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Press digest sunday british business nov 17

´╗┐LONDON Nov 17 British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday: The Sunday TelegraphROYAL MAIL SELL-OFF WAS 'OPAQUE' The government is facing demands that privatisations are made much more transparent so that the sale of taxpayer stakes in the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group do not spark the controversy surrounding the sale of Royal Mail. TALKTALK CHIEF REJECTS WOMEN BOARD QUOTAS Dido Harding, the chief executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group has rejected calls for "quotas" of women on boards and said that the government's target to increase the number of female non-executives is a "sideshow". ITV IN POLE POSITION FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS ITV is favourite to take the spoils in a battle with the BBC over rights to highlights of the European Champions League. The terrestrial broadcasters are in the final stages of the competition for the secondary rights, after BT's defeat of ITV and BskyB in the auction of live European rights. E. ON BREAKS RANKS OVER GREEN LEVIES Energy supplier E. ON has broken ranks with its rivals in Britain by urging ministers not to water down a green levy paid for on consumer bills. The government is planning a reform of the rules and suppliers have promised to cut prices "within weeks" if green levies are cut.

The Sunday TimesSAGA LIMBERS UP FOR BLOCKBUSTER FLOAT Saga, the over-fifties travel agent and insurer, is set to press the button on a bumper stock market float. Saga's owners last week interviewed 10 investment banks jockeying to handle the sale that could value the company as high as 3 billion pounds ($4.8 billion). ABERDEEN TO SEAL 500 MILLION POUND WIDOWS DEAL Aberdeen Asset Management will this week unveil a 500 million pound takeover of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership that will create Europe's biggest independent fund manager.

Details are being finalised this weekend with an announcement expected as early as tomorrow. The all-share deal will give Scottish Widows' owner Lloyds Banking Group a stake of almost 10 percent in Aberdeen. PREMIER HIT BY FALKLANDS BACKLASH One of the biggest investors in Premier Oil, Schroders, has urged the company to slash its exposure to Falkland Islands oil fields just weeks after the exploration company increased its stakes there. STANCHART LINES UP CITY VETERAN

Naguib Kheraj, one of the City's most influential financiers, is in talks to join the board of bank Standard Chartered. LV JOINS RACE FOR CO-OP INSURANCE The insurer LV has waded into the battle to buy the Co-operative Group's insurance operations. The mutually-owned insurer, formerly know as Liverpool Victoria, is jostling with three other suitors for the business. The Mail on SundayCRYSTAL METH SHAME OF BANK CHIEF The former chairman of Britain's troubled Co-operative Bank has been filmed arranging to buy cocaine. MOD BEATS RETREAT OVER PRIVATISATION AS SERCO FACES FIRE The Ministry of Defence is expected to pull back from plans to privatise procurement, according to industry insiders, after opposition from the military and politicians. Hopes for the plan have been further troubled by scandals surrounding business services group Serco, which is a member of one of two bidding consortiums.

Press digest sunday british business nov 3

´╗┐LONDON Nov 3 British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday: The Sunday Telegraph BILLIONAIRE BACKS M&S CHIEF'S PLANS Bill Adderley, the founder of Dunelm who was last week revealed to hold a 3 percent stake in Marks & Spencer, has given his backing to chief executive Marc Bolland despite the continuing struggles of the company's clothing business. U.S. DEBT FUND AMONG GROUP TAKING CONTROL OF CO-OP BANK Distressed debt fund Monarch Alternative Capital is one of the investors who will control a 70 percent stake in the Co-op Bank . Co-operative Group also plans to inject 400 million pounds into the Co-op Bank as part of a 1.5 billion pound recapitalisation plan to be outlined on Monday. RBS IN TALKS TO CANCEL 'B' SHARES The new chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, Ross McEwan, is in advanced discussions with the Treasury about the cancellation of the bank's 'B' shares to help give the bank a more normal capital structure. MORRISONS LINES UP SALE OF STORES TO UNLOCK CASH WM Morrison Supermarkets is working on a plan to raise hundreds of millions of pounds by selling off some of its stores in sale-and-leaseback deals. LONDON AIRPORTS SPLIT "THREAT TO BUSINESS" Heathrow airport will say that new research by independent group JLS Consulting proves that no cities "have successfully split demand" between several airports and that experimenting with the model in London would involve a major bet on Britain's future prosperity. HORLICK TO LAUNCH CROWDFUNDING VENTURE Financier Nicola Horlick is to launch crowdfunding venture Money&Co in the first few months of next year and will market the platform to businesses that are struggling to raise funds through more traditional channels. MORE LEAVING SFO AS WORKLOAD RISES The pace of employee turnover at the Serious Fraud Office has accelerated in the past three years, with 51 permanent staff leaving last year, compared with 47 a year earlier and 38 in 2010. The Sunday Times OSBORNE'S NEW GREEN DEAL TO CUT ENERGY BILLS George Osborne is finalising a plan to cut household energy bills by up to 75 pounds a year by removing charges to support green power projects and home insulation schemes. RBS MULLS QUICK EXIT FROM IRELAND Royal Bank of Scotland could pull out of Ireland unless it can find a viable future for its troubled Ulster Bank subsidiary within six months. Although a review of the business will seek a "viable and sustainable business model" for Ulster Bank, more radical solutions, including a complete withdrawal, have not been ruled out. CBI PLEDGES FIGHT TO STAY IN EUROPE John Cridland, director general of the UK's CBI, is to say that "leaving the EU would seriously threaten our position as the world's number one financial centre" at the CBI's annual conference in London. LLOYDS TO SELL MOUNTAIN WAREHOUSE STAKE The buyout arm of Lloyds Banking Group is preparing to sell its stake in the outdoor retail chain Mountain Warehouse, which it has owned since 2010. AXE HANGS OVER WELSH FUEL REFINERY Murphy Oil is considering closing its Milford Haven refinery, which employs nearly 400 workers, after failing to find a buyer for the site. POUNDLAND LINES UP ROTHSCHILD AS ADVISER Discount retailer Poundland has lined up Rothschild as an adviser as it prepares for a stock market flotation and to double the number of its British stores. The Independent on Sunday DIRECT LINE IN THE SIGHTS OF ASIAN INVESTORS Asian investors including China's Ping An are circling the remaining 28.5 percent stake in Direct Line that is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland. The Mail on Sunday

DISCOUNT STORES TYCOON SAYS BHS IN HIS SIGHTS South African billionaire Christo Wiese, chairman of South African clothing and footwear group Pepkor, has publicly confirmed his interest in making UK retail acquisitions, including a possible bid for Philip Green's BHS store chain.

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