What The Sunday Business Papers Said

Granada will this week call on the Office of Fair Trading to refer Carlton Communications' pounds 8bn merger with United News & Media, claiming the move threatens to create a north-south divide in ITV.

Marks & Spencer is finalising the replacement of its acting chairman, Brian Baldock, with Luc Vandevelde, managing director of Promodes, a French retailer.

BP Amoco, the UK's largest company, has proposed that the Government should allow multinational companies to scrap conventional annual general meetings.

The 300 staff of Jupiter, the Knightsbridge-based fund manager, are to receive windfalls totalling pounds 500m in the next few days.

The Department of Trade and Industry is hoping to recruit a high-flying business person to mastermind the Government's industrial policy.

British Energy, the nuclear power group, is preparing a $1bn bid for Canada's largest nuclear power station, the Bruce plant on Lake Ontario.

Bank of Scotland is in talks to sell its majority stake in BankWest, the Australian regional bank, to help pay for its pounds 25bn hostile bid for NatWest.

Upstarts, a tiny UK toy company, has forced its way on to the best-seller lists this Christmas ahead of Hasbro and Mattel with its board game version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, the television game show.

David and Frederick Barclay, owners of the Ritz and a string of newspaper titles, are poised to float The Net Media Group, their new Internet business, in the second half of next year.

Energis has beaten BT to become the telecoms partner in the People's Lottery, Richard Branson's bid to take over the National Lottery when Camelot's contract expires in 2001

Car makers such as Ford and Vauxhall could face losses of more than pounds 1bn if they are forced to cut prices in the UK to levels in mainland Europe.

A profit warning is expected when Marks & Spencer makes its Christmas trading statement in January. Pre-Christmas sales are believed to have fallen by 15 per cent compared with last year.

Instinet, the electronic stockbroking arm of Reuters, the information company, is likely to float on Nasdaq next year in a move that could value it at pounds 3.5bn.

David Irwin, director of Project North East, has been appointed the first chief executive of the Government's Small Business Service.

Versailles, the embattled financial services group, has hired KPMG, one of the world's biggest accountancy firms, to complete the investigation into its accounts.

The four home nations' rugby unions plan to securitise the game's television, sponsorship and advertising revenues from international games in a move to overhaul the sport's parlous finances.

John Bridgeman, director-general of the Office of Fair Trading, is facing the axe after a series of clashes with ministers over competition policy.

Royal Bank of Scotland is this week expected to reopen talks with NatWest aimed at producing a recommended merger.

Ernst & Young, the UK accounting and consultancy group, is to pay $335m to the investors of the US's Cedant Corporation to settle the world's biggest shareholder class action.

British Airways will announce plans in the New Year to axe 8,000 jobs and shake up its European operations in a bid to return to profit.

UK takeover activity has broken all records in 1999. The total value of bids announced so far is pounds 168bn.

Selfridges, the 90-year-old department store, is planning to open a further four outlets across the UK.

British Energy, the nuclear power generator, is preparing its largest acquisition, with a bid for two Canadian plants totalling up to $1bn.

MTL, the train company that owns the picturesque Settle to Carlisle line, the trans-Pennine route and Liverpool commuter services, is in urgent talks with bankers and "white knights" to avoid a potential financial crisis.

Joanna Lumley, star of Absolutely Fabulous, and John Altman of EastEnders fame are helping launch a Net company that finds locations and actors for film directors and ad agencies.

Shifts in the UK economy, such as technological advances and competition, could mean that interest rates stay lower than forecasters predict, according to DeAnne Julius of the Monetary Policy Committee.

House prices are in danger of rising so high next year that the Government may be forced into tough action to prevent a repeat of the 1980s bubble.

Customers of the Internet bank Egg saw their savings disappear into cyberspace when they attempted to transfer them to another bank offering a better rate of interest.

A study by the Halifax Bank reveals that nearly all home owners do well out of their investment, beating inflation by a considerable margin.

Queensborough, the caravan parks to hotels group, is suing two companies for alleged "deceit and negligent misrepresentation" over the collapse of its pounds 10m purchase of the Deep Pan Pizza chain.