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Sunday newspaper roundup: Vectura, Sunak, Cobham

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Sunday 18 Jul 2021

Sunday newspaper roundup: Vectura, Sunak, Cobham

(Sharecast News) - "The head of Marlboro cigarette-maker Philip Morris International (PMI) has hit out at critics of a controversial swoop on a healthcare company, claiming that the acquisition will help achieve its target to make the UK smoke-free within a decade. In the wake of fierce opposition to the deal to buy FTSE 250 inhaler-maker Vectura, André Calantzopoulos, PMI's executive chairman, said the "obsessive focus" by anti-smoking campaigners on Big Tobacco was the "wrong approach", adding that PMI has the "ability and the technology" to address harm from smoking." - Sunday Telegraph

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been forced to U-turn on using a pilot scheme to avoid self-isolation after coming into contact with coronavirus. Downing Street announced early today that the prime minister and chancellor would not be following the normal rules despite having been identified as close contacts of Sajid Javid, the health secretary, who tested positive for coronavirus yesterday. They changed course within three hours after broad criticism, meaning Johnson will isolate at his Chequers retreat until next Monday. - Sunday Times

The US private equity owners of Cobham have received a bumper payout from the aerospace specialist, sparking renewed anger over last year's £4billion takeover. Advent International bought the defence firm in January 2020 after an 18-month tussle with the founding family. It then began a dismantling of the group. Now the latest accounts show Cobham Limited will pay a £42.2million dividend for 2020, rocketing from £9.5million the year before. - Financial Mail On Sunday

Revolut is considering a London Stock Exchange listing after becoming the most valuable tech company ever in Britain, the MoS can reveal. The financial 'super app' last week fetched a blockbuster valuation of $33billion (£24billion), bigger than NatWest, after an $800million fundraising from private equity giants Softbank and Tiger Global. The $33billion price tag is six times bigger than its last funding round early last year, when founder Nikolay Storonsky, 36, became one of Britain's youngest billionaires. - Financial Mail on Sunday

In January, Entain - which also owns Coral, Gala Bingo and Sportingbet - rejected an £8billion all-share offer from US-based casino giant MGM Resorts International. The collapse of the negotiations led to MGM dropping its pursuit. Under Takeover Panel rules it was prevented from returning with a fresh bid for six months. The restriction on MGM ends tomorrow, leading to heated speculation in the City that the American group is preparing a new takeover offer for the FTSE100-listed firm. - Financial Mail on Sunday

Rishi Sunak faces an extra £10bn bill over the next two years as inflation surges, driving up interest bills on Government debts that are linked to the cost of living. About a quarter of the Government's debt, amounting to £460bn, is tied to the retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation, so the Treasury must pay out more money to savers and investors when prices rise. The Office for Budget Responsibility in March predicted RPI inflation would peak at 3.1pc in the second quarter of this year. - Sunday Telegraph

Morrisons is testing supermarkets with no checkouts or staff that would let customers simply walk out with their bag of shopping in a move to rival Amazon's Fresh stores. The grocer, which is the subject of a multi-billion pound takeover tussle, has been testing the concept known internally as Project Sarah at its Bradford head office. The store is open to thousands of staff and the FTSE 100 retailer plans to expand the idea more widely. Britain's fourth-largest supermarket is working with US technology company AiFi, which uses cameras to track the objects customers pick up and put in their baskets, and charges them through a smartphone app. - Sunday Telegraph

Billionaire philanthropists George Soros and Bill Gates are part of a buyout of Bedford based developer of lateral flow tests. The founder of Microsoft founder joined the Soros Economic Development Fund in a deal to buy Mologic, which has developed 10-minute Covid tests that it aims to make for as little as $1. The consortium will pump £30m into Mologic to focus on the low-cost development of tropical diseases such as dengue fever and river blindness, taking it on from current owners Foresight Group LLP and Calculus Capital. - Sunday Telegraph

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