LONDON, March 23 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
ENERGY GIANTS FACE BREAK-UP AS PROFITS PROBE LOOMS
Britain's big six energy companies will face the threat of
break-up this week with their regulator Ofgem expected to
announce its intention to refer the firms to the new Competition
and Markets Authority (CMA).
It will stop short of an immediate referral, industry
sources said, with a likely one-month consultation on the move.
The CMA, which takes over from the Competition Commission next
month, could break up the big six, forcing the separation of
their power-generation and retail arms.
Energy companies have faced repeated accusations that they
have made excess profits as household bills have soared.
BOSSES CALLED TO RUSSIAN CRISIS SUMMIT
An emergency summit to discuss the impact of Russian
sanctions on British business is to be convened this week by
The CBI, British Bankers' Association and other lobby groups
will hold meetings at the Department for Business, Innovation &
Skills to discuss the implications of the escalating crisis in
PRICE WAR: GREEN VOWS TO UNDERCUT TESCO BY 10 PCT WITH BHS
Billionaire retailer Philip Green has plunged into the
supermarket price war, vowing to undercut rivals with the start
of food sales at BHS department stores.
Green, who also owns Topshop, claimed BHS would be about 10
percent cheaper on branded goods than the big four supermarkets.
The first two shops will open within days, with plans for about
140 food outlets.
OSBORNE'S TAX THREAT TO 99P ONLINE MUSIC
The era of the 99 pence music download is under threat after
George Osborne launched a 300 million pound ($495 million) tax
raid on technology giants such as Apple and Amazon
The chancellor is closing a loophole that allowed internet
companies to avoid paying British VAT on sales of digital goods,
such as music, electronic books and smartphone games.
STANDARD LIFE PLANS SWOOP ON RIVAL IGNIS
Standard Life is mulling a 400 million pound ($660
million) takeover offer for Ignis Asset Management, which
controls the money of 6 million British pension investors.
The fund manager is being put up for sale by its parent,
Phoenix Group. Standard Life is one of a clutch of bidders said
to be interested, alongside the Canadian banking group RBC and
the Australian investment house Macquarie.
LLOYDS PUTS BUILDER ON AUCTION BLOCK
Lloyds Banking Group is preparing to shed its last
house building asset with the 200 million pound ($330
million)sale of Gladedale, now renamed Avant Homes.
Private equity firms such as Blackstone, Starwood Capital
and Patron are expected to circle as the Rothschild investment
bank starts sounding out buyers this week.
FOUNDERS PLOT BID FOR KNICKERBOX
Janie Schaffer, the "knickers queen" who quit Marks &
Spencer after just three months, is plotting her
comeback with a bid for up-for-sale Knickerbox, the firm she and
her former husband Stephen started in 1986.
The Sunday Telegraph
REGULATORS PRESSED ON PENSIONS
The heads of some of the UK's largest insurance companies
have called on regulators to intervene in the wake of the
Chancellor's planned pensions shake-up.
The Sunday Telegraph has learned that the chief executives
of some of the country's biggest life insurers have lobbied both
the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation
Authority in the past few days.
"SNP HAS NO ECONOMIC STRATEGY FOR SCOTLAND" - ITV CHAIRMAN
The Scottish National Party's plans for the country
post-independence have been dismissed as "a few windmills and
hydro power" by one of the UK's leading businessmen.
Archie Norman, chairman of ITV, said Scottish
Nationalists had no credible plans to turn around the country's
economic performance and that business leaders had to make the
case for the Union.
UNILEVER'S RAGU IN PINNACLE'S SIGHTS
Pinnacle Foods, the US conglomerate, is understood to
be the front runner in the $2 billion sale of Unilever's
U.S. food groups Hillshire Brands, Post Holdings
, Japanese grocery supplier Mizkan are all interested.
DIXONS AND CARPHONE LOOK TO DEAL EXTENSION
Dixons and Carphone Warehouse are poised to
ask the Takeover Panel for an extension to the negotiations for
their 4 billion pound ($6.60 billion) merger.
The retailers have a deadline of 1700 GMT on Monday to
confirm whether they intend to press ahead with the deal.
Mail on Sunday
SUPERMARKETS LOCKED IN COURT BATTLE ON ADS
Sainsbury's has won the right to a judicial review
in its battle against an allegedly misleading advertising
campaign that claimed Tesco's products were cheaper.
($1 = 0.6063 British pounds)
(Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by Keiron Henderson)