LONDON May 4 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
PFIZER'S 63 BLN STG 'BEAR HUG' ON ASTRA DIRECTORS
Pfizer is preparing a "bear hug" attack on
AstraZeneca in an attempt to force through its 63
billion pound ($106 billion) takeover of its British rival.
Senior sources at the American pharma conglomerate said it
would lobby Astra shareholders to force the company into talks
by warning it would not increase its 50 pounds-a-share offer.
It would also highlight alleged weaknesses in Astra's drug
BARCLAYS TO SELL UP IN EUROPE AS PRESSURE GROWS ON JENKINS
Barclays will hoist a "for sale" sign over its
businesses in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal this week as
part of a radical cost-cutting exercise.
REBELLION GAINS PACE AT TESCO
Tesco faces a wave of investor unrest at its annual
general meeting as frustration over the supermarket's poor
performance and unclear strategy starts to boil over.
ONE THIRD OF BRITAIN'S TRAINS FOR SALE
One-third of Britain's trains are up for sale after
Porterbrook, one of the three giant leasing companies that own
the rolling stock, put itself on the market, with analysts
citing a price tag of over 2 billion pounds ($3.4 billion).
MOTHERCARE GOES CRYING TO BANKS ONCE AGAIN
Struggling British baby products retailer Mothercare
is renegotiating the terms of its bank loans only seven months
after securing a 90 million pound ($152 million) refinancing, as
it tries to fund investment in the group.
MYNERS TO CALL FOR CO-OP CLEAR OUT
Former government minister Paul Myners will this week call
for sweeping reform of the Co-Operative Group's board
to help pull the mutual back from the brink, when he publishes
his report on its corporate structure on Wednesday.
LLOYDS PRIVATE EQUITY BOSS STEPS DOWN
Darryl Eales, the head of Lloyds Banking Group's
private equity arm, LDC, has stepped down after 11 years.
The Sunday Telegraph
GROCERY GIANTS FACE MORE SALES PRESSURE
Two of Britain's top supermarkets, Wm Morrison and J
Sainsbury, are this week expected to explain how they
intend to take on the increasing might of the European
discounters amid falling sales.
GIANTS LINE UP FOR UK TAX BREAKS
Hundreds of multi-national companies are lining up to
establish operations in the UK, paving the way for thousands of
new jobs and billions of pounds in extra tax revenues.
POLITICAL PRESSURE ON CENTRICA'S RATING
Centrica faces losing its "A"-grade credit rating
for the first time as political pressure takes its toll on the
embattled utility, after ratings agency Moody's placed the
British Gas owner on review for downgrade.
WONGA WARNS ON PAYDAY LOAN REGULATION
Wonga, the technology-powered finance company, has warned
that over-regulating the payday loan sector could stymie
competition and reduce investment.
Mail on Sunday
PFIZER READY WITH 50 POUNDS-PLUS BID AFTER ASTRAZENECA SNUB
American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is understood
to be working on an enhanced bid for AstraZeneca to come
at the end of the week after an offer for the company was
rejected after just four hours on Friday.
SAINSBURY'S FACES 100 MLN STG PROFIT BLOW IN PRICE WAR
Sainsbury's will plunge into the supermarket price
war this week when it unveils annual results amid City fears
that discounting will wipe billions of pounds off retailers'
profits in the coming year.
Some analysts believe Sainsbury's is preparing to launch
price cuts and promotions worth up to 200 million pounds ($337
million) to defend itself.
KUWAITIS TEAM UP WITH CHURCH OF ENGLAND FOR STAKE IN BANK
The Kuwait sovereign wealth fund has lined up alongside the
Church of England as a surprise backer of Williams & Glynn - the
bank whose founders funded the Victorian railways - which is
being revived by RBS.
M&S FACING STRIKE OVER 20 PCT PAY CUT
Marks & Spencer faces potential strike action at its
Irish business, where it makes almost half of international
sales, after proposed pay and pension cuts were rejected by
PFIZER MULLING A FRESH TAKEOVER BID
U.S. drugs giant Pfizer is understood to be
considering making a new, improved multi-billion pound offer for
British rival AstraZeneca, which could come as early as
PRIORY EYES UP 1 BLN STG FLOTATION
Advent International, the private equity owner of the Priory
Group, best known for offering rehabilitation to troubled
celebrities, is understood to be considering options for the
business, including a float which could value the firm at more
than 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion).
SAINSBURY'S UNDER PRICE-WAR PRESSURE
Sainsbury's will come under pressure to join the
raging supermarket price war as it looks set to post its slowest
profits growth in almost 10 years this week.
ASDA STARTS SEARCH FOR LONDON STORES
ASDA has fired the starting gun on ambitious
expansion plans that will see it open 20 stores in London,
creating about 4,000 new jobs.
($1 = 0.5927 British Pounds)
(Writing by Neil Maidment; Editing by Sophie Hares)