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Online fashion retailer Asos has turned to Marks & Spencer for again by hiring former finance director Ian Dyson.

Outlook: Allied/Whitbread

THEY THINK it's all over. Well apparently it isn't. Stung and angered by a veritable artillery fire of press criticism, Whitbread last night promised it was coming back for more in its battle for Allied Domecq's pubs. It's always hard to admit defeat; all puffed up and seething with irritation at being outmanoeuvred by the fleet of foot Punch Taverns, Whitbread seems determined not to. Whitbread has invested five months of time and effort in this deal, as well as millions in advisory fees, so it was never going to give up lightly. Even so, the sensible thing to do would be to beat a graceful retreat, let Punch have the pubs, and return to the company's original strategy of expansion in leisure and hotels.

No Pain, No Gain: Our Man's Portfolio: Regal's facing the heave- ho

EIGHT UP, four down - that is the no pain, no gain score after four months' investing. With many of the dozen shares selected dotted around the stock market's under-card, the steady headway recently achieved by small cap shares has clearly made a helpful contribution to the portfolio's performance.

Outlook: Whitbread/Allied

THE FINAL denouement approaches, and it doesn't look good for David Thomas, chief executive of Whitbread. Mr Thomas continues to insist that his own pounds 2.35bn all shares bid for Allied Domecq's pubs is worth more than Punch's pounds 2.7bn, though he must know he's lost the argument. So he must either raise his terms or face rejection by Allied shareholders at Friday's extraordinary general meeting.

Punch backer flies in to oversee Allied bid

THE BATTLE for Allied Domecq's pub estate is set to reach fever pitch today with Punch Taverns pledging to top an expected increase in Whitbread's pounds 2.4bn rival offer.

Punch gets tax clearance for pounds 2.7bn Allied bid

PUNCH TAVERNS, the privately owned pub group, last night claimed it had won an important battle in the war with Whitbread over Allied Domecq's pub estate after its pounds 2.7bn cash offer was cleared by the tax authorities. The decision by the Inland Revenue means that Allied Domecq shareholders will not have to pay capital gains or corporation tax if they accept Punch's offer for the 3,600 pubs.

Outlook: Embarrassing questions for Allied

SIR CHRISTOPHER Hogg and his board at Allied Domecq seem to be in a dreadful pickle over the disposal of the group's pubs estate. They would not themselves admit this, of course, and indeed on one level, they are indisputably sitting pretty. Their share price keeps rising and they are now in the happy position of having two competing bids on the table for the 3,500 pubs.

Allied Domecq rejects Punch's pounds 2.7bn offer

PUNCH TAVERNS, the privately controlled pubs group, is to take its pounds 2.7bn offer for Allied Domecq's pub estate direct to Allied's shareholders after the Allied board rejected its offer as "insufficiently attractive" and backed the rival bid from Whitbread instead.

Punch trumps Whitbread with pounds 2.7bn offer

PUNCH TAVERNS, the pub group led by the entrepreneur Hugh Osmond, will formally launch a pounds 2.7bn takeover bid for 3,500 Allied Domecq pubs tomorrow, trumping an agreed paper offer from Whitbread.

Mr Punch aims at Allied Domecq

News Analysis: Can Hugh Osmond outmanoeuvre Whitbread in the battle for 3,500-strong pub estate?

Bass backs Punch in pubs battle

PUNCH TAVERNS, the pub company led by Hugh Osmond, will today announce it has secured the backing of the leisure giant Bass in its battle to beat Whitbread's pounds 2.45bn offer for 3,500 Allied Domecq pubs.

Punch asks for taxman's advice on pubs bid

PUNCH TAVERNS, the pubs group led by Hugh Osmond, is waiting only for advice from the taxman before pushing ahead this week with a pounds 2.7bn- plus attempt to trump Whitbread's offer for 3,500 Allied Domecq pubs.

Company of the Week: Whitbread

WHITBREAD'S shares were the biggest gainer of the week in the FT-SE 100 index, rising 8 per cent after the brewer agreed to buy Allied Domecq's UK pubs for pounds 2.4bn. It will allow the company to cut costs as it adds Firkin and Big Steak Pub to its own chains to become the UK's largest pub operator. However, a rival bid, most likely from Punch Taverns, could foil the agreement.

Bass will not bid for Allied inns

BASS has decided not to bid for Allied Domecq's pub estate, leaving Whitbread the strong favourite to secure the 3,600 premises, writes Dan Gledhill.

Punch vows to trump Whitbread's Allied deal

PUNCH TAVERNS, the pubs group led by Hugh Osmond, yesterday intervened to spoil Allied Domecq's pounds 2.42bn agreed sale of 3,500 pubs to Whitbread, claiming it was confident it could trump the offer.

Whitbread-Allied talks hang in balance

WHITBREAD'S proposed acquisition of Allied Domecq's pubs and other UK retail activities hung in the balance last night amid reports that the talks had differences that were proving difficult to reconcile.
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