS RACE TO TAKE OVER AS BANK OF ENGLAND GOVERNOR Glenn Stevens, 54, the head of Australia's central bank, has emerged as a dark horse contender in the race to become the new governor of the Bank of England.

FIRST GROUP 'IN DARK' OVER RAILWAY U-TURN Transport officials have yet to tell First Group why the lucrative west coast rail contract was snatched from it, according to the company's chief executive. Tim O'Toole said he was considering legal action against the government and did not rule out raising cash with a rights issue to shore up the company's finances.

BG SETS SIGHTS ON CENTRICA'S TOP MAN The chairman of BG Group has made an audacious attempt to poach Sam Laidlaw, the boss of British Gas owner Centrica , to run the FTSE 100 energy giant.

FACEBOOK BONUSES TO DENT SHARE PRICE Facebook staff are poised to pocket share windfalls totalling $5 billion, putting more pressure on the internet giant's stock price.

LOANS BATTLE AT WEMBLEY The owner of Wembley Stadium has warned that a significant fall in income or delay in large payments could force the company to break the terms of its bank loans. The company, Wembley National Stadium, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Football Association, the newspaper said.

HEDGE FUNDS BOOST SPAIN Spain has been handed a temporary reprieve from the threat of a European bailout after American hedge funds started buying the company's bonds.

WONGA BOSSES LAND 18 MILLION POUNDS AS PAYDAY LENDING BOOMS Wonga, the online lender, has handed its staff a windfall of nearly 18 million pounds in a move that is likely to stoke controversy over the payday loans industry.

SURREY WATER BIDS Sutton and East Surrey Water has been put up for sale with a price tag of 250 to 300 million pounds by its owner Icon Infrastructure.

Sunday Telegraph INVESTORS REBEL OVER BAE DEAL BAE Systems is facing a growing investor revolt over its plans to merge with European rival EADS, just days before it has to agree the deal, abandon it or apply for more time from the Takeover Panel.

PM DRAWN INTO WEST COAST ROW Prime Minister David Cameron personally intervened in the bidding process for the west coast mainline rail service and asked Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood to investigate the matter after a private appeal from Sir Richard Branson.

ENRC SHAKES UP TOP TEAM The chairman of troubled ENRC is to bolster the mining giant's senior management with a raft of new appointments aimed at appeasing investors and bringing a halt to the company's share price slide. TESCO SIGNALS COOLING ON US Philip Clarke has told Tesco investors that the supermarket group's beleaguered U.S. division, Fresh & Easy, will not make a profit in its current form after dramatically halting investment in new shops. NEW BIDDER FOR KP NUTS BUSINESS A Russian-British private equity firm backed by businessman Mikhail Fridman has become one of the favourites to win the 450 million pound auction for KP Snacks.

Mail on Sunday CHINA IN SECRET TALKS ON UK NUCLEAR PLANT STAKE China is poised to take a multi-billion pound stake in the building of a nuclear power plant in Somerset with French energy giant EDF.

RECORD PROFIT AT WHSMITH Britain's biggest newsagent WHSmith will this week smash through the 100 million pounds profit mark for the first time since chief executive Kate Swann arrived to restructure the business nine years ago.

L'OREAL 'IS READY TO SELL' THE BODY SHOP A former suitor for The Body Shop health and beauty chain says it is being groomed for sale by French owner L'Oreal.

Independent on Sunday EADS WILL DITCH BAE DEAL OVER GOVERNMENT DEMANDS Aerospace giant EADS is preparing to dump its audacious 30 billion pound merger with British defence group BAE Systems if European governments fail to lower their demands over the next three days.

SCARDINO PREPARES TO QUIT NOKIA AFTER LEAVING PEARSON Days after announcing her departure from the helm of Financial Times owner Pearson, Dame Marjorie Scardino is preparing to give up her role as vice-chairman of troubled phone-maker Nokia.

SCEPTICAL TRADERS SET TO UNDERMINE DIRECT LINE City brokers are warning the flotation of insurer Direct Line could be undermined by an army of sceptics poised to bet against the shares when they start trading next week following a recent poor track record of other high-profile listings.

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