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Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit, ITV, Kier, Intu, Debenhams

By Digital Look

Date: Sunday 16 Sep 2018

Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit, ITV, Kier, Intu, Debenhams

(Sharecast News) - Michael Gove has tried to persuade Brexiteers to back the Chequers plan by stressing that the deal can be renegotiated once the UK has left the European Union. The Environment Secretary said that whilst Chequers is "the right deal for now", a future prime minister would have the power to "alter the relationship" and elements of the agreement. - Sunday Telegraph
Tony Blair, John Major and Nick Clegg have been travelling around Europe to persuade the continent's leaders to put a stop to Brexit, it has emerged. The former party leaders - one from each of the UK's three largest parties - have met heads of government and senior ministers from Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands in recent weeks. - Mail on Sunday

ITV has entered the bidding for Endemol Shine, the $4bn (£3bn) independent production giant behind programmes such as Big Brother, The Fall, MasterChef and Peaky Blinders. The FTSE 100 broadcaster is understood to be among a number of parties in the running to buy the Dutch company, which is being sold by the private equity firm Apollo and 21st Century Fox. - Sunday Times

The BBC and the US pay-TV giant Discovery are understood to be in the final stages of agreeing a £1bn breakup of the Gold and Dave broadcaster, UKTV, in a deal that will accelerate plans to build a British streaming rival to Netflix. UKTV, which has a mix of 10 free-to-air and pay-TV channels, is jointly owned by the Eurosport owner Discovery and BBC Studios, the commercial arm of the BBC. - Observer

Hedge funds that made millions betting on the demise of Carillion have turned up the pressure on fellow construction giant Kier. The Bedfordshire-based builder has seen the proportion of its shares on loan to short sellers surge to 18pc as of Friday, up from 10pc one month ago, according to data from IHS Markit, leaving the stock among the most shorted on the main London market. - Sunday Telegraph

Speculators are betting hundreds of millions of pounds on the high street malaise spreading to out-of-town shopping malls. City punters have placed a £100 million bet against Intu, one of Britain's biggest shopping centre groups, as the retail sector braces itself for one of its most turbulent times ever. - Mail on Sunday

Tesco is planning to shut a raft of city centre stores and convert dozens of others to Jack's, its new discount format, in a move that will put thousands of jobs at risk. Industry insiders claimed Tesco was planning to close up to 30 poorly performing Metro stores and convert a further 60, although the supermarket disputed these numbers. - Sunday Times

A subprime mortgage lender set up by former Northern Rock directors is to sell £500 million of controversial mortgage-backed securities in a deal that has alarming echoes of the financial crisis. The plan by Belmont Green means it has packaged up and sold more than £1 billion of mortgages to investors looking to cash in on higher-risk home loans. - Mail on Sunday

The Department for Transport is facing a fresh rail crisis over the bidding process for one of the country's biggest franchises. Abellio, Stagecoach and Govia have been asked to re-submit bids for the multibillion-pound South Eastern franchise. - Sunday Telegraph

Time is running out for BAE Systems to confirm a long-awaited deal to sell Typhoon fighters to Qatar. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and his Qatari counterpart unveiled the £5bn contract for 24 of the jets, together with a package of support and training, in December, but the final terms are yet to be confirmed and the sale has already been pushed back once. - Sunday Telegraph

Troubled DIY chain Homebase is set for a reprieve after it emerged that landlords may be cooling on plans to contest its store closure programme. Property owners were given a month to challenge the retailer's plan to close 42 stores and cut rent payments at others. - Mail on Sunday

The shale gas explorer Cuadrilla has accused the Labour party of being divided on its proposed fracking ban and of unnecessarily politicising the search for shale gas. Francis Egan, the chief executive of Cuadrilla, which is only weeks away from beginning the UK's first fracking in seven years, said the prospect of a Labour government coming to power was a risk that he would be "silly to ignore". - Observer

Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley has threatened to block Debenhams' attempt to sell its Danish department store chain Magasin du Nord, putting a sorely needed £200m cash injection in jeopardy. Debenhams, in which Sports Direct has a 30% shareholding, is seeking to raise funds that would cut its £320m debt but Sports Direct is said to be concerned that, as a distressed seller, Debenhams will struggle to extract a good price for its prize asset. - Sunday Times

Bitcoin investors could face a fresh round of intense selling pressure as a collapsed Japanese cryptocurrency exchange is forced to pay out coins worth $1bn (£765m), experts warn. The currency, which has already plunged in value from $17,035 in January to $6,449, is set to slide further in the coming weeks as Mt. Gox, a bankrupt Bitcoin ­exchange, pays out thousands of coins to creditors. - Sunday Telegraph

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has recruited the former boss of British Airways to lead a review of the railways after presiding over a string of problems. Keith Williams, who left the airline in 2016, will chair a deep review that will cover both train operators and the track operator, Network Rail. - Sunday Times

A Chinese state-backed technology giant is recruiting MPs and peers for a campaign to overturn GCHQ advice that its equipment may be a threat to national security. ZTE, which makes network gear and is owned by the Chinese state, is ­battling advice issued in April by GCHQ's National Cyber ­Security Centre (NCSC) that use of its "equipment or services within ­existing ­telecommunications infra- structure would present a risk to UK national ­security that could not be mitigated effectively or practicably". - Sunday Telegraph

There could be light at the end of the tunnel for young workers after a "lost decade" of pay growth, according to analysis by the Resolution Foundation think tank. While wages across the economy picked up by 2.6% year-on-year in the three months to July, pay growth remains only marginally above the rate of inflation, offering little relief to workers whose incomes have stagnated in real terms since the financial crisis. - Sunday Times

Sixty Conservative MPs are urging the Government to provide 'full' compensation for nearly 900,000 investors still left out of pocket as a result of the near meltdown of Equitable Life in 2000. In a strongly worded letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond, Bob Blackman, Tory MP for Harrow East, says it is 'time the Government drew a line, by finally settling the long-running injustice of this scandal'. He goes on to say that a 'debt of honour' is owed to victims of the Equitable scandal. - Mail on Sunday

Britain's biggest firms are on course to pay a record £88.6 billion in dividends this year - almost double the amount shareholders received before the financial crisis erupted ten years ago. In 2007, just £49 billion was paid out to shareholders. This year's record £88.6 billion will rise to £92.7 billion in 2019, analysis by broker AJ Bell shows. - Mail on Sunday

The founders of an independent pubs company are set for a multimillion-pound payday as advisers prepare it for sale. Peach Pubs, which owns 20 venues mostly in the Home Counties, is being advised by the accountancy firm BDO. Bidders include The Restaurant Group, the listed owner of eateries such as Frankie & Benny's. - Sunday Times

Pressure is mounting on stationery chain Paperchase after credit insurers pulled cover for suppliers amid concerns over the company's finances. Sources say that credit insurer Euler Hermes is no longer offering cover for new contracts. - Sunday Telegraph

Aurora Fashions, the owner of Coast, has accelerated plans to find a buyer for the women's fashion retailer after being hit by the fallout from House of Fraser's collapse. In the past two weeks, Aurora, owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing, has contacted investors to try to revive plans to sell Coast. - Sunday Times

The world's biggest turbine maker is planning to expand its UK manufacturing base in the coming years in ­another vote of confidence for Britain's post-Brexit industrial future. MHI Vestas, the maker of the world's most powerful offshore wind turbines, is mulling over plans to deepen its ­established industrial footprint on the Isle of Wight by moving the development of electronic components closer to ­Britain's booming offshore wind market. - Sunday Telegraph

A billionaire who owns vast swathes of Britain's West Country is battling some of the world's most powerful investors over the global H&M fashion empire founded by his father 71 years ago. Stefan Persson has spent just under $1 billion this year hoovering up shares in Hennes & Mauritz - better known as H&M and one of the world's largest retailers - even though the business is struggling to cope against rivals such as Asos, Boohoo and Primark. - Mail on Sunday

Workers at a large Chinese nuclear power station were put on "combat readiness" yesterday as a "super typhoon" bore down on the facility. Typhoon Mangkhut, a 500-mile-wide belt of ferocious winds and torrential rain, made landfall last night in the southern Chinese city of Taishan, with winds exceeding 100mph at its centre. - Sunday Times

Young people with a computer science degree dominate the league tables of the best-paid graduates in Britain, earning more than five times the amount of those doing poorly paid jobs with arts degrees. Just six months after finishing their degrees, Imperial College London's computer science graduates are the winners, enjoying a median salary of £50,000. - Sunday Times

Netflix is targeting a permanent production base in the UK because a boom in demand for studio space is hindering plans to spend more of its $8bn (£6.1bn) annual production budget in Britain. Netflix, which is making about 40 productions in the UK this year, is understood to have made the UK a high priority for securing a long lease on studio space to ensure its growing slate of UK-based productions can be filmed without delays. - Guardian

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