PRESS DIGEST - Sunday British business - Aug 10

LONDON Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:29am EDT

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LONDON Aug 10 (Reuters) - British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday. Reuters has not independently verified these media reports and does not vouch for their accuracy. THE SUNDAY TIMES EX-FT BOSS JOINS RACE FOR TOP JOB AT BARCLAYS The former chief executive of the Financial Times and the government's favourite troubleshooter have emerged as two of the leading contenders to become the new chairman of Barclays.

Rona Fairhead, who ran the newspaper group for seven years and is a long standing non-executive director of banking giant HSBC >, is said to be among the shortlisted candidates. Sir Howard Davies, the former Treasury mandarin who has been set the task of resolving Britain's airports strategy, is also believed to be in the running.

PROFITS SLUMP AT SERCO AND G4S Embattled outsourcing giant Serco will report a slump in half-year profits this week thanks to its "corporate renewal" programme and contract woes.

PUNCH POISED TO END PUB BRAWL WITH DEBT DEAL Punch Taverns is set to bring the war between its shareholders and creditors to an end tomorrow when it launches a painful restructuring of its 2.2 billion pound debt pile.

LADBROKES CHIEF IN LAST THROW OF THE DICE The boss of Ladbrokes faces a showdown with shareholders this week when the struggling bookmaker admits that first-half earnings are down about a third. SAGE FOUNDER TO LEAVE WITH 6 MILLION POUNDS The boss of British software developer Sage Group could pocket a leaving package of as much as 6 million pounds when he retires in March. THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH MOULTON CIRCLES TURBULENT MONARCH AS PWC STANDS BY Jon Moulton, the venture capitalist, is among a small group of distressed and private equity investors considering pumping money into Monarch as the struggling travel group aims to restructure its holding company.

Interest has come from Mr Moulton's Better Capital , which focuses on struggling companies, HIG Europe, another turnaround specialist, and private equity firms Towerbrook and Indigo Capital. Company insiders say they are hopeful of having a deal by Christmas. OFGEM 'TO BLAME' FOR HIGH PRICES Ofgem may be to blame for high profits and prices, five former regulators have warned competition authorities investigating the sector.

The Competition and Markets Authority has launched an 18-month probe into the energy market at the request of Ofgem, after the energy regulator concluded that millions of households were paying too much for their gas and electricity because of a lack of competition in the sector.

In a submission to the CMA, to be published on Monday, five former energy regulators including Stephen Littlechild and Sir Callum McCarthy suggest that Ofgem may have weakened competition through poorly designed regulation imposed since 2008. FTSE CHAIRMAN REJECT TIGHTER TAKEOVER RULES Three quarters of FTSE 100 chairmen have rejected government plans to bring in legislation surrounding foreign takeovers, saying that there is no need for a public interest test. In the most detailed survey of chairmen of the boards of Britain's biggest companies, some 74 percent said that they supported the UK's liberal takeover regime and did not think it should be restricted to protect national assets.

TESCO FEARS HIT SAINSBURY'S Short-sellers are targeting Sainbury's amid fears that Tesco's new chief executive will shake up the supermarket sector by resetting margins.

LANSDOWNE BUYS INTO ONLINE LUXURY Lansdowne Partners, one of the world's biggest hedge funds, has taken an equity stake in Achica, the online luxury homewares retailer.

FINANCIAL TIMES

HSBC CHIEF REJECTS BARCLAYS WEALTH MODEL HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver has pledged to retain his group's private bank as a standalone division, in what is seen as a veiled attack on the decision by Barclays to roll its private banking arm into its retail business. EX-GB GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE JOINS INTEROIL Chris Finlayson, the former chief executive of BG Group has found a new home as chairman of InterOil the New-York-listed oil and gas company developing one of the largest natural gas fields to be discovered in Asia in recent years.

Mr Finlayson, 58, resigned as chief of BG group in April after only 15 months in the job, amid disagreements with chairman Andrew Gould over the company's strategy. (Complied by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Lynne O'Donnell)

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