What The Papers Said: A round-up of Sunday business stories

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Wal-Mart's bid for Asda is running into concerted opposition from lobby groups concerned it will get around planning restrictions for out-of-town superstores.

Punch Taverns will launch a bid of pounds 2.7bn for Allied Domecq's 3,600 pubs this week in an attempt to wrest control of the estate from the clutches of Whitbread.

Edward Roderick, chief executive of Christian Salvesen, has discussed a management buyout of the transport and logistics company with US private equity specialists.

Air Liquide of France is in talks with BOC which could lead to a pounds 7bn bid for the British group, creating the world's largest industrial gases group.

Punch Taverns and Bass will this week launch a joint pounds 2.7bn cash offer for Allied Domecq's pubs division in an effort to dash the earlier rival bid from Whitbread.

Britain's balance of payments plunged heavily into the red in the first three months of the year as the strong pound sucked in a rising tide of imports.

Wal-Mart, the American supermarket giant, is planning an aggressive campaign to push its annual sales throughout Europe to pounds 40bn within six years.

Punch Taverns will table a formal pounds 2.7bn bid for Allied Domecq's 3,600 pubs this week.

Bank of Ireland faces a bitter boardroom rift in the wake of its collapsed pounds 12bn merger with Alliance & Leicester.

BOC is seeking a merger with French rival Air Liquide to create the world's largest industrial gases firm, with a market value of pounds 14bn.

BMW, the German car company, is to unveiled plans on Wednesday to invest pounds 2.3bn at its car factory in Longbridge to rebuilt the plant.

House of Fraser is close to clinching a pounds 50m deal with the Duke of Westminster to open the first department store in the City of London, stealing a march on its rivals Harvey Nichols and John Lewis.

t BOC, the industrial gases group, has scrapped plans for an alliance with the US group Praxair and is ready to consider a near-pounds 14bn mega- merger with France's Air Liquide.

t Up to 55,000 staff at Asda will be in line of windfalls of at least pounds 650 each following Wal-Mart's pounds 6.7bn takeover of the group.

The Post Office is to take a stake of up to 20 per cent in a reconstituted Camelot consortium, a move likely to ensure the national lottery operator wins its battle to retain the franchise for a further seven years.

Sir Graeme Hearne, chairman of Enterprise Oil, will this week be named as chairman of Caradon, the heating and plumbing supplies group.

Wal-Mart has also been looking at struggling furniture chain MFI, according to property industry sources.

NatWest Bank has been asked by the Office of Fair Trading to justify the penalties it imposes on borrowers who break fixed-term mortgages. Some customers have been charged tens of thousands of pounds.

Senior executives at Smith-Kline Beecham are expected to visit the UK headquarters of Swiss drugs rival Novartis this week, fuelling expectations of a major deal or joint venture.

National Power is looking to the US for a new chief executive - and offering a package rumoured to be worth pounds 900,000. The company is looking to restore investor confidence after a 21 per cent fall in profits and the departure of Keith Henry.

Asda is planning to put fast food restaurants in half of its 229 stores following this week's pounds 6.7bn agreed bid from the American retail giant Wal-Mart.

Privately-owned pub group Punch Taverns will this week launch the UK's biggest private equity-funded deal by bidding up to pounds 3bn in cash for Allied Domecq's 3,600 pubs.