News

Unilever has announced plans to ditch PricewaterhouseCoopers after 27 years and is set to move its  £18 million a year audit to rival KPMG.

Airtours casts gloom over market

A GLOOMY assessment from Airtours of the late summer holidays market sent travel shares into a tailspin yesterday.

Outlook: Merger reform

STEPHEN BYERS has decided to take the politics out of takeover decisions, except, er, in those cases where he choses to put them back in.

Right of Reply: Elaine Noble

The acting chief executive of the English Tourism Council criticises our leader on holidaying in Britain

Blow to Whitbread as DTI refers Allied bid

WHITBREAD'S pounds 2.8BN bid for Allied Domecq's pub estate suffered a potentially fatal setback yesterday when the Department of Trade and Industry referred the deal to the Competition Commission.

Outlook: Byers delivers the knock-out Punch

WAS IT "the position", or their own positions Allied Domecq directors were considering last night as the cosy, arranged marriage they had been trying to stitch together for their 3,600 pubs with Whitbread's David Thomas finally and spectacularly collapsed?

Airtours upbeat as Kuoni's bid for First Choice fails

FIRST CHOICE'S hopes of merging with Kuoni, the Swiss tour operator, were dashed yesterday when the group failed to win enough shareholder support for the deal.

Kuoni bid for First Choice backed by Cook

THE PROPOSED takeover of First Choice Holidays by the Swiss group Kuoni received an 11th-hour fillip yesterday when the second-largest shareholder pledged its support for Kuoni.

Kuoni bid for First Choice backed by Thomas Cook

THE PROPOSED takeover of First Choice Holidays by the Swiss group Kuoni received an 11th-hour fillip yesterday when the second largest shareholder pledged its support for Kuoni.

Network: Nominet set to de-mutualise

Members of the cyberspace version of Companies House would like to cash in. By Andrew Mullins

French beat British Energy again with pounds 160m Sweb deal

THE STATE-OWNED power group Electricite de France yesterday pipped British Energy to the post again by agreeing to pay pounds 160m for the supply business of Sweb, the regional electricity company for south-west England.

Outlook: Wonderland logic

THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry was in some difficulty yesterday attempting to explain the inexplicable - why it rejected the chance, offered by Karel van Miert, the EU Competition Commissioner, to claim back jurisdiction over Airtours' bid for First Choice and pack it off to the Competition Commission, where it belongs.

Airtours' shares soar as bid escapes referral back to UK

THE pounds 852m hostile bid for First Choice by rival holiday firm Airtours will not be referred to the UK competition authorities, the Government said yesterday.

Thomson cuts First Choice sales in holiday bid battle

THOMSON TRAVEL has pledged to hit back at Airtours' pounds 800m hostile bid for First Choice with a fresh plan to increase its distribution capacity by 50 per cent while dramatically cutting the number of First Choice Holidays it sells through its Lunn Poly travel agencies.

Chevron in merger talks with Texaco

CHEVRON, the US oil company, is in talks with its US rival Texaco with a view to creating the world's third largest oil giant, valued at more than $100bn (pounds 60bn).

Airtours launches pounds 852m hostile bid for First Choice

AIRTOURS YESTERDAY launched an pounds 852m hostile bid for First Choice Holidays in a move which would create Britain's leading holiday company and potentially trigger an all-out bid battle in Britain's cut-throat travel industry.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable