Press digest sunday british business nov 17

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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.