LONDON May 18 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 CONSIDERS LAST-MINUTE SWEETENER TO WIN OVER ASTRA
Pfizer is weighing up a dramatic last-minute
increase in its offer for rival AstraZeneca. Pfizer
executives are also in talks with the Department for Business
about extending the length of their commitment to keep research
facilities in Britain from five tears to 10.
Separately, the coalition government is in "early stage"
talks with Brussels about a widening of the public interest test
for takeovers that would let the deal go ahead only if Pfizer
gave the right guarantees
AMERICANS LINE UP 10.5 BILLION POUND GRAB FOR BOOTS
American drugstore giant Walgreen is examining a
10.5 billion pound ($17.7 billion) takeover of Alliance
Boots, Britain's largest chain of high street
pharmacies, in the latest deal to be driven by tax flight from
MAIL SET FOR BIG WINDFALL FROM 1 BILLION POUND ZOOPLA FLOAT
Zoopla is poised for a stock market float that will value
the property website at about 1 billion pounds. The
seven-year-old company is set to unveil its plans to go public
The offering will represent a coup for the Daily Mail and
General Trust which controls 51 percent of the
LLOYDS FEARS BIG LOSS ON TSB FLOAT
Lloyds Banking Group is bracing itself for a loss
of up to 500 million pounds on its imminent stock market float
of challenger bank TSB.
Early test marketing with investors has indicated that it
could be forced to sell the business at a knock-down price. It
may even have to list the first 25 percent stake in the bank for
less than its current book value -- which would create a huge
The Sunday Telegraph
M&S BIDS TO SOOTHE INVESTORS
Marks and Spencer will move to appease investors
underwhelmed by the retailer's performance by hinting it is to
boost shareholder returns and focus on improving profit margins.
The 130-year-old retailer will this week reveal it has
suffered a third year of declining profits. The clothing and
food chain is expected by the City to report a decline in its
headline annual pre-tax profits of almost 8 percent to 615
PROFIT SURGE TO PUT SSE UNDER PRESSURE FOR PRICE CUTS
Energy giant SSE is braced for calls to cut prices
this week when it is expected to reveal its profits surged 9
percent to 1.54 billion pounds last year.
Britain's second largest energy supplier announced in March
that it would freeze prices until 2016.
PRIVATE EQUITY GROUPS CIRCLE PIZZA EXPRESS
Pizza Express has attracted interest from a number of large
private equity groups with bids starting at 1 billion pounds.
Company owner Cinven is using bankers from Rothschild and
Goldman Sachs to advise on an exit, with first round bids lodged
late last week.
MINISTERS SEEK HELP FROM BRUSSELS OVER PFIZER BID
British ministers have opened talks in Brussels about
strengthening the UK's ability to force American firm Pfizer
to honour commitments on jobs and research in its
proposed takeover of AstraZeneca
MPS TO PROBE SERCO OVER SEX ASSAULT CLAIM
Members of parliament are to investigate outsourcing company
Serco after it was forced to disclose a secret internal
report revealing evidence that it failed to properly investigate
a claim of repeated sexual assaults against a female resident at
Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee,
said he would be summoning senior Serco figures to parliament
next month to explain their actions.
The Mail on Sunday
PFIZER TO SWEETEN BID BILL WITH 67 BILLION POUND OFFER
American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is understood to be
putting the final touches to an improved bid for AstraZeneca
which is expected to value the British drugs giant at 67 billion
Shareholders are understood to be demanding at least 53
pounds a share which would value AstraZeneca at 67 billion
RYANAIR PLANS BOND ISSUE
Ryanair will report its first fall in profits in
five years on Monday but it could also announce a 1 billion euro
($1.37 billion) bond issue to pay for new planes. In September
it will take delivery of the first of 175 new aircraft from
Boeing and the City expects a bond issue to finance the
737-800s, broker Cantor believes.
($1 = 0.5942 British Pounds)
($1 = 0.7297 Euros)
(Writing by Keith Weir, 44 20 7542 8022)