Sunday Round-Up: The main stories from yesterday's City pages
Monday 21 March 1994
KPMG Peat Marwick, which is defending a pounds 60m claim for negligence from Eagle Trust, a former audit client almost bankrupted by fraud, has roped in nine former Eagle Trust directors as joint defendants. The case threatens to bankrupt some of the directors, who include non-executives.
Accountants who acted as receivers and administrators in recent years still face potentially huge claims from sacked workers in the aftermath of the Government's emergency reform of insolvency law. A ruling in the Paramount Airways case made administrators liable to pay the claims of employees kept on for more than 14 days after the appointment of administrators.
The Sunday Times
Government plans to invigorate Britain's small firms, the 'Business Angels' and the new Enterprise Investment Scheme, have been given the thumbs down by the investment community.
Barnes & Noble, the leading US cut-price book retailer, has approached the troubled Pentos Group, owners of Dillons, Hatchards, and Claude Gill, about a joint venture to build up a chain of book superstores in the UK.
Aviemore, the 105-acre Scottish ski resort, is set for flotation on the stock market. Desmond Bloom, chairman of Premier Land, is involved in negotations to inject the winter sports centre into a quoted company.
Greg Dyke, the out-going chief executive of London Weekend Television, will run the Pearson, MAI and Time Warner consortium bid for Channel 5 if the Independent Television Commission re- avertises the licence for Britain's fifth terrestrial television station.
The Sunday Telegraph
Fears of a further rise in US interest rates will worry world bond and equity markets. However, good inflation figures on Wednesday could ease pressure on interest rates.
Sir Peter Walters, the Saatchi & Saatchi director who is a former chairman of BP and Midland Bank, will play a decisive role in the power struggle between Charlie Scott, the advertising firm's chief executive, and Maurice Saatchi, its chairman.
Bondholders in Heron International, Gerald Ronson's troubled property group, are seeking the appointment of receivers. Heron last week said it wanted to defer interest payments on its bonds.
Tony O' Reilly's Independent Newspapers, the Irish company that has a near-30 per cent stake in Newspaper Publishing, owner of The Independent, is expected to accept the offer from the consortium led by Mirror Group Newspapers.
The consortium, which on Friday received the Department of Trade and Industry's go-ahead for its deal, have refused to offer Independent any seats on the new board.
Kleinwort Benson and BZW are believed to have teamed up in a bid to win the contract to handle the Government's pounds 5bn sale of its remaining shares in National Power and PowerGen.
The European Commission wants to remove the limits that prevent foreign shareholders owning more than 29.5 per cent of British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce.
British Gas may invest up to pounds 1bn buying a stake in Agip, the Italian oil and gas company that is set for privatisation.
Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Maurice Saatchi and chief executive Charlie Scott are heading for a showdown which could lead to the departure of Mr Scott from the struggling advertising group. There is speculation that the Saatchi chairman wants more charismatic leadership to take the business forward, rather than simply cut costs.
One of Britain's best known names in wallpaper, Vymura, is planning a pounds 40m flotation in May through Barclays de Zoete Wedd. Manchester-based Vymura was bought by its management in 1992 from Enichem Vinyls Corporation, a joint venture between Imperial Chemicals Industries and Enichem. Vymura said the float would facilitate expansion, and plans to spend pounds 5m on plant and raise exports.
Big property writedowns are expected to plunge Wembley, owner of the national stadium, into the red when it reports full-year figures next month. Concern is growing that the debt-laden leisure group will have to take a big hit on the value of its properties, which were last assessed in 1990 at pounds 286m.
Independent on Sunday
Philip Green, the colourful discount retailer and former chairman of Amber Day, has put in a surprise proposal to rescue the stricken Poundstretcher chain of shops. He has approached Brown & Jackson, the group that owns Poundstetcher, with a view to putting together a financial package for the struggling group. He is also talking to a major shareholder in Owen & Robinson, the jewellery and footwear group. Either company could become a vehicle for Mr Green to return to the stock market.
Nick Alexander has quit as chairman of Sega Europe, the troubled European arm of the giant Japanese computer game company. He will leave at the end of April to join 'a broadly based media group'. His departure seems likely to spark off a further bout of nervousness in the computer games industry, which is suffering from disappointing sales, overstocking by retailers and a retail price war.
Michael Jordan, senior insolvency partner with the accountants Coopers & Lybrand, has defended its decision to sell one of Britain's largest munitions manufacturers to British Aerospace for pounds 8m following claims from failed bidders that they were prepared to offer more. Mr Jordan defended the decision to sell BMARC, a former subsidiary of Astra, the collapsed defence company, in a letter to one of the bidders, Graham Rushworth. Mr Rushworth claims his consortium offered pounds 12.7m for the company and was prepared to increase the cash element of that bid to match BAe's.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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