What The Sunday Business Papers Said

THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY The Royal Bank of Scotland is taking legal advice on whether Barclays can be ejected from the Link cash machine network. The move follows Barclays' announcement that it will charge customers of other banks pounds 1 every time they use Barclays' cash dispensers.

Customers of Liffe have spurned the futures exchange's new electronic system and are persevering with the traditional open outcry method of trading. Users of the exchange say that Connect has only managed to capture about a quarter of the key short sterling market.

Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, is about to sign the biggest letting deal in the City this year. The bank is pre-letting a 400,000 square foot building just behind Fleet Street. It will give Goldmans the biggest presence of any overseas investment bank in London, with more than 1.5 million square feet.

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH Philip Morris, the US food and tobacco giant that makes Marlboro cigarettes and brews Miller beer, is considering the sale of its Jacobs Suchard confectionery business for up to $10bn, a move that would trigger a wave of consolidation in the industry.

Richard Branson's Virgin Group is preparing to sell a 50 per cent stake in its cinema business to fund international expansion and the construction of some of the world's largest multiplex screen centres.Virgin has hired Deutsche Bank to find a co-investor, who would be prepared to put in up to pounds 100m.

The European competition authorities are investigating BSkyB's pounds 13.8m investment in Leeds Sporting, the company that owns Leeds United, amid concerns that the satellite broadcaster may be abusing its position in the UK market for television sports rights.

SUNDAY BUSINESS Tesco and Virgin will this week launch a full-scale retailing revolution by unveiling rival plans to invade a range of areas from books to consumer durables. Tesco will launch an online operation selling books, CDs and videos. Virgin will offer consumers direct Net access to a worldwide network of wholesalers and manufacturers.

Chevron, the American oil giant, is understood to be in talks to buy Phillips Petroleum, its smaller rival, for about pounds 10bn.

British Energy, the privatised nuclear generator, is believed to be considering a pounds 1.5bn bid for Mid-American Energy, the utility that owns Britain's Northern Electric.

A confidential report from the US Drug Enforcement Administration into Michael Ashcroft, the Tory treasurer, reveals Mr Ashroft was investigated simply because he was "acquiring significant assets in Belize".

British Aerospace is this week expected to outline plans to create the second-largest missiles group in the world, by linking with French and Italian companies to create a group with sales of about pounds 2bn.

A fierce lobbying campaign is being mounted by BAA to head off a competition review that could see it forced to dispose of Gatwick airport.

THE OBSERVER Sales of Marks & Spencer's clothing have suffered a collapse this month, despite the launch of the chain's heavily promoted autumn range, with like-for- like sales down by 20 per cent compared with last year.

Barclays Bank is set to collect up to pounds 100m a year from its new pounds 1 charge on cash-machine withdrawals by customers of other banks and building societies. The controversial charge is set to be introduced next month.

Retailers appear to have won a battle to have credit card operators investigated for excessive charges that add millions to the nation's shopping bill.

THE MAIL ON SUNDAY Don Cruickshank, heading the government review of the banking industry, is poised to ask regulators to launch an inquiry into the charges that firms such as American Express and Visa make to retailers that allow credit card payments.

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