Sunday Round-up: The main stories from yesterday's City pages

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The Independent Online
Independent on Sunday

The race to save Wembley, the struggling leisure company that owns and operates Britian's largest sporting venue, is intensifying as two rival teams vie to raise more than pounds 60m each from the City. Allied Entertainments, headed by the music promoter Harvey Goldsmith, is ranged against a group led by Luke Johnson and Hugh Osmond, the City entrepreneurs behind the Pizza Express and My Kinda Town restaurant groups.

A vicious price war has erupted in the bottled gas sector, threatening to undermine Calor Group, the quoted industry leader with a market share of more than 50 per cent. In some areas 47-kg bottles of gas are being sold for pounds 17, compared with Calor's price of pounds 38. The main price-cutter is Esso Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of the petrol company, which is seeking to widen its 3-6 per cent share of the market.

Sunday Telegraph

John Beckwith, the property developer and founder of London & Edinburgh Trust, is in talks to buy a large minority stake in River & Mercantile Investment Management, the fund management arm of River & Mercantile investment trust.

BZW Investment Management will this week launch a pounds 100m fund to invest in commodities.

Mail on Sunday

A disqualified solicitor, Sam Klibansky, carried on his business of offering bankruptcy advice to the public while serving a four-and-a-half-month jail sentence for fraud last year at Ford Open Prison. The courts have now barred Klibanksy from inspecting people's insolvency records, but he claimed that in jail he received up to 100 letters a week for his business and sent replies quoting his address and prison number.

British Sky Broadcasting's domination of cable and satellite TV is to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading. The inquiry could eventually lead to a Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigation. The OFT's director-general, Sir Bryan Carsberg, has written to nine of the leading cable TV companies, asking if they have had 'any alleged difficulties with the supply of programming'.


BSkyB is in talks with the Denver-based cable company Telecommunications Inc over the possibility of TCI taking a stake in the company. A link up would rock the media world, since it would bring together two of the biggest global players. TCI, controlled by John Malone, has already turned down the offer of a 20 per cent stake in BSkyB, which would have valued the company at around pounds 4.6bn.

Britain's sub-postmasters and mistresses have overwhelmingly rejected the Government's controversial plans to privatise the Post Office. A nationwide poll of 500 sub-offices by Mori shows that 80 per cent of post office owners oppose the planned break-up and instead want the Government to give the PO more freedom to act commercially.

The long, hot summer has come to the rescue for retailers of lightweight clothing, camping equipment, publicans and the leading chains of air-conditioned supermarkets. These are selling more drinks, as well as fresh foods and ice-cream, which carry better margins than ordinary groceries. The losers are discounters such as Kwik Save and its foreign competitors Aldi and Netto.

Building societies are planning to give customers bonuses, discounts off their mortgages and even dividends in an attempt to keep their loyalty as banks eye the societies for potential bid targets.

Sunday Times

Peter Davis, who resigned as chairman of the Anglo-Dutch publishing group Reed Elsevier, will receive a compensation package of pounds 2m. The sum includes share options and a pension contribution.

The Treasury will review the structure of excise duties on alcohol after pressure from brewers and distillers suffering from the rise in personal imports of drink from the Continent.

Pillar, the recently floated property company, may buy and then demolish the Mermaid Theatre in London.