RWE CONSIDERS PULLING THE PLUG ON NPOWER
On the banks of the River Trent, a new gas-fired power station at Staythorpe represents a £650m investment by Npower, the UK subsidiary of the German utility RWE, in Britain’s energy future. Yet RWE has been reviewing its strategic options, advised by Goldman Sachs, as it grapples with net debt of €27.5bn (£24.7bn).
BRITISH LAND EYES £175M PROPERTY DEAL
British Land is in advanced talks to buy a £175m portfolio of properties that are occupied by Virgin Active health and racquet clubs. The deal is the latest sign that the UK’s second-largest property company by asset value is taking an opportunistic approach to new investments. It is in final negotiations to buy the properties from Societe Generale, which took control in 2009.
WEALTH MANAGERS REGAIN APPETITE FOR RISK
Private banks have overcome their post-crisis aversion to private equity and hedge funds and are ploughing client money back into alternative assets in search of higher returns, according to a new study. Client portfolios across some of the UK’s largest wealth firms now have 17 per cent on average in so-called alternatives.
SHAREHOLDERS QUICK TO PUT SAY ON PAY POWERS TO WORK
US shareholders have used new powers to stage protest votes over executive pay during this year’s annual meeting season. Pay packages were rejected outright at Hewlett-Packard and Jacobs Engineering while other big companies such as Monsanto and Northern Trust faced shareholder protest votes.
REPENTANT GLAXO ACTS TO CLEAN UP SALES TACTICS
GlaxoSmithKline is radically revamping the way it pays its sales force in response to costly legal challenges over its alleged pushy tactics in encouraging doctors to prescribe its medicines. The firm said it will no longer pay bonuses to the 5,000 sales people it has in the United States according to the number of drugs prescribed by the doctors they meet.
HUFFINGTON BRACED FOR SPIKY BRITAIN
The Huffington Post, the online newspaper that has shaken up the American media establishment, arrives in Britain today. Founder Arianna Huffington said that the launch of the British version of her news and opinion website was a prelude to a wider push across the globe.
The Daily Telegraph
LEAKED VIDEOS SHOW HAYWARD GRILLED BY LAWYERS
Video footage of lawyers grilling Tony Hayward about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has found its way on to the internet, after the former BP boss was subjected to aggressive questioning in London last month. Four clips published on YouTube show the former chief executive in tense exchanges with lawyers for the plaintiffs and Transocean.
OLIVER LETWIN AGREES TO PIE SHOP ROLE
MPs are being offered work experience placements to “learn about the realities of running a small business” in a scheme organised by a business lobby group. Almost 100 MPs have signed up to the scheme so far, including Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin, who will spend time at a pie shop in his West Dorset constituency.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
NEW FINANCING VALUES TWITTER AS HIGH AS $7 BILLION
The fast-growing Internet messaging service is currently in discussions to raise a new round of private financing, said people familiar with the matter . The move is set to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in a round valuing Twitter as high as $7 billion, said one of the people. It is unclear which investors are participating in the new round.
BERLUSCONI SCRAPS MEASURE SEEN AS FAVOURABLE TO HIS FIRM
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi unexpectedly scrapped a controversial measure included in the government's new fiscal-savings bill that could have allowed the premier's family-controlled holding company to avoid paying €750m ($1.09bn) in damages to a rival media company in a long-running court case.