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Sunday newspaper round-up: Morrisons, Amazon, Easyjet

Sun 01 August 2021 12:33 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Private equity giant Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) is poised to kick off a bidding war for Morrisons amid mounting opposition to the £6.3 billion offer on the table for the grocer from a consortium led by American buyout rival Fortress. CD&R is understood to have been lining up equity and debt financing for a counterbid that could come as soon as this week. - Sunday Times

It will lose its special character. The brand will be trashed. Staff will be thrown on the scrapheap, and the business will be pillaged of its assets, and loaded up with debt. As a series of private equity firms circle the UK's fourth largest grocery chain Morrisons, there is already plenty of political opposition to a takeover. And we may have seen nothing yet. Amazon is quietly waiting in the wings and may well pounce with an offer of its own. If so the political and media backlash would be ferocious. After all, everyone hates the tech giant, right? - Sunday Telegraph

An electric car company backed by Amazon and Ford is in talks with ministers about building a factory in the UK. The plant, near Bristol, would be the first outside America for California-based Rivian and could involve a big state-support package. - Sunday Times

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, risks losing his grip on the budget airline amid growing speculation that it is plotting a £500m equity raise. Kenton Jarvis, finance chief, who joined easyJet from travel giant Tui in February, has launched a review of the airline's funding requirements as it battles with the fallout from the pandemic. - Sunday Telegraph

Discovery, the American broadcaster leading coverage of the Olympics, is exploring a bid for Channel 4 that would challenge the BBC and ITV's dominance of British screens. Media sources said Discovery, which already owns a string of pay-TV channels in the UK, is holding informal discussions about a potential takeover of Channel 4 if ministers press ahead with a privatisation in autumn. The explorations may not lead to an offer, but are a sign of serious interest. - Sunday Telegraph

Rishi Sunak has written to Boris Johnson calling for the urgent easing of travel restrictions as the holiday hopes of millions hang in the balance this week. The chancellor warned that Britain's border rules were damaging the economy and tourism in particular, ahead of a crucial meeting of ministers on Thursday, which will determine the travel rules for August. - Sunday Times

Aldi has been forced to increase wages for lorry drivers as the grocery industry tries to keep shelves stocked amid acute labour shortages. The discount supermarket is understood to have pushed through a rise to maintain its position as the highest payer in the industry and to fend off attempts to poach its drivers. The scale of the problem means Aldi expects to increase driver wages for a second time soon. - Sunday Times

Santander has been plunged into a leadership crisis after the shock departure of the banker who had been lined up as its next boss. The sudden and unexplained exit of Tony Prestedge has left the bank in turmoil just five months before current boss Nathan Bostock is due to stand down. Prestedge joined Santander last September in the senior position of deputy chief executive on the understanding that he would succeed Bostock this year, sources said. - Financial Mail on Sunday

One of Britain's largest Thai restaurant chains is reviving plans for a stock market float amid a huge wave of listings that will launch once the summer holiday season ends. Before the pandemic, Giggling Squid co-owner and chief executive Andy Laurillard said a flotation was something he'd 'love to do'. - Financial Mail in Sunday

Health authorities in China are battling to contain the country's most widespread coronavirus outbreak in months and several Chinese cities have rolled out mass testing of millions of people and imposed fresh travel restrictions. China reported 75 new coronavirus cases with 53 local transmissions, with a cluster linked to an eastern airport now reported to have spread to over 20 cities and more than a dozen provinces. - Guardian

One of the City's best-known grandees has slammed 'entitled' junior bankers for moaning about long working hours while they rake in starting salaries of more than £70,000. Xavier Rolet, the former boss of the London Stock Exchange, who built his career in banking, said graduates had no right to complain about working 80 hours a week because 'that's the business' and 'no one is coercing them'. - Financial Mail on Sunday

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