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.

A Weekly Digest of The World's Financial Press: The Economist

On the proposed merger between Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia

700 jobs to go at East Midlands

POWERGEN yesterday said 700 jobs were to be cut over the next two years at East Midlands Electricity under its restructuring plans for the regional supplier.

GOING DOWN: Smiths Industries

SHARES of Smiths Industries fell 15 per cent, on disappointment that first-half profit growth came only from its aerospace business. This grew by 42 per cent, but the other two businesses, which produce ventilation and other industrial equipment and hospital supplies, saw little growth.

US may ease merger rules

THE UNITED STATES will consider raising the thresholds for mergers that must be notified to its competition authorities, easing the way for takeover activity.

Byers to take politics out of merger decisions

SWEEPING PLANS to take the politics out of merger decisions by allowing independent competition authorities to rule on whether takeover bids should be blocked or allowed through were unveiled yesterday by the Government.

Football: League snubs fans' plea

THE PREMIER League has rejected calls from fans' groups to oppose BSkyB's proposed pounds 623.4m takeover of Manchester United. The Football Supporters' Association and the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association want the League to back their fight against the satellite broadcaster.

UK claws back electricity deal

THE pounds 1.9bn takeover of London Electricity by the state-owned group Electricite de France ran into trouble yesterday after the Government asked Brussels to hand back responsibility for investigating the deal to the UK competition authorities.

Outlook: London Electric

LONDON ELECTRICITY is about to swop one foreign owner, Entergy of Louisiana, for another, Electricite de France - or at least that is what EdF hopes, for EdF is a foreign bidder with a difference. It is owned by the French state. Under the previous Government, any such takeover would have fallen foul of the "Lilley doctrine" - named after Peter Lilley, the former Trade and Industry Secretary. This dictated that no privately owned British company could be bought by a state owned foreign one, since it would amount to a back door nationalisation, and one by an overseas country to boot.

United fans want EU to block Sky takeover

KAREL VAN MIERT, the European Competition Commissioner, has incurred the wrath of British Sky Broadcasting after weighing into the debate over the television group's takeover of Manchester United.

Football: Clubs to hold Murdoch talks

THE PREMIER League is arranging a meeting of all of its clubs - with the exception of Manchester United - to look into the implications of Rupert Murdoch's takeover bid at Old Trafford.

Podium: Nobody wants to buy British TV

A short extract from the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, given in Edinburgh

Oftel losing the 'David and Goliath' battle

UNDERFUNDING and poor training have left telephone regulator Oftel unable to protect customers in its "David and Goliath" battle with the big telecommunications firms, MPs warned today.

Outlook: At war over street furniture

FROM this side of the fence, it looks like the Napoleonic wars, Agincourt, Poitiers and Crecy all over again. The story so far. More Group, Britain's leading poster advertising company, last month agreed a pounds 441m takeover bid from Clear Channel of the US. Embarrassingly, this bid was then topped by JC Decaux, a family-owned French company which just happens to be one of More Group's more aggressive competitors, particularly in the fast growing market of advertising on street furniture.

Network: Bytes - Microsoft battles in and out of court

Following newspaper reports, based on leaks, that the US Justice Department - currently engaged in an antitrust suit with Microsoft - says it has enough evidence to press a new, larger case against the software company, Senator Patty Murray last week asked the Attorney General, Janet Reno, to confine the Justice Department's activities to the courtroom. "By allowing officials to leak selectively such information to the media, the department's credibility is undermined and assurances of fairness and confidentiality are questioned," she said.

Outlook: Merger mania starts to run out of steam

IS MERGER mania turning to merger aversion? Well perhaps not quite yet. Too many City bonuses are riding on the present dash to consolidate - as well as some heady share price valuations. But for two of the present wave of giant mergers to turn to dust within the space of a couple of weeks begins to look eerily like a trend.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee