What The Sunday Business Papers Said

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The Independent Online
Indpendent On Sunday Tony Blair has asked the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, to tone down his anti-Vodafone rhetoric in an attempt to diffuse the growing political row over the UK company's pounds 77bn bid for Mannesmann.

Electricite de France (EdF), the state-owned French power giant, has ruled itself out of bidding for the UK's National Power because of the intensifying row over the liberalisation of the French electricity market.

Sandline International, the mercenary company which was investigated by a parliamentary commission and a select committee over its involvement in the war in Sierra Leone, has admitted it lost money on its deal with the disposed president, Ahmad Tejan Kebbah.

The Sunday Times Plans by Mannesmann to demerge its engineering and motor component operations are to be accelerated as part of the company's defence against Vodafone's hostile bid.

Ffion Jenkins, the wife of William Hague, the Conservative Party's leader, is leaving her job as policy and planning director at Arts & Business to become a headhunter at Leonard Hull International.

The largest demerger in British corporate history is likely to take place next year when BG, part of the former British Gas, splits into two new companies.

Lafarge, the French building materials giant, is plotting a pounds 3bn bid for Blue Circle, the troubled UK cement maker.

Sunay Business Chris Gent, Vodafone AirTouch's chief executive, has launched an attack on Klaus Esser, the chairman of Mannesmann, accusing him of personally blocking a merger between the two firms.

Railtrack is facing a fresh fight with the regulator Tom Winsor after he disclosed plans to rewrite key sections of the licence under which it operates.

British Airways bosses have warned staff that "several hundred millions of pounds" of cost-cuts are needed for the airline to make a profit next year.

The Sunday Telegraph Whitbread, the brewing and leisure group, is preparing a pounds 550m knockout bid for Swallow, the four-star hotels chain that has been involved in on-off merger talks with Greenalls since the summer.

The Bank of England is poised to announce a settlement of the damaging row in its Monetary Policy Committee over research resources by granting dedicated research staff for independent MPC members.

Virgin is in talks with AWI and Essnet, two of the world's best-known lottery systems providers, to help in its bid to take over the National Lottery.

The Observer Mannesmann has considered combining its mobile phone activities with those of France's Vivendi to defeat the surprise hostile bid from Vodafone.

Barclays, Citibank and ABN Amro are considering legal action against UBS and BNP, the biggest banks in Switzerland and France, to recover huge losses from an alleged pounds 300m fraud by a fugitive Indian metals trader.

The Mail On Sunday Royal Bank of Scotland may pull back from making a hostile pounds 26bn takeover bid for NatWest after a boardroom split. Lord Youger, the RBS chairman and Sir Iain Vallance, joint vice-chairman, are said to be opposed to a bid if NatWest rejected friendly overtures.

Sunday Express Chris Gent, the chief executive of Vodafone, is to seek the support of Li Ka-Shing, the head of Hutchison Whampoa, in his pounds 79bn bid for Mannesmann.

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