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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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Betfair rejects takeover approach

Category : World News

Online betting exchange Betfair rejects a £912m takeover approach from CVC Capital Partners and other investors.

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Coffee rush fuels $10 billion takeover

Category : Stocks

The investment arm of Germany’s Reimann family has swallowed its third coffee takeover in less than a year, agreeing to pay almost $10 billion for the owner of the Douwe Egberts brand.

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Fans set for Portsmouth takeover

Category : Business

A supporters’ group takeover of Portsmouth is given the go-ahead after a High Court hearing.

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Bid for Douwe Egberts coffee company

Category : Business, World News

The Dutch maker of Douwe Egberts coffee, DE Master Blenders, agrees a 7.5bn-euro takeover offer from a German private consortium.

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Billabong in fresh takeover talks

Category : Business, World News

Australian surfwear firm Billabong is to start talks over a possible takeover by a consortium led by its former US boss Paul Naude.

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US tycoon Haskell keen on Coventry

Category : Business, World News

Struggling Coventry City are lined up for a takeover bid from American tycoon Preston Haskell IV.

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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.

Investors love their BlackBerry (stock)

Category : Business

Shares of BlackBerry rallied nearly 11% ahead of the Z10′s U.S. debut, and as takeover talk swirled.

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Ryanair takes offer for Aer Lingus to court

Category : Business

Airline takes action after rejection by European officials of its third takeover bid

Ryanair is taking to court its battle to acquire rival Aer Lingus following the rejection of its third takeover bid by European officials. The airline accused the European commission of acting unfairly and failing to apply its own competition rules and precedents to the latest takeover plan.

“We regret that this prohibition is manifestly motivated by narrow political interests rather than competition concerns and we believe that we have strong grounds for appealing and overturning this politically inspired prohibition,” said a Ryanair spokesman. “Accordingly, Ryanair has instructed its legal advisers to prepare a comprehensive appeal against this manifestly unjust prohibition.”

The airline said the bid rejected on Wednesday by the EU, was supported by an unprecedented remedies package. The “radical” bid included two buyers – British Airways and Flybe – agreeing to take over about half of Aer Lingus’s short-haul business.

The takeover plan had been boosted this month when Flybe agreed to fly 43 of Aer Lingus’s short-haul routes, easing competition concerns. There had also been a commitment from International Airlines Group – owner of BA and Iberia – to run overlapping Aer Lingus/Ryanair routes between Dublin and London Gatwick to ensure competition.

Ryanair said the decision to block its latest bid was a political one to protect the interests of the Irish government, which holds a 25% stake in Aer Lingus. The airline submitted its final package of takeover plans and commitments this month following a series of meetings with EU chiefs. It said the package addressed the shortcomings in its two failed bids in 2007 and 2012.

FBI to investigate Heinz trades

Category : World News

The Federal Bureau of Investigation joins an investigation into suspicious share trading ahead of the Heinz takeover deal last week.

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