January 29, 2012 / 12:35 PM / 8 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Sunday British business - Jan 29

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) -

The Sunday Times

NEW 8 MLN STG BONUS FOR RBS CHIEF

Royal Bank of Scotland ‘s chief executive Stephen Hester is in line for a new bonus worth almost 8 million pounds ($12.5 million), fuelling a furore over his pay.

The part-nationalised bank is to buy 4.5 million pounds worth of shares for Hester within weeks as part of a long-term pay scheme, while a separate scheme will see a further 3.3 million pounds of shares bought on his behalf as a bonus for the new financial year.

ROLET’S TILT AT METALS MARKET

The London Stock Exchange is preparing to charge into the 1 billion pound battle for control of the London Metal Exchange.

Sources close to the auction say LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet plans to go head to head with overseas suitors for the business.

HANDS SET TO BUY GARDEN CENTRE GROUP

Guy Hands’ Terra Firma is expected to begin exclusive talks to acquire gardening store specialist the Garden Centre Group, 40 percent-owned by Lloyds Banking Group, for up to 300 million pounds.

LVMH GOES SHOPPING FOR JEWELLERS

The private equity arm of LVMH is considering a bid for the company behind jewellery stores Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland, which was put up for sale last year for 200 million pounds.

ASTRAZENECA POISED TO AXE 3,000 JOBS IN COST CUTTING

AstraZeneca is set to announce an extension to its cost-cutting programme alongside results on Thursday, with analysts estimating that another 3,000 jobs could go.

RANK EYES 250 MLN STG TAKEOVER OF GALA CASINO CHAIN

Bingo and casino group Rank, majority owned by Malaysia’s Guoco, is in talks to buy the casino division of Gala Coral for up to 250 million pounds.

Talks are at an advanced stage, and a deal - which would make Rank Britain’s biggest casino operator - may be announced alongside Rank’s results on Feb 9.

INDIAN TYCOON CHASES MARRIOTT HOTELS

Indian billionaire Subrata Roy has made a bid for a portfolio of Marriott hotels being sold by RBS for about 750 million pounds.

Other potential buyers include the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and India’s Blue Post Group.

ICELAND FOUNDER LINES UP CANADIAN CASH

Malcolm Walker has lined up 150 million pounds of backing from a Canadian pension fund to buy back Iceland, the frozen foods chain he founded.

The Sunday Telegraph

TATE ‘UNHAPPY’ WITH NEW LLOYDS ROLE

Truett Tate is believed to be unlikely to survive in his current role as group executive director, wholesale, at Lloyds Banking Group, when returned chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio carries out a shake-up of senior management.

The reshuffle is expected to be announced as soon as this week.

OCADO GEARS UP FOR PRICE WAR

Online supermarket retailer Ocado is to announce price cuts on around 600 products, making them lower than their equivalent at Tesco, when it announces full-year results on Tuesday.

QATAR BUYS CREDIT SUISSE LONDON HQ

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to buy Credit Suisse’s London headquarters in Cabot Square, Canary Wharf as it expands further into commercial property in the British capital.

The Qatar Investment Authority is understood to have placed the building under offer for around 330 million pounds in a sale-and-leaseback deal.

The Independent on Sunday

G4S ADVISERS FACE AXE AFTER FAILED ISS DEAL

Security group G4S is set to replace its corporate advisers and brokers this week after the firm’s failure to buy Danish cleaning company ISS.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, Jefferies and Citi will be among those pitching to replace Deutsche as corporate advisor and broker and Hoare Govett as broker, with Deutsche expected to make a case for its retention.

ASTRAZENECA TO RETURN BILLIONS TO SHAREHOLDERS

AstraZeneca will announce an estimated $3 billion extension to its share buyback programme when it announces full-year results this week.

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