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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Marks & Spencer shares flourish after reports of Qatar takeover bid

Category : Business

Rumours of £8bn takeover bid pushed retailer’s shares to a 28-month high but sources have played down the speculation

Marks & Spencer shares hit a 28-month high on rumours of an £8bn takeover by the Qatar Investment Authority, reaching prices last seen in November 2010. Despite attempts by sources close to Qatar Holdings to play down the speculation, shares in the high-street business closed up nearly 7%.

However, neither M&S nor the Qataris issued a statement denying the rumours, and both could come under pressure from the stock market authorities to clarify their positions if the share price continues to rise.

The Qatar Investment Authority, of which Qatar Holdings is a subsidiary, already has significant interests in retailing. It has a 26% stake in Sainsbury’s, owns the department store Harrods, and has small shareholdings in the luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co.

It is the latest takeover rumour for M&S, which is recovering from a difficult year that has included several boardroom shakeups.

Nick Bubb, a retail analyst, said: “M&S may have to say something, even if it is just to confirm that it has had no approaches. From a tactical perspective, we think that M&S is certainly vulnerable to a bid, as trading and profits are under pressure, with nothing to show yet for the big investments made in online systems and warehousing and the changes in the clothing team ahead of the key autumn season.”

The speculation stems from a Sunday Times report that the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund had approached several large private equity firms to gauge their interest and spoken to banks about financing an offer, citing senior City sources.

The shares rose throughout last week, and on Monday night closed up 6.9% at 398.1p, peaking at 407.1p in morning trading.

M&S could be attractive to the Qataris thanks to its £8bn property portfolio. It owns 65% of its stores. If the value is realised, a sale and leaseback programme could see any investor make a quick return, it was suggested.

However, many of the sites have been described as unattractive to landlords and the M&S pension fund holds £1.5bn of freeholds as part of a plan to reduce the pension deficit by £1bn in 2009.

Bubb added: “The question is what anybody thinks could be done with a declining brand like M&S.”

It is not the first time M&S has come under the scrutiny of a possible all-out takeover. Last summer, the US private equity group CVC Capital Partners was said to have eyed up a possible bid for the company, speaking to banks and investors to line up funding.

Some investors are beginning to lose faith in the ability of the chief executive, Marc Bolland, to revive the 128-year-old chain.

The retailer reported its first decline in profits for three years last May, followed by disastrous autumn sales due to stock problems and mismanagement. It led to the long-serving clothing supremo Kate Bostock leaving, and the former chief executive of Debenhams, Belinda Earl, coming in as a style director.

John Dixon, former head of food, has stepped in to become head of general merchandise, which includes its most important area: womenswear.

At its annual results, Bolland rowed back on a three-year plan to boost UK group sales by up to £2.5bn, and put the brakes on plans to open more stores.

Problems persisted and in January, David Cumming of Standard Life Investments, a top 10 shareholder in M&S, said Bolland had until September to turn around the company’s fortunes if he wanted to keep his job.

The last time M&S faced a possible takeover was in 2004, when Topshop owner Sir Philip Green made a second attempt to buy the business. However, it was thwarted by Sir Stuart Rose, who was brought in to steady the business and turn it around.

Germany’s Overhaul of Its Power System May Put It at the Vanguard of a Nascent Global Transformation

Category : Stocks, World News

The Country’s Aggressive Push Toward Renewable-Energy Sources, Distributed Generation, and Increased Energy Efficiency Bears Scrutiny, says The Boston Consulting Group

More here: Germany’s Overhaul of Its Power System May Put It at the Vanguard of a Nascent Global Transformation

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American and US Airways ‘to merge’

Category : Business

American Airlines and US Airways are planning to form one of the world’s biggest airlines, according to media and newswire sources.

Excerpt from: American and US Airways ‘to merge’

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Republic chain faces administration

Category : Business

Fears are growing for the future of the Leeds-based fashion chain Republic, which employs 1,000 staff, as sources say it is poised to enter administration.

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VIDEO: Japan’s Pacific rare earth survey

Category : Business, World News

Japan is ready to survey the ocean floor of the Pacific Ocean to find alternative sources of rare earth metals, to reduce reliance on supplies from China.

See the article here: VIDEO: Japan’s Pacific rare earth survey

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No easy answers for a Neiman Marcus IPO

Category : Stocks

The private equity owners of Neiman Marcus are looking for an exit, according to sources, just as the luxury retail market hits a bump.

Read more here: No easy answers for a Neiman Marcus IPO

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Philip Green ‘in Topshop talks’

Category : Business

Retail magnate Sir Philip Green is in talks to sell off part of his Top Shop chain to US investors, sources have said.

Follow this link: Philip Green ‘in Topshop talks’

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VIDEO: Gulf seeks aluminium profits

Category : Business, World News

Keen to find sources of revenue away from oil, the Gulf has significantly increased the number of aluminium smelters in recent years.

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OPPO Announces Two New Blu-ray Player Models

Category : Stocks, World News

BDP-103 and BDP-105 Provide High Definition Video and Audio From All Sources

See more here: OPPO Announces Two New Blu-ray Player Models

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Sharp faces ¥100 billion loss, eyes huge cuts

Category : World News

Sharp Corp. is expected to report a group net loss of around

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