Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit dealings, banks, insurance M&A, Virgin Money

By Digital Look

Date: Sunday 17 Jun 2018

Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit dealings, banks, insurance M&A, Virgin Money

(Sharecast News) - Ministers are prepared to thrash out a compromise with Tory rebels on Brexit this week to avoid a defeat that could torpedo Theresa May's remaining authority. Senior figures say Downing Street could seek a new deal with Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general, who has been negotiating with No 10 after their talks collapsed last week. - Sunday Times
...Tory rebels against Theresa May's Brexit plans could ultimately collapse the government, Dominic Grieve has said, ahead of another key week in parliament over the EU withdrawal bill. Grieve, the former attorney general, has said he objects to a government amendment to the bill which would limit the power of MPs in shaping policy if parliament rejects a final Brexit bill. - Observer

Taxpayers are to be asked to help fund a £20bn a year injection of extra cash into the National Health Service by 2023-24 that will pay for thousands more doctors and nurses, Theresa May announced ahead of a formal unveiling on Monday. Government sources said the increases, which would be paid for in part by a "Brexit dividend", would amount to around £600m a week extra for the NHS in cash terms within six years. - Observer

...Theresa May is under pressure to justify how a so-called Brexit dividend could help pay for a planned £20bn annual funding rise for the NHS, as her announcement on extra health spending was met with scepticism. The prime minister told the BBC the government's 10-year spending plan for the health service in England - which she will formally unveil on Monday - would involve "significantly more money going into the NHS". - Observer

Arron Banks's claim that the millions of pounds he spent on Brexit had come from a business deal has unravelled after it emerged that the transaction had made him no money. The official spokesman for the millionaire, who has faced repeated questions over the source of his wealth, said in March that Banks had been able to "finance Brexit" through the sale of a legal practice for £43m. - Sunday Times

Costly ring-fencing to protect consumers from 'casino' investment banking risks may have made British lenders more prone to collapse rather than safer. UBS analysts said that the carve-out of stand-alone retail banks by Barclays and others will not benefit customers, but rather have raised the chances of a "liquidity crisis" in the UK similar to the financial crisis. - Sunday Telegraph

Fears that central bankers operate in a bubble and are out of touch with the real economy have prompted the Bank of England to seek more "folk wisdom" from ordinary people. Andy Haldane, the Bank's chief economist, said policymakers too often fall into groupthink by relying on spreadsheets, London economists and business leaders. From the autumn, ­officials will run regional focus groups with members of the public to hear ­directly from ordinary people. - Sunday Telegraph

The German insurance giant Allianz is on the prowl for a large-scale acquisition, with a possible takeover approach for FTSE 100 rivals RSA and Aviva among options being considered. Oliver Bäte, the Allianz chief executive, is said to have been working with investment bankers for several months on a hit list of possible deals. - Sunday Times

US drinks giant Coca-Cola is mulling a £3bn swoop for Horlicks after GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) hoisted a "for sale" sign above the 145-year-old brand. The soft drinks juggernaut is among a clutch of potential bidders, including Kraft Heinz and Nestle, which have held early talks over a deal for the malted milk drink. - Sunday Telegraph

Virgin Money is expected to agree to a £1.6bn takeover by the owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks (CYBG) tomorrow - in a deal that will create a new force in high street banking. A firm, all-share proposal from CYBG is being finalised this weekend, ahead of tomorrow's 5pm deadline. - Sunday Times

China is set for a sharp slowdown in the coming months as credit dries up and Donald Trump's trade war threatens to damage confidence. The slowdown is expected to be widespread, after worrying figures ­released this week revealed that investment, consumption and exports all cooled last month.

The UK's reliance on importing French power to keep the lights on has increased by almost a quarter this year in further evidence of Britain's energy cost crunch. Energy prices in Britain are now around a fifth higher than they were this time last year on the wholesale market. - Sunday Telegraph

Cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic worth and are useless as a form of exchange. They entail exorbitant transaction costs. They are very slow. Such are some of the broad findings of the Bank for International Settlements, the Swiss-based 'bank of central bankers' and the leading global authority on the crypto-craze. - Sunday Telegraph

A prominent property investor has warned that retailers are taking advantage of a controversial insolvency procedure after New Look tried to cut the rent on a unit he owned - then allegedly offered to pay more when he decided to cancel the lease instead. Paul White, chairman of the fund manager Frogmore, said he had found it "distressing" dealing with the fashion retailer as it pushed through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with the accountancy firm Deloitte. - Sunday Times

Bosses at House of Fraser will meet MPs on Tuesday as the chain heads for crunch meetings with landlords to avert collapse. The department store group has launched a radical restructuring that involves closing more than half of its 59 stores to cut costs. It has been promised new funds by Hamley's Chinese owner C.banner if landlords consent to its proposals. - Mail on Sunday

Hedge fund tycoon Crispin Odey is threatening to torpedo a deal that would settle a long-running tax dispute between London-listed Acacia Mining and the Tanzanian government. Odey has written to the UK Listing Authority (UKLA) raising concerns over the role played by Acacia's biggest shareholder in negotiating a tax settlement with Tanzania. - Sunday Times

A hotel tycoon seeking to build Heathrow's third runway is suing the airport over a planned multi-storey car park - in a row that could have implications for expansion of the hub. Surinder Arora has issued a High Court claim against the west London airport over his plans to build a 2,077-space, nine-storey car park on land he owns at Heathrow. - Sunday Times

Marks & Spencer could scrap the Per Una brand - once the jewel in its womenswear crown - amid fears that the label no longer has fashion credibility. In its heyday as the cooler and more stylish face of M&S, Per Una made hundreds of millions of pounds every year for the retailer. - Mail on Sunday

YouTube will have to significantly increase the amount it pays to record labels for their music, under a new European copyright regime set to come into force next year. The European parliament will this week vote on an updated copyright directive designed to boost licencing fees for musicians, songwriters and other content creators. - Sunday Times

The HS2 high-speed rail project has pressed staff to falsify figures, mislead parliament and cover up "petrifying" overspends, according to a senior manager turned whistleblower. Documents show that Doug Thornton, HS2's former head of property, said the organisation put him under "tremendous pressure to accede to an enormous deceit" that the official budget for buying land and buildings was accurate. - Sunday Times

Rolls-Royce has quietly filed a patent for a new breed of electric engine that could shape the future of air travel. The FTSE 100 engineer's research team in Indianapolis has devised a "turboelectric distributed propulsion system" that would power a "blended wing body aircraft" powered by electrons rather than jet - Sunday Times

Sir Martin Sorrell says he could carry on working at his new venture into his 80s. The 73-year-old media mogul, who denies allegations that he used a prostitute paid with money from his former firm WPP, said he would work at his new company, S4 Capital, for up to seven years, which would take him into his ninth decade. - Mail on Sunday

A tech start-up that produces virtual reality experiences used in shopping malls and theme parks is planning a public listing to raise £5m. Immotion Group - which was co-founded by Martin Higginson, the tech guru behind Monstermob and NetPlay TV - is set to announce its plan to float on AIM tomorrow. - Sunday Times

Five Tory MPs are urging the Government to probe a group set up to sue RBS on behalf of small investors following a Mail on Sunday investigation. Colin Clark, MP for Gordon, in Scotland, has written to Justice Secretary David Gauke calling for an 'urgent inquiry' into the RBoS Shareholders Action Group company, whose co-founder Gerard Walsh has been named as a fraudster by the Jersey Royal Court. - Mail on Sunday

A chemical compound commonly used to boost crop yields could be the answer to helping the world increase its consumption of renewable energy. In a world first, Siemens is opening a £1.5m pilot project in Oxfordshire employing ammonia as a new form of energy storage, hoping to prove it can be as useful as lithium-ion batteries when it comes to managing the variable output of wind and solar power. - Sunday Telegraph

A Cambridge-based biotech company that is creating a colony of "human" mice is locked in a Tom and Jerry-style fight with a US pharmaceutical giant. Kymab, which is backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and counts fund manager Neil Woodford among its investors, is seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in a row over patents. - Sunday Times

The new head of the CBI has backed companies to favour women and ethnic minorities over equally capable white men as a way of improving diversity in the upper ranks of business. John Allan, who is due to be confirmed as CBI president at the lobby group's AGM this week, said in a Sunday Telegraph interview that he was "quite a long way" from advocating positive discrimination that would mean less capable women and ethnic minorities are awarded senior roles.


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