PRESS DIGEST - Sunday British business - March 9

LONDON, March 9 Sun Mar 9, 2014 7:24am EDT

LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday:

Sunday Telegraph BANK OF ENGLAND TO LAUNCH INQUIRY OVER FOREX FIXING CLAIMS

The Bank of England is to appoint a high profile figure to run an independent inquiry into its actions in relation to allegations it allowed manipulation of the foreign exchange market.

DRUGS FIRMS TO GET FAST MEDICINES DEAL

The British government is preparing a new scheme designed to accelerate the pace at which innovative medicines are made widely available, cutting the lag between early research and widespread use to as little as five years.

POUNDLAND IPO SET TO VALUE COMPANY AT 750 MLN STG

British discount retailer Poundland will float with a 750 million pounds ($1.25 billion) valuation, selling shares at the top end of a 250-300 pence price range.

The Sunday Times

WM MORRISON TO ENTER SUPERMARKET PRICE WAR

Britain's fourth-biggest grocer Wm Morrison is poised to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on lowering prices on core ranges.

NEW YORK HEDGE FUND IN TALKS TO SAVE PAWNBROKER

New York based hedge fund Fortress is in discussions to buy out debt owed by high street pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond which would give it effective control of the company.

BLACKROCK BOSS WARNS MARKETS WILL HAMMER PUTIN

The head of the world's biggest fund manager BlackRock has warned Russia cannot expect to enjoy access to Western capital unless it toes the line with international law.

WPP TO PAY 22 MLN STG BONUS TO SORRELL

Martin Sorrell, head of the world's largest advertising company WPP, has scooped a 22 million pounds payout in the firm's executive bonus scheme.

MOONPIG OWNER AIMS FOR STOCK MARKET LISTING

PhotoBox, which sells personalised cards, mugs and T-shirts online through its Moonpig.com brand has hired JP Morgan, Jefferies and Numis to set up a market listing before the summer that will value the firm at up to 500 million pounds.

HAYWARD AND HANNAM STRIKE $300 MILLION KAZAKH GAS DEAL

Compact GTL, the company bought out of administration by former BP boss Tony Hayward and City veteran Ian Hannam, has struck a $300 million deal with Kazakhstan's oil minister to build a plant capturing flared natural gas and convert it into diesel.

OLIGARCHS EYE 4 BLN STG NORTH SEA TAKEOVER

L1 Energy, an investment firm based in Mayfair set up by a group of billionaires last year, is in pole position in the 4-billion-pound auction of German energy company RWE's Dea oil arm, with operations in Egypt, Germany and the North Sea. SERCO LOSES BATTLE FOR MOD PROPERTY

Embattled British outsourcing group Serco has lost to rival Capita on a 400-million-pound Ministry of Defence contract to overhaul the 21-billion-pound military estate.

The Observer

CO-OP PLANS BUMPER PAY AND BONUS DEALS FOR BOSSES

The Co-operative Group, reeling from a banking scandal, plans to pay its chief executive more than 3.5 million pounds and boost the salaries and bonuses of other senior staff. Co-op proposes paying Chief Executive Euan Sutherland a base salary of 1.5 million for this year plus a 1.5 million retention payment, other pension contributions and other extras.

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