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Sunday newspaper round-up: Covid, BAE Systems, Restaurants and pubs

Fifty-two areas of England have had no cases of Covid in the over-70s during the past week, analysis reveals. Accounting for a sixth of local authorities, the boroughs are in places as varied as Burnley, Stafford and Southwark. However, the preponderance are in the east and southeast of England, which were hit hardest by the more infectious so-called Kent variant this winter. – Sunday Telegraph

Defence giant BAE Systems gave its boss a pay rise and a £2 million “golden handcuffs” share deal after the miner Rio Tinto tried to poach him. Rio, which is scrambling to repair its reputation after the furore over its destruction of ancient Aboriginal caves in Australia, made an approach to Charles Woodburn late last year. Rio chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques was ousted over the caves affair, along with other executives, and chairman Simon Thompson is due to leave next year. – Sunday Times

Restaurants and bars with outdoor seating say bookings are at unprecedentedly high levels before a possible reopening next Monday, with people eager not to miss their first chance to eat out since lockdown was imposed. Some venues have invested vast amounts of money to accommodate guests outside before the government’s planned reopening of outdoor hospitality on 12 April if the coronavirus data allows it. Punch Pubs, for example, invested £1m in its beer gardens and outside spaces. – Guardian

The “man who broke the Bank of England” is among a clutch of hedge fund investors to have increased bets against travel ticketing app Trainline amid forecasts that demand for public transport may not recover to pre-pandemic ­levels. George Soros’ SFM UK Management is part of a £100m bet against Trainline, making it one of the most shorted companies on the London Stock Exchange. Paloma Partners, a US fund run by Donald Sussman, the largest single donor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 US presidential campaign, is the biggest individual short seller. – Sunday Telegraph

As acts of corporate vandalism go, Rio Tinto’s obliteration of a sacred site in Western Australia is right up there. The expansion of an iron ore mine knowingly destroyed a cave containing 46,000 years of human history. It had yielded a 4,000-year-old hair plait that showed a direct genetic link with living descendants. – Guardian

Compare these businesses. One sold 20,000 used cars in the 14 months to February, spending big sums on marketing and delivering them to customers’ doors. The other sold 200,000 new and used cars in 2019. It didn’t have high marketing costs and customers came to pick them up on forecourts. The first, Cazoo, is set to be valued at $7 billion in a New York listing. The second, Lookers, is unloved and valued at £213 million. Alex Chesterman, the LoveFilm and Zoopla founder behind Cazoo, is convinced it will get many times bigger. – Sunday Times

Goldman Sachs, a key adviser on Deliveroo’s car crash market debut last week, is brushing aside a storm of protest and is already preparing to unleash its second giant tech listing this year. Sources last night said Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were on track to sell shares in financial technology giant Wise next month with a valuation of up to £5billion. Wise, which counts Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson as an investor, is one of the ‘tech stars’ that Chancellor Rishi Sunak hopes will make London a prime venue for Initial Public Offerings – the public sale of shares on the stock market. – Financial Mail on Sunday

Billionaire City grandee Peter Hargreaves has hit out at Deliveroo’s sale of shares to ordinary investors at its disastrous flotation, which has left them locked into keeping hold of their shares and nursing painful losses. The founder of the investment supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown criticised the City for only wooing so-called ‘retail’ investors when stock market listings are going awry. – Financial Mail on Sunday

A City skyscraper is set to become the UK’s most expensive office building when it goes up for sale with a predicted £1.8bn price tag later this year. Canadian asset management giant Brookfield completed the 37-storey Square Mile building in 2019 after pressing ahead with the project in the wake of the Brexit referendum. Brookfield appointed agents to handle the sale last year and industry sources said the company is already discreetly sounding out deep-pocketed buyers to strike a deal. – Sunday Telegraph

A further ten people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 today in a 47 per cent drop on last Sunday – but Wales and Northern Ireland’s data is not included due to Easter delays. Today is the second day in a row that just ten deaths have been recorded, marking the lowest daily death toll since September. The Government’s official data also revealed a further 2,297 people tested positive for coronavirus today, a 40.5 per cent drop on last week. – Financial Mail on Sunday

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