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.

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.

Investcorp trumps Quebecor with agreed bid for Watmoughs

INVESTCORP, the financial group backed by Middle Eastern investors, yesterday waded into the bid battle for Watmoughs with an agreed offer valuing the printing company at pounds 250m. It also unveiled plans to create a major force in the European printing industry by merging Watmoughs with one of its UK rivals.

Wait for Thorn's strategic review

the investment column

Outlook: When Brussels knows best

On 1 March another slice of decision-making power will be taken away from the European Union's individual member states and handed over to Brussels. From that date, the EC will assume the authority for vetting all mergers involving companies with a combined turnover of more than 2.5bn ecus (pounds 1.6bn). The previous threshold was 5bn ecus.

Matthew Clark fails to find a buyer

Matthew Clark, the troubled cider company that includes Diamond White and Dry Blackthorn, has failed to attract a buyer despite an attempt to encourage takeover interest. The news raises doubts about the group's future, according to City sources.

Outlook: Ducking the important competition issues

This is a self-interested piece of commentary, admittedly, but it is also one with a wider significance for business and the way it is regulated. One of our competitors, The Times, is next month planning to cut the cover price of its Saturday edition to 10p a copy. There is also some talk of it doing the same to its Thursday edition. At this stage it is not clear whether this is being considered as a one-off, promotional offer, or as a more permanent thing.

Lafarge ready to sell quarries to get bid OK

Lafarge, the French building giant, is preparing to sell its ready-mix concrete quarries in Norwich and Leicester in order to get its pounds 1.8bn bid for Redland past the UK competition authorities. The move should remove the final obstacle to the takeover.

UK authorities to look at Lafarge bid for Redland

John Battle, the energy minister, yesterday surprised Lafarge by signalling that the UK competition authorities wanted to launch a full- scale enquiry into the French building group's pounds 1.8bn takeover for British rival Redland. Andrew Yates finds that the move is unlikely to derail the deal.

Outlook: French get a sense of deja vu

French get a sense of deja vu

Verdict on Eastern bid not due until January

Margaret Beckett, President of the Board of Trade, is not expected to deliver her ruling on the bid by PacifiCorp of the US for Eastern, Britain's biggest regional electricity company, until next January at the earliest.

P&O/Stena link set for UK and European approval

P&O/Stena link set for UK and European approval

Energy deal gets Littlechild OK

Professor Stephen Littlechild, the electricity industry regulator, has decided against raising any serious regulatory objections to the proposed pounds 3.7bn takeover of Energy Group, owner of the Eastern Electricity, by PacifiCorp of the US.

BT would query competition issue

British Telecom may challenge the legality of the windfall tax, to be revealed in next Wednesday's Budget, on competition grounds because its main UK competitor, Cable & Wireless, is unlikely to be included.

Drivers could get Go-Ahead for pounds 17,000 lift

Scores of Brighton bus drivers yesterday found themselves in line for windfall payments of around pounds 17,000 each following a recommended pounds 5.76m takeover bid from the Go-Ahead Group to buy their company, Brighton Transport.

Will competition meet its match?

Peter Rodgers asks if Labour will succeed in making business supervisio n more effective
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence