The Sunday Telegraph
MAUDE DEMANDS SERCO ANSWER
Serco is to be ordered to explain to the government why it took the highly unusual step of writing to its leading suppliers to demand that they pay a blanket 2.5 per cent “cash rebate” on their work this year or risk losing future contracts. Serco, a £3bn company that runs prisons, nuclear facilities, schools and ports for the government, said that it was making the demand so that it can meet government requests for savings.
CANDOVER LOOKS TO SELL QIOPTIQ
Private equity firm Candover is gearing up for a £400m sale of its high-end defence company Qioptiq. Qioptiq, which makes spy lenses, missile defence systems and thermal imaging technology, is being prepared for a possible sale in the second quarter of 2011 by NM Rothschild.
THE SUNDAY TIMES
NORWAY BUYS UP REGENT STREET
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is poised to buy a chunk of London’s Regent Street in a deal that will value the shopping district at £1.6bn. The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, run by the investment arm of Norges Bank, has been selected as the Crown Estate’s preferred bidder from a shortlist of four candidates.
MERGER OR SALE LOOMS FOR CHRYSALIS
Chris Wright, the veteran music tycoon, is tuning up for talks aimed at a merger or sale of Chrysalis, the company he founded 43 years ago. The hunt for a deal, which could hasten 66-year-old Wright’s retirement, is being prompted by shareholder frustration at the group’s lowly share rating and a desire to increase the size of the business. Chrysalis has a catalogue of more than 70,000 music copyrights.
COST OF RUBBER SET TO RISE
The cost of tyres, gloves and condoms is set to rise following a 65 per cent jump in the price of natural rubber in the past year. The surge is the result of heavy rains in the main rubber-producing region of south-east Asia, which have disrupted rubber tapping. The rubber price has tripled in two years, surpassing the record level set in 1952 when fears about the potential spread of the Korean War triggered panic buying.
OBAMA TO APPEAR IN AOL RELAUNCH
Barack Obama will appear on AOL.com as part of his get out the vote effort on election day, and a relaunch of the beleaguered website. He pre-recorded a segment called “You’ve Got,” a slot that will now air on AOL’s redesigned home page.
The Daily Telegraph
MINISTERS TO SAFEGUARD GAS SUPPLY
The government is planning to change the law to persuade the major energy companies to build up enough gas stockpiles to last through a “supply emergency”. Its new measures are intended to ensure that Britain does not suffer price volatility and shortages, as almost happened two winters ago when Russia turned off the taps to Europe over a dispute with Ukraine.
RATE RISE THREAT FOR 3M HOME OWNERS
Almost 3m homeowners would struggle to pay their mortgage if interest rates rose by just two percentage points. This equates to more than one in three mortgage holders. Even if rates rose by less than two points, an estimated 1.6m mortgages would be deemed “unaffordable”, according to guidelines set out by the Financial Services Authority.
TORY MINISTER AIDED TYCOON
A Tory cabinet minister intervened on behalf of one of the world’s richest cocoa dealers to help him overcome a trading ban after receiving £40,000 in donations from his company. Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, acted after being approached by the millionaire cocoa dealer who was seeking to lift an official ban on his firm trading in west Ghana.
ITV TO QUIT CORRIE STUDIOS
Coronation Street’s famous cobbles are set to be transported from central Manchester to a state-of-the-art home next to the BBC’s new northern base at Salford Quays. ITV is this week expected to submit planning applications for a studio complex and offices on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. The move confirms Salford as an important media hub.