What The Sunday Business Papers Said

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The Independent Online
Independent On Sunday: GANNETT, the US publisher, is leading the race to buy Regional Independent Newspapers, publisher of the Yorkshire Post, which is to be put up for sale next year by its venture capital backer, Candover. The company, bought out from United News & Media two years ago for pounds 360m, is valued at about pounds 500m.

Mark Goldberg, the tycoon who lost pounds 25m in his ill-fated purchase of Crystal Palace football club, must decide by 6 December whether to accept bankruptcy or face criminal proceedings.

Walter Merricks, the new financial ombudsman, will this week unveil plans to bring in legally binding, internal complaints procedures at all financial services companies.

Sunday Business: UNIONS REPRESENTING 19,000 workers at Ford, the car maker, are pushing for an 8 per cent pay increase but talks with management, which has offered 2 per cent, are deadlocked. The current pay accord ends on 24 November.

Shares in Microsoft, the world's biggest company, face a hammering today after a United States federal judge ruled that the software giant used its power to thwart innovation and stifle competition.

RMC, the ready-mixed concrete company, is this week expected to announce an agreed takeover of Rugby, the country's third-largest cement maker.

The Mail On Sunday: KNUTSFORD, the shell company taken over by Archie Norman, Asda chairman, and three associates last week, is drawing up a pounds 2bn bid for the Co-operative Wholesale Society. Preliminary approaches have been made.

The new share option scheme for entrepreneurs devised by Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, has run into opposition from his own advisers.

The Office of Fair Trading is considering an investigation into allegations that Boots, the high street chemist chain, stifled competition. The OFT is said to be concerned about "solus agreements" that guarantee that Boots is the only chemist given space in shopping complexes.

Sunday Times: BILL GATES's Microsoft empire may be broken up following a US court ruling that the software giant used its power to stifle competition and innovation.

White Horse Ferries, the transport company, has approached Nick Leslau, one of the four Knutsford entrepreneurs, to help it kickstart its Thames riverbus service.

The Sunday Telegraph: VODAFONE AIRTOUCH, the country's largest mobile communications group, is holding talks with France Telecom about a pounds 45bn hostile bid for Mannesmann, the Germany company which has agreed a pounds 19bn takeover of Orange, the British mobile phone company.

RMC, the aggregates producer, has been revealed as the mystery bidder for Rugby Group, the country's third-largest cement maker. A deal could be announced within days.

Twenty companies have expressed an interest in taking a stake in Formula One in the wake of Morgan Grenfell Private Equity's pounds 1.3bn deal to take up 50 per cent of the business.

Thames Water is considering an approach to RWE that could lead to the acquisitive German utility company launching a takeover of the British water group.

The Observer: LEADING CAR makers, including Rover, Ford and Vauxhall, are threatening to stop buying British components if Government plans for a pounds 1.75bn energy tax of companies are not altered.

Digital broadcasters will soon be able to tailor adverts to individual households with the launch of a revolutionary new set-top box.

Railtrack, the railways infrastructure company, faces fresh fines of up to pounds 50m if it fails to speed up investment in the country's rail network. The group already faces a possible pounds 40m penalty unless it reduces train delays.

Sunday Express: BILL GATES, the founder of Microsoft, may try to negotiate a settlement of the US anti-trust case, after a US judge found that the company had stifled competition and thwarted innovation.

Talks between Royal Bank of Scotland and BSCH, Spain's largest bank, are expected to result in a joint counterbid for NatWest early next month, valuing the business at pounds 26bn.

PowerGen, the utility company, is weighing up a pounds 3.5bn bid for Cinergy, the Ohio-based electricity group. Last year, the pair failed to agree on a merger.