News

Strong demand for Costa coffee and a solid performance by budget Premier Inns saw a sharp rise in third-quarter sales at Whitbread, leaving it confident it will meet targets for the year

Old vase is £1m Ming

An old vase taken to a Dorset auctioneers in a cardboard box has turned out to be a Ming dynasty porcelain moon flask worth £1m.

Cadbury deal turns sour for Green & Black's

When Craig Sams sold his organic chocolate company Green & Black's to Cadbury for £20m in 2005, he was anxious to emphasise that his ultra-ethical brand was in good hands.

Smith & Nephew prepares defence against US bidder

The US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will face a battle if it launches a renewed bid for the joint-replacement specialist Smith & Nephew (S&N) that could value the company at £7bn. On Friday, S&N's share price closed at 685p, valuing the company at just over £6bn, but had hit 735p as speculation about an offer mounted.

Advertising Eden: Triumphant start for Adam & Eve

The founding directors of Adam & Eve may have paid £1m to Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP to break their contract and go it alone, but it was worth every penny.

Knighted – for services to high gas prices and Cadbury's demise?

Roger Carr, the tycoon who saw through the sale of the 200-year-old British company Cadbury to the US multinational Kraft in February, has been knighted for services to industry in today's New Year Honours list.

Margareta Pagano: From Cadbury to Cablegate, and beyond ...

Takeover fever marked 2010, but moves are afoot that could make it tougher for such bids to succeed

Margareta Pagano: Fairness is the only way to reform our tax

Something is deeply disturbing about a government which steam-rollers controversial changes to higher education funding through yet shows no inclination to reform regulations which allow British companies to avoid millions in tax.

Natalie Haynes: Birmingham: more gastric band than Bull Ring

This week saw the release of figures from the Public Health Observatories which concluded that Birmingham is the fattest city in Europe. Some 29 per cent of adults in the city are obese, which is more than twice the European average. And the prospects don't look good for the next generation either: 25 per cent of 11- and 12-year-olds in the city are obese too.

Foreign firms prepare to swoop on British targets

Foreign companies have stepped up their interest in acquisition targets in the UK despite an official review of takeover policy following the controversial purchase of Cadbury by America's Kraft earlier this year.

The Cinematic Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London

It's been three years since The Cinematic Orchestra (TCO) last performed at the Royal Albert Hall. Then, a live album followed the adventurous electronic jazz outfit's acclaimed performance. Returning to celebrate the 20th birthday of their label, Ninja Tune, they again offered a transcendental soundtrack to imaginary movies that existed exclusively on wobbly reels in their fans' minds.

David Prosser: Canada embraces protectionism

Outlook If only Britain had more Canadian instincts. That presumably is the feeling in Bournville – six months after Cadbury was sold to Kraft, despite a vociferous campaign to keep it British, people will have noticed that the Anglo-Australian mining company, BHP Billiton, has just been told it will not be allowed to buy Potash, the giant Canadian fertiliser business.

Cable set to tighten up foreign acquisitions

A radical shake-up of Britain's takeover laws has been signalled by the Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable.

Business Diary: Caan safe in his non-dom Den

James Caan, for one, is pleased with the Chancellor's spending review. "Nobody likes to see spending cuts but the Government has to make savings, just as every businessman has to," the Dragon's Den tycoon says. Still, might the cuts have been lower, were it not for wealthy businessmen choosing to become non-doms, depriving the UK of tax revenues? What does co-Dragon Duncan Bannatyne think about Caan's non-dom status now, we wonder?

Takeover Panel plans to make hostile bids more difficult

Changes to Takeover Panel rules are set to make hostile bids more difficult in the wake of Kraft's controversial £11.6bn buyout of Cadbury. The panel's updated code aims to redress imbalances giving hostile bidders a "tactical advantage" and making it too easy for hostile bids to succeed, the City regulator said yesterday.

Proposed changes to make hostile takeovers more difficult

A raft of changes to UK takeover rules was put forward today as part of a so-called "Cadbury Law" after the chocolate firm's controversial takeover by US giant Kraft.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'