The Quantum Fund, the main investment vehicle of George Soros, has accumulated a 3 per cent shareholding in Capital Corporation, the London casino operator attempting to fight off a pounds 178m takeover bid from London Clubs International. Most of the buying is thought to have taken place after London Clubs launched its bid and much of it would have been at prices significantly above the offer of 178p a share. Dealers believe there is a high possibility of a rival offer. Capital Corporation is this week expected to issue its formal defence document.
Bernie Ecclestone, head of Formula One, the motor racing group, is reported as being unsure that he wants to proceed with the flotation of his company. If the price is right - more than pounds 2bn - then he might want to go ahead but equally there might be merit in waiting for the revenue stream from pay-television to come through, he is reported as saying.
Migros, the Swiss retailing and manufacturing conglomerate is planning to enter the British market with a series of own-label products to offer supermarket groups. With 24 per cent of the domestic Swiss food market, Migros has already penetrated the French and Dutch markets as own-label suppliers to grocery retailers. Migros plans to target the main UK supermarkets to offer them supplies in 50 core lines, including bakery products, savoury snacks, washing powder, pasta and mineral water.
Wates Leisure is to expand its health and leisure clubs to the tune of pounds 30m. The UK health and fitness club operator owns eight Pinnacle clubs in the south of England, with operating profits of pounds 2.1m. Funds of pounds 30m will be provided by a syndicate led by Phoenix Fund Managers, so Wates can develop additional clubs and complete developments in Bromley, Newbury and Surbiton.
Britain's relative economic decline has slowed, according to a report from the Social Market Foundation. Author Nick Crafts writes: "Despite continuing worries about innovation and skills, improved industrial relations, a better quality of investment and trends in productivity growth suggest that there may have been a relative improvement sufficient to prevent further economic decline relative to Europe." The report blames weak productivity performance, and a weak capacity for innovation and for making effective use of technological change for Britain's relative economic decline in the post-war years. It says that economic reforms pursued since 1979 have had some pay-off in terms of growth, but that they have also increased income inequality. ('Britain's Relative Economic Decline 1870-1995'. The Social Market Foundation, 21 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1)Reuse content