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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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