What The Sunday Business Papers Said
Monday 29 November 1999
Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising group, is being stalked for a buyout by two US predators, True North and Grey, as consolidation continues to sweep the advertising industry. Saatchi, whose shares have tripled during the past year, could be valued at more than pounds 750m.
Institutional shareholders in Tomkins, the guns to buns conglomerate, are understood to have lost confidence in chairman Greg Hutchings as a result of the slow pace of his shake-up of the company and his involvement with Lord Archer's terminated campaign to be Mayor of London.
Sunday Business City institutions are planning to boycott the pounds 12bn privatisation of London underground if Ken Livingstone, the Labour MP, is elected mayor of the capital. Banks allied with the five short-listed consortia have warned they will not lend the billions of pounds necessary to pay for the upgrade of the Tube if Mr Livingstone, who is anti-privatisation, is elected.
Britain's poorest regions could lose some of their structural aid funding due to the slumping value of the euro. The EU grant agreed at the Berlin summit is worth 15.7bn euros, although because of the euro's fall on foreign exchange markets, the value in sterling has fallen by pounds 500m to about pounds 9.5bn.
The Sunday Telegraph Therapeutics, the biotech company that cloned Dolly the sheep, is understood to be planning the dismissal of Ron James, its chief executive. He led the group's flotation in 1996, but since, the group's shares have fallen from 450p to 54p last week.
Littlewood is to widen the scope of its indexshop.com online venture through an alliance with Granada Group, the media and hospitality conglomerate. Granada will install Internet kiosks in its motorway service stations and Travelodge hotels as well as put interactive TV's in hotel rooms.
Sun Life & Provincial Holdings has placed its 49 per cent stake in PPP Columbia, a hospitals provider, up for sale after deciding the venture did not form part of its core operations. It is understood the insurer seeks around pounds 70m for its stake.
The Sunday Times Open, the interactive television service linked with Sky Digital, is planning to give away keyboards so that users would be able to shop, send e-mails and do banking over their television. The keyboard sells for pounds 35, even though set-top boxes are free.
British Telecoms is under scrutiny from Oftel, the telecoms regulator, over charges that it has been using anti-competitive tactics to retain and win back customers. The phone giant has until Wednesday to comply with Oftel provisional orders after NextCall and LocalTel accused BT of breaching several conditions of the Calls & Access contract as well as provisions of the Telecommunications Act.
The Observer Ann Summers is to open a chain of stores in Saudi Arabia. The move is part of an expansion plan to turn the group into a global player in the erotica industry.
Sunday Express Sheffield's struggling football teams have held informal talks about a merger, instigated by CCF Charterhouse Bank. Charterhouse has a 36 per cent interest in Wednesday and is anxious to crystallise its pounds 18m investment through a deal with United, although fans of both clubs say they would rather see both teams collapse than get together.
The Mail on Sunday Taylor Woodrow is believed to be preparing a pounds 275m bid for McAlpine, a rival construction group. Beazer Group is also thought to be considering an offer for McAlpine.
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