What The Sunday Business Papers Said

THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, will this week award bonuses worth more than pounds 100m to the cream of its 2,500 London-based staff. The bulk of the rewards will go to the corporate finance teams, who have advised on deals worth a record $1 trillion this year.

In a joint report this week, the National Audit Office and Audit Commission will severely criticise the country's consumer protection watchdogs. It is the first wholesale review of the system in 30 years.

Property developer Chesfield is expected to make a multi-million-pound claim against Hammersmith & Fulham council if environmentalists scupper its plan to redevelop White City.

Lord Wolfson of Sunningdale, the chairman of GUS, is to come under increased pressure to spin off the mail-order group's credit-rating business, Experian, in the coming months.

SUNDAY BUSINESS

The Government is considering delaying the pounds 3bn spring auction of mobile phone licences for up to six months to prevent the sale being disrupted by Vodafone AirTouch's bid for Mannesmann.

Lasmo, the oil group, is preparing a worldwide restructuring of its operations, including the sale of its interests in Azerbaijan to Shell.

Virgin, which launched its Virgin Mobile UK telecommunications arm less than a month ago, is to move into the Australian market through Optus, a subsidiary of Cable & Wireless.

The Sunday Telegraph

A fresh round of boardroom dissension is developing at Marks & Spencer over the selection of its new chairman. A split has emerged between Peter Salsbury, chief executive, and the non-executive directors tasked with finding a replacement for Brian Baldock, the current non-executive chairman.

Sir David Rowland, the NatWest chairman, is considering a worldwide search for a new chief executive to help the clearing bank remain independent. The successful candidate could be awarded a salary of up to pounds 5m.

Moves are planned by Granada to establish whether it would be able, on competition grounds, to merge its rental arm with Radio Rentals, the former Thorn business owned by Nomura.

THE SUNDAY TIMES

Lloyds TSB is seeking an agreed pounds 70bn merger with Abbey National. The two parties have held talks but Ian Harley, chief executive at the former building society, has not agreed a deal.

British Telecommunications is competing with rival Energis to partner Virgin in any bid for the National Lottery licence. Virgin chief Richard Branson will announce in the next 10 days whether he will go ahead.

The euro could fall to 90 cents, currency analysts said, after the European Central Bank declined to prevent its drop below dollar parity last week.

The Observer

Institutional investors in Hyder would sell out to a bidder rather than back a pounds 500m rights issue from the multi-utility set to be unveiled this week.

Bank of Scotland has softened its attack on NatWest management, saying Richard Delbridge, NatWest finance director, could stay on if it wins the battle to take over the high street bank.

Richard Branson could sell up to 40 per cent of Virgin Atlantic and bring the carrier into a global aviation alliance. A deal is expected by March.

SUNDAY EXPRESS

Police in Monaco investigating billionaire banker Edmond Safra's killing are trying to establish why his bodyguard was missing at the time of the attack.

More than 1,500 Wall Street consultants are set to receive bonuses of more than $1m, according to benefit consultants.

The Mail On Sunday

Bill Gates, head of Microsoft, has formed a joint venture with Ann Winblad, a former companion. Their business link-up may include an Internet site devoted to marriage.

BSkyB will this week announce a pounds 650m deal to take a 24.9 per cent stake in Kirch, the German group that runs Premiere, the digital TV platform.

Talks are close to completion between English, Welsh & Scottish, a rail-freight operator, and the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority over the re-opening of a cross-Scotland link.

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