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.

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 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.

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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn