News

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

The Week Ahead: Hays profits under pressure despite solid year

Hays, the FTSE 250-listed recruitment group, is due to publish full-year results tomorrow. Following a positive fourth-quarter update last month, Panmure Gordon is anticipating evidence of a "solid" performance in the year to June, forecasting adjusted pre-tax profits of £237.9m. The broker has also pencilled in a full-year dividend of 5.9p, up from the 5p per share paid last year.

Market update - 4 August

The FTSE 100 was down 5.3 points at 5,349.4 at 11:51 am today.

Market Report: Aquarius shines on Xstrata bid speculation

Aquarius Platinum was firm yesterday after market rumours mooted the possibility of bid interest from Xstrata, the acquisitive Anglo-Swiss mining giant.

Debenhams and Punch seek to calm jitters with early updates

Two of the UK's most high-profile companies, Debenhams and Punch Taverns, brought forward their trading statements yesterday to reassure jittery investors following market speculation about their performance.

Market update - 24 June

The FTSE 100 was down 56.9 points at 5610.3 points at 11.43am on Tuesday. The FTSE 250 was also down and lost 136.3 points to 9184.3.

Punch taverns pulls takeover interest

The pubs group Punch Taverns today said it had pulled plans to merge with rival Mitchells & Butlers after deciding the deal was "not in the best interests" of its shareholders.

Market Report: Barratt demolishes rumours of rights issue

Barratt Developments, the housebuilder besieged by fears of an emergency rights issue last week, led a housing sector recovery yesterday.

QVT raises stake in Punch to scupper M&B merger

The US hedge fund QVT Financial raised its stake in Punch Taverns to seven per cent yesterday, as it stepped up its attempts to derail the pub company's proposed £4bn merger with Mitchells & Butlers (M&B).

Groups merge to create pubs giant

Punch Taverns today announced plans to create a £3.7 billion pub giant by merging with troubled rival Mitchell & Butlers.

Punch Taverns closes in on ailing M&B

Punch Taverns, the pub operator, has been revealed as one of the parties that last week made "preliminary and tentative" expressions of interest to Mitchells & Butlers.

Smoking ban and slowdown hit brewers

The brewers Greene King and Fuller, Smith & Turner have blamed the smoking ban and a slowdown in consumer spending for weakening trade in their pubs.

Mitchells & Butlers to review advisers after investors revolt

Mitchells & Butlers is considering sacking its regular adviser Citigroup following the property fiasco which has cost the company £391m in pre-tax losses.

Regent in talks over potential buyout

Regent Inns has held preliminary talks with a number of suitors interested in buying the pubs and leisure group, a spokesman said yesterday. But the company, which last month issued a profits warning, said there was no guarantee any of the approaches would lead to an offer and refused to say where they had come from.

Market Report: Bid talk bubbles up around Mitchells & Butlers

As blood sprayed across the markets, flowing from the flanks of the flailing retailers, traders not running for cover had to be content with reheating a few classic bid stories.

The Sketch: Civil service chief and a room of 'verbal ectoplasm'

Here's a suggestion for select committee chairmen. Stop asking witnesses: "Would you like to say anything by way of introduction?"

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